BenchmarkingQuality Assurance Arab Region


Benchmarking is becoming a central instrument for improving the performance of higher education institutions and different approaches to higher education benchmarking have been adopted in many parts of the world. “If taken seriously and deployed properly, benchmarking can help colleges and universities position themselves for the new competitive environment” (Epper, 1999, p. 26). This paper outlines the recent changes in the higher education systems within the Arab region, triggered by the increased demands for accountability. This led to the introduction of new policies designed to make higher education institutions more accountable to the different stakeholders. There is also a strong emphasis on benchmarking as a tool to improving the performance of higher education institutions in the Arab region. Nonetheless, benchmarking is a new concept for most higher education institutions in this region, which can learn from the experience of other nations by examining the different tools used in benchmarking. The paper examines the different interpretations of benchmarking, referring to some applications in higher education. These applications have some common features, which include deciding on the scope of the study; identifying best practice organizations; deciding on and capturing best practices; reporting and disseminating features that can be transferred. Based on the review of different definitions and applications, this paper concludes that benchmarking is a continuous

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