Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 67

Search results for: Assurance

67 Governmentality and the Norwegian Knowledge Promotion Reform

Authors: Christin Tønseth

Abstract:

The Norwegian ‘knowledge promotion reform’ was implemented in elementary schools and upper secondary schools in 2006. The goal of the reform was that all pupils should develop basic skills and competencies in order to take an active part in the knowledge society. This paper discusses how governmentality as a management principle is demonstrated through the Norwegian ‘knowledge promotion reform’. Evaluation reports and political documents are the basis for the discussion. The ‘knowledge promotion reform’ was including quality assurance for schools, teachers, and students and the authorities retained control by using curricula and national tests. The reform promoted several intentions that were not reached. In light of governmentality, it seemed that thoughts and intentions by the authorities differed from those in the world of practice. The quality assurances did not motivate the practitioners to be self-governing. The relationship between the authorities and the implementation actors was weak, and the reform was, therefore, difficult to implement in practice.

Keywords: Education politics, governance, governmentality, the Norwegian knowledge promotion reform.

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66 Impact of Quality Assurance Mechanisms on the Work Efficiency of Staff in the Educational Space of Georgia

Authors: B. Gechbaia, K. Goletiani, G. Gabedava, N. Mikeltadze

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At this stage, Georgia is a country which is actively involved in the European integration process, for which the primary priority is effective integration in the European education system. The modern Georgian higher education system is the process of establishing a new sociocultural reality, whose main priorities are determined by the Quality System as a continuous cycle of planning, implementation, checking and acting. Obviously, in this situation, the issue of management of education institutions comes out in the foreground, since the proper planning and implementation of personnel management processes is one of the main determinants of the company's performance. At the same time, one of the most important factors is the psychological comfort of the personnel, ensuring their protection and efficiency of stress management policy.

The purpose of this research is to determine how intensely the relationship is between the psychological comfort of the personnel and the efficiency of the quality system in the institution as the quality assurance mechanisms of educational institutions affect the stability of personnel, prevention and management of the stressful situation. The research was carried out within the framework of the Internal Grant Project «The Role of Organizational Culture in the Process of Settlement of Management of Stress and Conflict, Georgian Reality and European Experience » of the Batumi Navigation Teaching University, based on the analysis of the survey results of target groups. The small-scale research conducted by us has revealed that the introduction of quality assurance system and its active implementation increased the quality of management of Georgian educational institutions, increased the level of universal engagement in internal and external processes and as a result, it has improved the quality of education as well as social and psychological comfort indicators of the society.

Keywords: Quality assurance, effective management, stability of personnel, psychological comfort, stress management.

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65 A Six-Year Case Study Evaluating the Stakeholders’ Requirements and Satisfaction in Higher Educational Establishments

Authors: Ioannis I. Αngeli

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Worldwide and mainly in the European Union, many standards, regulations, models and systems exists for the evaluation and identification of stakeholders’ requirements of individual universities and higher education (HE) in general. All systems are targeting to measure or evaluate the Universities’ Quality Assurance Systems and the services offered to the recipients of HE, mainly the students. Numerous surveys were conducted in the past either by each university or by organized bodies to identify the students’ satisfaction or to evaluate to what extent these requirements are fulfilled. In this paper, the main results of an ongoing 6-year joint research will be presented very briefly. This research deals with an in depth investigation of student’s satisfaction, students personal requirements, a cup analysis among these two parameters and compares different universities. Through this research an attempt will be made to address four very important questions in higher education establishments (HEE): (1) Are there any common requirements, parameters, good practices or questions that apply to a large number of universities that will assure that students’ requirements are fulfilled? (2) Up to what extent the individual programs of HEE fulfil the requirements of the stakeholders? (3) Are there any similarities on specific programs among European HEE? (4) To what extent the knowledge acquired in a specific course program is utilized or used in a specific country? For the execution of the research an internationally accepted questionnaire(s) was used to evaluate up to what extent the students’ requirements and satisfaction were fulfilled in 2012 and five years later (2017). Samples of students and or universities were taken from many European Universities. The questionnaires used, the sampling method and methodology adopted, as well as the comparison tables and results will be very valuable to any university that is willing to follow the same route and methodology or compare the results with their own HHE. Apart from the unique methodology, valuable results are demonstrated from the four case studies. There is a great difference between the student’s expectations or importance from what they are getting from their universities (in all parameters they are getting less). When there is a crisis or budget cut in HEE there is a direct impact to students. There are many differences on subjects taught in European universities.

