HomeIAMURE International Journal of Educationvol. 2 no. 1 (2012)

A Higher Education Quality Assurance Model for Small States: The Maldives Case Study

Abdul Hannan Waheed | Hitendra Pillay



This paper presents findings of a case study in the Maldives of a holistic quality assurance model for higher education in Small States. It is a case study in the Maldives, an example of a Small State and is a useful reference for policy makers, practitioners and professionals in other Small States. The study draws on a systems theory to investigate the systemic characteristics of quality assurance in higher education. It is a qualitative case study based and includes the use of document analysis and interviews data. The preliminary findings indicate that regulatory mechanisms, independence, one- tier system, guidelines and standards, transparency, academic audit, accreditation and collaboration emerged as critical areas for the system of quality assurance in higher education for Small States. Some of the mechanisms used by bigger nations to address the above critical areas may not be appropriate for Small States, adding weight to the ‘fit for purpose’ definition of quality.