Staff Movement & Capacity Building

1.1 Introduction of the Program

In the past decade, APQN has successfully conducted over 50 exchange visits with support of World Bank and UNESCO which has helped QA experts and organizations in building alliances and developing capacity.

In this self-sustaining period for APQN, we propose the Programme of Staff Capacity Building which is purely on reciprocal basis in which both financial and in-kind contribution is expected from the mentor and mentees. APQN may provide partial financial support to the host organization within limited numbers.

The core purposes of the Programme are to: 1) assist the professional development of the visiting staff members; 2) enhance the capacity building of both the guest and the host organizations; and 3) strengthen the communication and cooperation of both sides. The Programme is expected to contribute to the capacity development of the emerging quality assurance systems.

In ideal situations visiting staff members will be sponsored international air travel by the parent organization. Local transport, hospitality and accommodation will be taken care by the host organization. APQN will co-ordinate between host organization and nominated visitors. APQN is also exploring possibilities of securing some funds from international bodies to support the programme of staff capacity building. It is expected that host organization can collaborate with local university and other bodies which can provide subsidized low cost accommodation. Timing of the programme can be arranged in such a way that a group of visiting staff members from different countries can undergo the same programme at the same time.

It is desirable that the programme can include activities like observation of peer review visit, participation in reviewing /assessors training programmes and visit to the internal quality assurance cell (IQAC)of higher education institutions (HEIs) besides interaction with visiting staff.

The organizations which offer maximum number of opportunities to delegates under the programme of staff capacity building will be recognized and considered for special rewards during the forthcoming APQN annual conference and AGM. Staff capacity building entails a significant commitment by the participant, the home and host organizations, APQN, and any other sponsors. It is therefore important to plan to make them as effective and useful as possible. The following notes are intended for this purpose.

1.2 Costs and Cost‐Sharing

It is essential that the costs that will be borne by all four parties are clearly established in advance. A starting point is for the home organization to cover travel to and from the visiting staff members, the host organization to cover accommodation and travel within the host country, and the participant to cover food and personal expenses. It is desirable to have a “backup clause” specifying the share the home and host organizations will accept of any shortfall.

Planning should be undertaken well ahead to allow for obtaining visas, getting fares at desirable rates, and so on.

APQN will issue certificate to participants who complete visit under the program. Host organization may also like to issue similar certificate to visiting staff members. Visitors as well as host will submit a learning report, which could be used to analyze impact of APQN the program.

1.3 Length and Scope

The minimum useful period for a staff capacity building is full 10 working days (two working weeks) with travel time between organizations in addition to that period. A month is likely to be even more useful, but needs even more careful planning to ensure the time is well used.

The best use of the two working weeks might be obtained through the following scope.

Table: The best practice of staff capacity building

Time Scope

Week 1

- Study the host’s EQA system; the participant can be allowed to be present at meetings (such as staff meetings, accreditation or audit planning meetings, training sessions, seminars, etc.).

- Spread through the time unoccupied by such fixed events, all or most staff of the organization can each spend a couple of hours with the participant explaining her/his area(s) of responsibility.

- The participant should be asked to give a presentation on her or his own system.

Weekend - The participant should be given some local cultural experiences (e.g. visits to events or places)

Week 2

- Observe a review visit

- Visit and talk to the IQA unit/IQ cell in one or two institutions

If the staff capacity building is longer, either the participant should come with a project from home, which can be done under the supervision of the host organization; or the participant works on a project of the host organization. Without such focus, the participant’s time might be used up in more superficial browsing, or a lot of supervision time by staff of the host organization might be needed. Certainly, the participant should receive some explicit and focused experience, not just be left alone, nor used to do routine tasks.

1.4 After the Program

It is important to have mechanisms to get the participant’s new ideas known and understood and, if appropriate, used back home.

1.4.1 Reports

Interns should write two or three reports on the programme. One is needed for APQN or other facilitating / funding organization. This is essential in return for the support. Then the host organization should receive a report that provides some evidence that its efforts have been of value. Also, the participant might have some suggestions for the host organization. Thirdly, the home organization needs a report that provides evidence that the participant ’s time away has been valuable to the participant and her/his organization. It is likely that these three reports can be the same, or differ only by a few sentences. (If the participant wishes to raise serious concerns about the home organization’s operations on the basis of what s/he has seen, it may even be that there needs to be two reports to the home organization, one that could be read by all staff of the organization and one for the senior management.)

1.4.2 Seminar

Following the report to the home organization, the participant should present a seminar/workshop to colleagues on the staff learning experience. This could be based on the (public) report to the organization. This is a very important activity. Otherwise the participant is left to give their message repeatedly to individuals in the home organization, and this message can easily be dismissed or forgotten. The report and seminar might include specific detailed recommendations for action–and some of the participant’s feedback might be along the lines of ‘unlearning’, not just learning.

Following a wide participation seminar, the participant’s thoughts have become part of the home organization’s corporate knowledge, and it is easier for the participant (and others) to refer to them whenever appropriate. It might also form the basis for further active discussion of the most attractive ideas. It might be possible and desirable to include participants from outside the home organization in the seminar.

1.4.3 Host Organization Reflections

The reflections of the host organization should also be sought and kept by APQN / the sponsoring body, along with the participant’s report. This could lead to two‐way learning.

1.4.4 Follow‐Up Report

Staff capacity building is intended to have a long‐lasting impact on the participant and on her/his home organization. Such an impact is likely to be possible and/or become visible only after a period of time. If possible, therefore, participants should be asked to provide a second report about two years after the programme. This report should refer to the earlier report written at the end of the programme, and say which of the intended improvements have been achieved, and which have not, with a brief comment on reasons. The requirement to produce such a report can act as a reminder and incentive to build on the participant’s experiences to the extent possible. It is recognized that systematically obtaining and considering such follow‐up reports might be difficult, given its implication for scheduling and initiating the action.

1.5 Expression of Interest

The Expression of Interest (EoI) of the Programme of Staff Capacity Building is as follows:

1.Category □ sender(the guest)     □ receiver (the host)
2.Name of the organization and contact details (Including Name, contact person, e-mail, telephone, address)
3.Proposed duration From (yyyy-mm-dd) to (yyyy-mm-dd)
4. Visiting Staff member (a short bio of the nominee, about 200 words; unnecessary for the host)
5.Proposed Programme (Including time, venue, participants, activities, process, outcomes and reports)
6.Draft budget (Including item amount, expense in USD and the financial amount that the host apply for support)
7. Others  

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APQN Administrator
No. 202, South ShaanXi Road,
Shanghai, 200031, P.R. CHINA
Tel: +86 21 5403 1620
Fax: +86 21 5467 0198
Email: apqnsecretariat@163.com 

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