Keywords: Quality in higher education, students’ requirements, education standards, student’s survey, stakeholder’s requirements, Mechanical Engineering courses.

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64 A Study on the Relation between Auditor Rotation and Audit Quality in Iranian Firms

Authors: Bita Mashayekhi, Marjan Fayyazi, Parisa Sefati

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Audit quality is a popular topic in accounting and auditing research because recent decades’ financial crises reduce the reliability of financial reports to public investors and cause significant doubt about the audit profession. Therefore, doing research to identify effective factors in improving audit quality is necessary for bringing back public investors’ trust to financial statements as well as audit reports. In this study, we explore the relationship between audit rotation and audit quality. For this purpose, we employ the Duff (2009) model of audit quality to measure audit quality and use a questionnaire survey of 27 audit service quality attributes. Our results show that there is a negative relationship between auditor’s rotation and audit quality as we consider the auditor’s reputation, capability, assurance, experience, and responsiveness as surrogates for audit quality. There is no evidence for verifying a same relationship when we use the auditor’s independence and expertise for measuring audit quality.

Keywords: Audit quality, auditor’s rotation, reputation, capability, assurance, experience, responsiveness, independence, expertise.

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63 The Role of Food Labeling on Consumers’ Buying Decision: Georgian Case

Authors: Nugzar Todua

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The paper studies the role of food labeling in order to promote healthy eating issue in Georgia. The main focus of the research is directed to consumer attitudes regarding food labeling. The methodology of the paper is based on the focus group work, as well as online and face to face surveys. The data analysis has been provided through ANOVA. The study proves that the impact of variables such as the interest, awareness, reliability, assurance and satisfaction of consumers' on buying decision, is statistically important. The study reveals that consumers’ perception regarding to food labeling is positive, but their level of knowledge and ability is rather low. It is urgent to strengthen marketing promotions strategies in the process of implementations of food security policy in Georgia.

Keywords: Food labeling, buying decision, Georgian consumers, marketing research.

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62 Effect of Nanoparticles on Wheat Seed Germination and Seedling Growth

Authors: Pankaj Singh Rawat, Rajeew Kumar, Pradeep Ram, Priyanka Pandey

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Wheat is an important cereal crop for food security. Boosting the wheat production and productivity is the major challenge across the nation. Good quality of seed is required for maintaining optimum plant stand which ultimately increases grain yield. Ensuring a good germination is one of the key steps to ensure proper plant stand and moisture assurance during seed germination may help to speed up the germination. The tiny size of nanoparticles may help in entry of water into seed without disturbing their internal structure. Considering above, a laboratory experiment was conducted during 2012-13 at G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India. The completely randomized design was used for statistical analysis. The experiment was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, the appropriate concentration of nanoparticles for seed treatment was screened. In second phase seed soaking hours of nanoparticles for better seed germination were standardized. Wheat variety UP2526 was taken as test crop. Four nanoparticles (TiO2, ZnO, nickel and chitosan) were taken for study. The crop germination studies were done in petri dishes and standard package and practices were used to raise the seedlings. The germination studies were done by following standard procedure. In first phase of the experiment, seeds were treated with 50 and 300 ppm of nanoparticles and control was also maintained for comparison. In the second phase of experiment, seeds were soaked for 4 hours, 6 hours and 8 hours with 50 ppm nanoparticles of TiO2, ZnO, nickel and chitosan along with control treatment to identify the soaking time for better seed germination. Experiment revealed that the application of nanoparticles help to enhance seed germination. The study revealed that seed treatment with  nanoparticles at 50 ppm concentration increases root length, shoot length, seedling length, shoot dry weight, seedling dry weight, seedling vigour index I and seedling vigour index II as compared to seed soaking at 300 ppm concentration. This experiment showed that seed soaking up to 4 hr was better as compared to 6 and 8 hrs. Seed soaking with nanoparticles specially TiO2, ZnO, and chitosan proved to enhance germination and seedling growth indices of wheat crop.

