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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

Macao Polytechnic Institute 2013

Special Institutional Review

In January 2013 MPI, in consultation with its major UK partner QMUL, made a formal request to QAA for a special Institutional Review, the first of this kind of targeted activity for QAA. This special review brought together the principles of Institutional Review in that the review team considered the application of each of the Expectations of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education in operation during 2012-13 (as set out in the Institutional Review of Higher Education Institutions in England and Northern Ireland: A handbook for higher education providers, March 2012 (Second edition)) in conjunction with the judgement system from the previous method of Institutional Audit. This has enabled the team to deliver judgements about the confidence that can reasonably be placed in the soundness of the institution's present and likely future management of: the academic standards of awards, the quality of the learning opportunities available to students and, by extension, to information about its higher education provision and the enhancement of the learning opportunities available to students.

Review report

Special Institutional Review: Macao Polytechnic Institute, November 2013 (PDF, 288KB)

Action plan

Following their Institutional Review, MPI published an action plan in April 2014.

Macao Polytechnic Institute

Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI) is a public institution of higher education with an emphasis on applied knowledge and skills. It was founded on September 16 1991 by the Portuguese Administration. MPI is responsible to the Macao Special Administrative Region Government through its Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture. Government decrees are the main legal instruments, and primary sources of power for MPI and its formal Charter clearly define the principles, aims, structure, and terms of reference of its governing bodies.

MPI has been working with UK partners since 2000, initially with the British Council to act as a testing centre for the International English Language Testing System exams and then chiefly with Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) via a joint master's degree programme and the creation of the MPI-QMUL Information Systems Research Centre. There is also an articulation agreement that allows students to study for two years at MPI and then to transfer to QMUL for a further two years of study to obtain a BEng in Telecommunications degree. QMUL also provides technology transfer courses for Macao government officials at MPI through the joint Information Systems Research Centre.

Background of higher education in Macao

The first modern university in Macao, the private University of East Asia on the island of Taipa, was established in 1981 (the peninsula of Macao together with the islands of Taipa and Coloane constitute the Macao Special Administrative Region). Macao has developed a university system based on the British model. In 1987 the Sino‐Portuguese Joint Declaration on the future status of Macao was signed and the date was set for Macao to be returned to China in 1999. The prospective self‐governance brought with it an acknowledgement of the need for training large numbers of administrative and technical professionals within the 10-year time frame before the handover. In 1991 the Legislative Council passed the Macao Higher Education Act. The University of East Asia was purchased and transformed into three higher educational institutions: the public University of Macao, the public Macao Polytechnic Institute, and the private Asia International Open University (now the City University of Macao). In 1992 a government department responsible for the administration of higher education, the Tertiary Education Services Office (GAES), was established. To accommodate this new move, the Macao Higher Education Act was revised accordingly.

Since then, higher education governance in Macao has been the responsibility of the Government and the GAES, the legal standing for such governance being the Macao Higher Education Act as revised in 1992 (a new higher education law is currently in the process of being drafted). Higher education institutions are regulated by the Macao Higher Education Act and operate under the auspices of the government. Public institutions are currently regarded as government departments, operating according to the rules of local public administration. After the handover of Macao to China in 1999, Macao became a heritage city and major tourism centre with a multicultural blend that provides a broad and international perspective for its college students. The academic ethos and the unique combination of Chinese and Portuguese culture have created favourable conditions for higher education. English or Chinese (or both) are the languages of instruction in higher education institutions, while some courses or programs are conducted in Portuguese. In recent years, the Macao Government has encouraged higher education institutions to seek academic accreditation in order to gain a higher profile and attract better students and researchers from all over the world. Macao now has 10 tertiary educational institutions, four of which are public and six are private. Since its origins some 30 years ago the development of modern tertiary education in the regions has seen the range and diversity of programmes widen to meet societal demands for different types of expertise. Since 2011, the Government has actively promoted the stable development of tertiary education by following up on and improving related regulations, as well as strengthening the relationship with and learning from the experiences of overseas professional accrediting bodies and recognised degree awarding institutions.

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