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Leading for Quality Education: The Importance of Leadership in Higher Education in Bangladesh

Leading for quality education: The importance of leadership in higher education in Bangladesh.

This article explores the notion of leadership and management regarding quality assurance from the context of higher education institutions in Bangladesh. Quality assurance is a very important concern in higher education institutions becoming more effectual and necessitate based. Through this article, the author examines how the two dimensions of quality assurance implement in Khulna University, Bangladesh during 1995-2016. Systematic quality assurance mechanisms are used by the higher education sector across the world for two decades. However, evidence based systematic quality assurance is a new conception for higher education institutions of Bangladesh (Abugre, 2017; Alam et al., 2014; Sahney et al., 2010). Academic leadership along with traditional behaviour is seen in higher education sector in Bangladesh. Generally, the hierarchical and top-down management structure is observed in the universities of Bangladesh to uphold their educational standard. A set of regulatory bodies monitor the academic process and there is no practice on performance-monitoring and evaluation based accountability. This article addresses how ineffective leadership and a lack of accountability have turned into inefficient management in the higher education sector. The structure of higher education in Bangladesh is static, unsure, self-protective, and not proactive. This system is more concerned about financial management and formalities, less concerned about accountabilities towards people, and barely concerned with strategic quality management (Alam et al., 2004; Siddiqui, 1997).

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This article is relevant and beneficial in several ways. Through this article, I notice the importance of leadership in higher education. Previous research has established that effective leadership and efficient management practices are both necessary for quality assurance in higher education (Boyle & Bowden, 1997; Osseo-Asare et al., 2007). The leader plays a vital role in any institution, and he/she can ensure proper utilisation of resources. The leader is the driver who drives all employees to achieve the goal. Again, the leader is a decision maker, and sometimes the leader needs to take sudden decisions. If the leader cannot realise his duties and responsibilities then the goal will not be achieved. Performance at the program level has directly influenced by the performance of leadership (Bendermacher et al., 2016). There is no prescribed system of strategic planning, performance appraisal, association, or procedure management for any institution in Bangladesh. Senior management needs to set strategic plan, clear policies, e-governance, appropriate KPIs, monitoring system, training, convention, set of laws, and course of action for educational management. At the same time head of the institute ensure the best environment for academic staff. Promotion, increment, reward, termination should be based on their performance. When academic personnel get a proper environment for work they can contribute and it will be beneficial for students.

Higher educational institutions are facing challenges in adapting with a new changing environment. It is difficult to serve students with few resources. This article identifies how critical leadership and management tasks integrate educational technology into teaching and learning. It is expected that technology can bring considerable change in teaching and learning (Drucker, 1997). Integrating educational technology into the university is a challenging task. Nowadays, eLearning and multimedia classrooms are used in the learning process. Management and leadership theories should apply in an educational context. Management allocates resources according to the institutional needs. Conversely, leadership focuses on the design of vision. Faculty members play a key role for the successful integration of educational technology in the teaching and learning process. In this context institute head needs to take initiatives to ensure internet and IT infrastructure availability in the classroom. He/she would manage all through presidential leadership. However, in parallel to developing an optimal learning culture, it is necessary to structure to adjust to the new reality. Faculty resistance, challenging interfaces, empowering faculty, and proper management of interfaces are essential tasks for a leader. Incentives, rewards, and support structures need to be reconciled to the new reality and integrated workflow needs to be designed.

This article has a significant connection with my title. The article highlights how leadership is very significant to help faculty to adjust with tentative expectations and make a decision on their commitment to educational technology. This article explores faculty confrontation and challenging interfaces to implement educational technology in higher education. We want to ensure quality education in higher education. If we cannot provide a proper learning environment with educational technology and proper teaching facilities then our mission will not see the light. Sporn (1996) advised leaders to work in a strong and outwardly oriented institutional background, and he also advised universities to establish an organisational background that allows the progress of a coherent strategy (1992). Leadership needs to be performed formally and informally in the context of institutions (Middlehurst, 1999). Academic headship needs to be more process-oriented and involved in the development of organisational individuality through connection inner choices with internal and external assumptions and concepts dynamic process (Askling & Stensaker, 2002). Reform of traditional teaching process, build technology infrastructure and policy adjustment are required for integrating educational technology. For these new approaches proactive headship and management action is highly recommended (Middlehurst, 1999).

This article explores two Australian policies along with quality and academic leadership build within the Australian quality policy context. Both policies use critical discourse analysis to discover the insinuation of excellence discourses for educational leadership. Discourses on quality are an important part of education policy. For example, Apple (2004) has mentioned the impact of quality discourses in the USA. Excellence results of student and affluent innovation in learning practice has been highlighted in Australian education policies at both the national and the state levels (cf. Education Queensland, 1999; DEETYA, 2000; DEST, 2003a). These policies explain how quality leaders are necessary for excellence education because the standard of education depends on the excellence of educational headship (cf. Education Queensland, 1999; DEETYA, 2000; Ramsey, 2000). This article also critically appearance into policy discourse on quality and educational leadership. It observes two recent Australian policies that focus on the quality of educators, schools, and leaders. The article analyses how these principles create discourses quality and professional standards, especially the position of educational leaders who speak -often the opposite – way based on critical discourse theory. The leader can realise his/her positions leading towards quality.