Keywords: Nanoparticles, seed germination, seed soaking, wheat.

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61 Complementing Assessment Processes with Standardized Tests: A Work in Progress

Authors: Amparo Camacho

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ABET accredited programs must assess the development of student learning outcomes (SOs) in engineering programs. Different institutions implement different strategies for this assessment, and they are usually designed “in house.” This paper presents a proposal for including standardized tests to complement the ABET assessment model in an engineering college made up of six distinct engineering programs. The engineering college formulated a model of quality assurance in education to be implemented throughout the six engineering programs to regularly assess and evaluate the achievement of SOs in each program offered. The model uses diverse techniques and sources of data to assess student performance and to implement actions of improvement based on the results of this assessment. The model is called “Assessment Process Model” and it includes SOs A through K, as defined by ABET. SOs can be divided into two categories: “hard skills” and “professional skills” (soft skills). The first includes abilities, such as: applying knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering and designing and conducting experiments, as well as analyzing and interpreting data. The second category, “professional skills”, includes communicating effectively, and understanding professional and ethnical responsibility. Within the Assessment Process Model, various tools were used to assess SOs, related to both “hard” as well as “soft” skills. The assessment tools designed included: rubrics, surveys, questionnaires, and portfolios. In addition to these instruments, the Engineering College decided to use tools that systematically gather consistent quantitative data. For this reason, an in-house exam was designed and implemented, based on the curriculum of each program. Even though this exam was administered during various academic periods, it is not currently considered standardized. In 2017, the Engineering College included three standardized tests: one to assess mathematical and scientific reasoning and two more to assess reading and writing abilities. With these exams, the college hopes to obtain complementary information that can help better measure the development of both hard and soft skills of students in the different engineering programs. In the first semester of 2017, the three exams were given to three sample groups of students from the six different engineering programs. Students in the sample groups were either from the first, fifth, and tenth semester cohorts. At the time of submission of this paper, the engineering college has descriptive statistical data and is working with various statisticians to have a more in-depth and detailed analysis of the sample group of students’ achievement on the three exams. The overall objective of including standardized exams in the assessment model is to identify more precisely the least developed SOs in order to define and implement educational strategies necessary for students to achieve them in each engineering program.

Keywords: Assessment, hard skills, soft skills, standardized tests.

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60 Implementation of ALD in Product Development: Study of ROPS to Improve Energy Absorption Performance Using Absorption Part

Authors: Zefry Darmawan, Shigeyuki Haruyama, Ken Kaminishi

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Product development is a big issue in the industrial competition and takes a serious part in development of technology. Product development process could adapt high changes of market needs and transform into engineering concept in order to produce high-quality product. One of the latest methods in product development is Analysis-Led-Design (ALD). It utilizes digital engineering design tools with finite analysis to perform product robust analysis and valuable for product reliability assurance. Heavy machinery which operates under severe condition should maintain safety to the customer when faced with potential hazard. Cab frame should able to absorb the energy while collision. Through ALD, a series of improvement of cab frame to increase energy absorption was made and analyzed. Improvement was made by modifying shapes of frame and-or install absorption device in certain areas. Simulation result showed that install absorption device could increase absorption energy than modifying shape.

Keywords: ALD, ROPS, energy absorption, cab frame.

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59 Applying WILSERV in Measuring Visitor Satisfaction at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC)

Authors: A. H. Hendry, H. S. Mogindol

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There is an increasing worldwide demand on the field of interaction with wildlife tourism. Studies pertaining to the service quality within the sphere of interaction with wildlife tourism are plentiful. However, studies on service quality in wildlife attractions, especially on semi-captured wildlife tourism are still limited. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia is one good example of a semi-captured wildlife attraction and a renowned attraction in Sabah. This study presents a gap analysis by measuring the perception and expectation of service quality at SORC through the use of a modified SERVQUAL, referred to as WILSERV. A survey questionnaire was devised and administered to 190 visitors who visited SORC. The study revealed that all the means of the six dimensions for perceived perceptions were lower than the expectations. The highest gap was from the dimension of reliability (-0.21), followed by tangible (-0.17), responsiveness (-0.11), assurance, (-0.11), empathy (-0.11) and wild-tangible (-0.05). Similarly, the study also showed that all six dimensions for perceived perceptions means were lower than the expectations for both local and foreign visitors.

