Accreditation and Peer-Review are two significant tiers of external QA System to work on the base line information provided through process of internal QA. It is recommended for the higher education institutions to compare their academic standards with equivalent national and international standards through external evaluation with the objective of improvements in quality. In the national context, responsibility of developing and validation of Academic Standards for the Institutional Accreditations in future comes under the scope of HEC through QAA while the Programme Academic Standards should be developed by the respective Accreditation Councils in consultation with the HEC. For capacity building at institutional level to conduct this critical process, QAA will work with national and international partners, line agencies, higher education institutions, professional organizations and other stakeholders to develop National Academic Standards to be used as reference standards for practical purposes and to evaluate the current state of quality as compared to global standards. The process of Intuitional Accreditation will be led by these National Academic Standards while the Programme Accreditation will largely be based on academic standards developed by the respective Accreditation Councils. The effectiveness and relevance of these two types of academic standards will be assured by the transparency and quality of the process involved in development of these standards. The baseline information conveyed by the annual self-evaluation and five year peer-review reports of the universities and other higher education institutions will be communicated by the Quality Enhancement Cells (QECs) and filtered by the Quality Assurance Agency at HEC.
The proposed tiers and the actors of the External Quality Assurance System all-encompassing evaluation, review, transitional arrangements and accreditation with overlapping functions and roles to be performed are the HEIs, the HEC, Accreditation Councils and the QECs. Whereas, QAA of the HEC and independent Accreditation Councils perform the functions of external Reviewers and Accreditors, the role of the HEC is like “Accreditor of Accreditors”. The QECs facilitate and strengthen the process of internal review and self-assessment to provide baseline information for external quality assessment and for continuity of the processes of the Quality Assurance and Enhancement. The whole processes conducted by all the actors escort the higher education system towards developing a “Culture of Quality” in Academics. The practices of quality assurance while leading towards international compatibility, sketches out a process of sharing information, providing feedback, building capacity, strengthening partners and developing commonly agreed sets of academic standards to be followed. The areas linked with each other provide strength to achieve the broader goals of quality assurance.