This article has a significant relation with my title because it gives attention to the importance of leadership. It shows how individual skills of educational leaders were transformed and controlled within the discursive ground created through policy discourses. One discourse is about the quality assurance in which the leaders need improving skills in management and control of teachers. Other discourse is about the quality improvement leaders rejuvenating the teaching profession support for pioneering and professional education. Both policies explain the common understanding of leadership. Quality discussions span many domains of public policy, including education. All discussion highlight on improving teacher quality and professional standards within the policy framework. It also explores the position of educational leaders and their activities. If a leader can ensure the proper environment for teachers then it will improve student outcomes. Both policies encourage teachers to develop their professional learning. Teachers need to develop themselves with professional development and it will increase the standard of educational development. For example, DEETYA (2000) states that teachers who take responsibility for ability development and implement this knowledge to enhance their teaching and student erudition. The leader can play a key role to encourage teachers to take these initiatives. Sturdy and supportive leaders can guide them properly to achieve the goals and targets.

This article explains how Australian Universities are called quality universities by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) under political and social contexts using Critical Discourse Analysis. AUQA is an autonomous bureaucracy that defines both quality and carry out audits with public reports according to set criteria of institutions. Their activities started in 2002. Universities like engaging more with the marketplace for economic continued existence rather than depending on public funds. They engage in flexible business where educational actions are managed through strategic arrange and quality outcomes which can introduce new sort of managers (Exworthy & Halford, 1999). These managers facilitate universities to enter into business entities for competing in the world market. This culture introduces accountability and transparency and develops quality assurance. Quality is the main concern for higher education in Australia. There is a committee for quality assurance in higher education, and they do external audits. Universities ranking depend on the audit. Early 1990s there was a focus on promoting and encouraging quality through grants to universities for innovation and research works. This encouragement leads to assurance of quality through benchmarking (Laughharne, 2002), policy frameworks, and the annual profiling exercise (Higher Education Division, 2001). Universities develop AUQA approaches for quality assurance as an independent business is managed.

This article is relevant to my topic. In this article, the standard of university is maintained by the audit report which is done by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA). Quality education and Quality University is a vital component of higher education. Through this article, I have noticed how Australian universities ought to maintain their quality according to their set criteria in a transparent way. The approach of AUQA works for quality assurance and construct the universities as an independent business. The explanation of audit visits and the procedure of audit are described in managerial or business style language. The language of audit does not include a portrayal of globalised, flexible business as might have been predictable (Olssen & Peters, 2005). Moreover, a clean disagreement is seen in the impact of AUQA on universities. Additionally, it claims that the audit process is limited and it only monitors current processes and does not make competitive proposals advantages of avoiding league tables in specific and separating from financial support management, so far university managers used the AUQA process to assist involve the market to show their competitive advantage. No national audit firm can avoid using this as a tool in the global market.

Connections among articles and reflections:

Effective leadership is an incredibly vital part of ensuring quality higher education regarding the expected contribution to the national and global development. The first article explains effective leadership and efficient management are two dimensions of quality assurance. The second article identifies how critical leadership and management tasks integrate academic technology into teaching at universities. The third article investigates how leadership ought to be reshaped within the context of policy discourses for quality (e.g. language, policy, and practice). The fourth article focuses on the standard in Australian higher education (Vidovich, 2004) and also the activities of AUQA. All articles provide the importance of leadership towards quality. For example, Effective leadership and efficient management practices are necessary elements in quality assurance in HEIs (Osseo-Asare et al., 2007). Similarly, “This was echoed by most of the heads, indicating a culture of headship devoid of leadership elements (e.g., vision, strategy, commitment, knowledge, and managerial skills, see Adair, 2009; Bendermacher et al., 2016; Flumerfelt & Banachowski, 2011; Winn & Cameron, 1998).” In addition, management without proper leadership is deceitful (Schneider, 2003).

Further, first article emphasise on strategic management. However, in second article Sporn (1992) advises developing organisational culture with coherent strategy instead of strategic management. Successful institutions depend on effective leadership, reputed teachers, results of student, learning environment, and communities (DEST, 2003a, p.179). There is a limitation within the approaches of AUQA. The audit process of AUQA is narrow that’s why it cannot concentrate on the scope of the university. There should be mandatory training on strengthening managerial-leadership capability before appointing head/dean (Kogan et al., 1994; Sutic & Jurcevic, 2012). This suggestion is substantial. Head/Dean needs to perceive the essential element of leadership. Consequently, some questions come to my mind which I want to explore more; such as what are the reasons why Bangladeshi universities are not interested in the systematic quality assurance mechanism? How does the head/dean apply performance based evaluation for academic standards? If the head/dean is not sufficiently trained up, what consequences can this lead to? How does the quality education ensure in higher education in Bangladesh? I find myself on the right path which leads me to reach my goal.


  1. Parvin, A. (2019). Leadership and management in quality assurance: Insights from the context of Khulna University, Bangladesh. Higher Education, 77(4), 739–756.
  3. Zellweger Moser, F. (2007). Strategic Management of Educational Technology-The Importance of Leadership and Management. Tertiary Education and Management, 13(2), 141–152.
  4. Thomas, S. (2008). Leading for quality: questions about quality and leadership in Australia. Journal of Education Policy, 23(3), 323–334.
  6. Reid, I. C. (2009). The contradictory managerialism of university quality assurance.
  7. Journal of Education Policy, 24(5), 575–593.

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