Keywords: Gap analysis, service quality, WILSERV, wildlife tourism.

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58 Classification of Business Models of Italian Bancassurance by Balance Sheet Indicators

Authors: Andrea Bellucci, Martina Tofi

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The aim of paper is to analyze business models of bancassurance in Italy for life business. The life insurance business is very developed in the Italian market and banks branches have 80% of the market share. Given its maturity, the life insurance market needs to consolidate its organizational form to allow for the development of non-life business, which nowadays collects few premiums but represents a great opportunity to enlarge the market share of bancassurance using its strength in the distribution channel while the market share of independent agents is decreasing. Starting with the main business model of bancassurance for life business, this paper will analyze the performances of life companies in the Italian market by balance sheet indicators and by main discriminant variables of business models. The study will observe trends from 2013 to 2015 for the Italian market by exploiting a database managed by Associazione Nazionale delle Imprese di Assicurazione (ANIA). The applied approach is based on a bottom-up analysis starting with variables and indicators to define business models’ classification. The statistical classification algorithm proposed by Ward is employed to design business models’ profiles. Results from the analysis will be a representation of the main business models built by their profile related to indicators. In that way, an unsupervised analysis is developed that has the limit of its judgmental dimension based on research opinion, but it is possible to obtain a design of effective business models.

Keywords: Balance sheet indicators, Bancassurance, business models, ward algorithm.

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57 Great Powers’ Proxy Wars in Middle East and Difficulty in Transition from Cold War to Cold Peace

Authors: Arash Sharghi, Irina Dotu

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The developments in the Middle East region have activated the involvement of a numerous diverse state and non-state actors in the regional affairs. The goals, positions, ideologies, different, and even contrast policy behaviors had procured the spreading and continuity of crisis. Non-state actors varying from Islamic organizations to takfiri-terrorist movements on one hand and regional and trans- regional actors, from another side, seek to reach their interests in the power struggle. Here, a research worthy question comes on the agenda: taking into consideration actors’ contradictory interests and constraints what are the regional peace and stability perspectives? Therein, different actors’ aims definition, their actions and behaviors, which affect instability, can be regarded as independent variables; whereas, on the contrary, Middle East peace and stability perspective analysis is a dependent variable. Though, this regional peace and war theory based research admits the significant influence of trans-regional actors, it asserts the roots of violence to derive from region itself. Consequently, hot war and conflict prevention and hot peace assurance in the Middle East region cannot be attained only by demands and approaches of trans-regional actors. Moreover, capacity of trans-regional actors is sufficient only for a cold war or cold peace to be reached in the region. Furthermore, within the framework of current conflict (struggle) between regional actors it seems to be difficult and even impossible to turn the cold war into a cold peace in the region.

Keywords: Cold peace, cold war, hot war, Middle East, non-state actors, regional and Great powers, war theory.

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56 Exploring the Spatial Characteristics of Mortality Map: A Statistical Area Perspective

