The Palestinian government through its Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) is implementing a Tertiary Education Project with the support of the World Bank group and the European Commission Technical Assistance Office (ECTAO). A major component of this Project is the creation and implementation of the Quality Improvement Fund (QIF), which is overseen by the Project Technical Committee (PTC). The main objective of the Quality Improvement Fund is to provide support to improve the quality of Palestinian tertiary institutions and programs in order that they are relevant to the job market and economic development of Palestine; made competitive with international standards and capable of developing income-generating programs. Although administered separately, the primary purpose of the QIF fund is to improve quality and relevance in tertiary education and is therefore closely linked to the national accreditation process and the institutional self-evaluation initiative.
The QIF Board
- The Quality Improvement Fund Board (the QIF Board) is independent of government and the national accreditation process.
- The Chair of the QIF Board will be selected (preferably by rotation) every year by the board members (1 July of every year) with the exception of the Director of AQAC, who is the permanent General Secretary of the Board.
- The QIF Board should meet at least two times per year for purposes of determining the merit of each application and an amount at which applications will be funded. An outline of the awarding process appears in Section VI of this Manual. The Board should also meet regularly to realign the priorities of the Fund, amend and reform technical issues and requirements, and to deal with and decide on appeals presented by participating institutions. All of the appeals accepted by the QIF Board will be sent to external reviewers. The evaluations of the external reviewer will be discussed in the next QIF Board meeting for taking decisions.
- Board members will not participate in decisions where there is a potential conflict of interest. More specifically, this would be the case where a Board member is directly or indirectly involved in a proposal that is going to be considered for funding by the QIF Board.
- The Board will define “inactive status” and inactive Board members, considering the absence of three consecutive meetings or half the yearly meetings, will be replaced by receiving a nomination from the stakeholder categories listed above with the appointment made by the MOEHE.
- In the period between project appraisal and project effectiveness, the QIF Board will agree on a basic code of rules and regulations. These will fundamentally be addressed to ensure the independence of the Board, its representative nature of the tertiary education sector, and its efficiency in decision-making.
- The QIF Board will coordinate its work with the World Bank’s Project Coordinating Unit (see below) in the proper management of grant funds.
- The QIF Board will submit to the MOEHE, to the Higher Education Council, and to the Project Technical Committee (PTC), a yearly report reflecting the summary activity and outcomes of the Fund.
Generally speaking, in order to make fair and effective decisions, it is the responsibility of the QIF Board to:
- Have a comprehensive understanding of the overall needs of tertiary education in Palestine;
- Be knowledgeable about the mission and general characteristics of all institutions in the system;
- Be flexible in allowing a monetary range of grant requests with an eye toward maximizing the effectiveness of the QIF grants;
- Keep faithful to the Priorities and Primary Categories of QIF Awards;
- Allow for creativity and “out-of-the-box” proposals which have potential;
- Be vigilant that conflicts of interest are not involved among institutions, staff and Board during the award process;
- Assure that both universities and technical & university colleges receive adequate attention by QIF;
- Be aware of weaknesses in the staffing or Board structure and seek changes/replacements in order to maintain the integrity of the process;
- Keep a schedule and maintain a well-publicized process which is highly transparent.
QIF Board Members:
- QIF Board Chairman: Eng. Mohammad Abu Ajamiya, Engineering Sector
- Member: - Head of AQAC
- Member: Eng. Ayman Sultan- TEI's Representative
- Member: Dr. Ghassan Abu Orf- TEI's Representative
- Member: Mr. Odeh Shehadeh- Palestinian Federation of Industries; Private Sector
- Member: Ms. Dina Naser- Health Sector
- Member: Mr. Mousa Shamiya- Banking Sector; Private Sector
- Member: Dr. Iyad Masrouji- Businessman; Private Sector
- Member: Mr. Ala' Ala' Al- Deen- IT Sector
- Member: Dr. Mohammad Ziara- AQAC Board Member
- Member: Mr. Hisham Kuhail- Council of Higher Education Representative
- Observer & Technical Support: Eng. Suha Khalili- PCU Director
- Obserever & Technical Support: Eng. Maram Jadbeh- QIF Coordinator
- Observer & Technical Support: Dr. Hani Negim- Gaza Projects Coordinator
The responsibilities of QIF staff will be to:
Work in cooperation with each other for the quality improvement of the Palestinian tertiary education system, but to not confuse the assessment purpose and process of accreditation with the Quality Improvement Fund. For example, an accreditation outcome cannot be contingent on the receipt of a grant to improve a certain area nor can the QIF be used directly by AQAC to improve certain aspects of institutions and the programs. Institutions, on the other hand, may themselves choose to select areas identified through the accreditation process as needing improvement for QIF applications.
Assure that tertiary institutions are notified of the process well in advance of application deadlines. At the outset, every tertiary institution should be provided a QIF Manual
- Provide training programs for tertiary institutions as to the nature of the QIF and its process of application
- Be available to tertiary institutions as they develop proposals and undergo the application process
- Provide staff support to the QIF Board relative to notification, implementation and follow-through of meetings
- Develop a process for the receipt and review QIF applications.
- Provide the QIF Board with a summary overview of the application including whether the institution is eligible; whether all the elements of the application are provided fully; whether the application is responsive to one or more of the fund priorities; and rate the proposal on the criteria for evaluation
- Work in consultation with the Project Coordinating Unit for purposes of procurement throughout the duration of each grant
- Notify applicants of grant decisions.
- Receive and deal with appeals from institutions whose proposals are rejected. This would entail, first, an internal review of the proposal and the intervention of a third external reviewer.
- Monitor progress of funded programs through annual reports.