Authors: Jung-Hong Hong, Jing-Cen Yang, Cai-Yu Ou

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The analysis of geographic inequality heavily relies on the use of location-enabled statistical data and quantitative measures to present the spatial patterns of the selected phenomena and analyze their differences. To protect the privacy of individual instance and link to administrative units, point-based datasets are spatially aggregated to area-based statistical datasets, where only the overall status for the selected levels of spatial units is used for decision making. The partition of the spatial units thus has dominant influence on the outcomes of the analyzed results, well known as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). A new spatial reference framework, the Taiwan Geographical Statistical Classification (TGSC), was recently introduced in Taiwan based on the spatial partition principles of homogeneous consideration of the number of population and households. Comparing to the outcomes of the traditional township units, TGSC provides additional levels of spatial units with finer granularity for presenting spatial phenomena and enables domain experts to select appropriate dissemination level for publishing statistical data. This paper compares the results of respectively using TGSC and township unit on the mortality data and examines the spatial characteristics of their outcomes. For the mortality data between the period of January 1st, 2008 and December 31st, 2010 of the Taitung County, the all-cause age-standardized death rate (ASDR) ranges from 571 to 1757 per 100,000 persons, whereas the 2nd dissemination area (TGSC) shows greater variation, ranged from 0 to 2222 per 100,000. The finer granularity of spatial units of TGSC clearly provides better outcomes for identifying and evaluating the geographic inequality and can be further analyzed with the statistical measures from other perspectives (e.g., population, area, environment.). The management and analysis of the statistical data referring to the TGSC in this research is strongly supported by the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. An integrated workflow that consists of the tasks of the processing of death certificates, the geocoding of street address, the quality assurance of geocoded results, the automatic calculation of statistic measures, the standardized encoding of measures and the geo-visualization of statistical outcomes is developed. This paper also introduces a set of auxiliary measures from a geographic distribution perspective to further examine the hidden spatial characteristics of mortality data and justify the analyzed results. With the common statistical area framework like TGSC, the preliminary results demonstrate promising potential for developing a web-based statistical service that can effectively access domain statistical data and present the analyzed outcomes in meaningful ways to avoid wrong decision making.

Keywords: Mortality map, spatial patterns, statistical area, variation.

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55 Adverse Curing Conditions and Performance of Concrete: Bangladesh Perspective

Authors: T. Manzur

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Concrete is the predominant construction material in Bangladesh. In large projects, stringent quality control procedures are usually followed under the supervision of experienced engineers and skilled labors. However, in the case of small projects and particularly at distant locations from major cities, proper quality control is often an issue. It has been found from experience that such quality related issues mainly arise from inappropriate proportioning of concrete mixes and improper curing conditions. In most cases external curing method is followed which requires supply of adequate quantity of water along with proper protection against evaporation. Often these conditions are found missing in the general construction sites and eventually lead to production of weaker concrete both in terms of strength and durability. In this study, an attempt has been made to investigate the performance of general concreting works of the country when subjected to several adverse curing conditions that are quite common in various small to medium construction sites. A total of six different types of adverse curing conditions were simulated in the laboratory and samples were kept under those conditions for several days. A set of samples was also submerged in normal curing condition having proper supply of curing water. Performance of concrete was evaluated in terms of compressive strength, tensile strength, chloride permeability and drying shrinkage. About 37% and 25% reduction in 28-day compressive and tensile strength were observed respectively, for samples subjected to most adverse curing condition as compared to the samples under normal curing conditions. Normal curing concrete exhibited moderate permeability (close to low permeability) whereas concrete under adverse curing conditions showed very high permeability values. Similar results were also obtained for shrinkage tests. This study, thus, will assist concerned engineers and supervisors to understand the importance of quality assurance during the curing period of concrete.

Keywords: Adverse, concrete, curing, compressive strength, drying shrinkage, permeability, tensile strength.

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54 Risk in the South African Sectional Title Industry: An Assurance Perspective

Authors: Leandi Steenkamp

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The sectional title industry has been a part of the property landscape in South Africa for almost half a century, and plays a significant role in addressing the housing problem in the country. Stakeholders such as owners and investors in sectional title property are in most cases not directly involved in the management thereof, and place reliance on the audited annual financial statements of bodies corporate for decision-making purposes. Although the industry seems to be highly regulated, the legislation regarding accounting and auditing of sectional title is vague and ambiguous. Furthermore, there are no industry-specific auditing and accounting standards to guide accounting and auditing practitioners in performing their work and industry financial benchmarks are not readily available. In addition, financial pressure on sectional title schemes is often very high due to the fact that some owners exercise unrealistic pressure to keep monthly levies as low as possible. All these factors have an impact on the business risk as well as audit risk of bodies corporate. Very little academic research has been undertaken on the sectional title industry in South Africa from an accounting and auditing perspective. The aim of this paper is threefold: Firstly, to discuss the findings of a literature review on uncertainties, ambiguity and confusing aspects in current legislation regarding the audit of a sectional title property that may cause or increase audit and business risk. Secondly, empirical findings of risk-related aspects from the results of interviews with three groups of body corporate role-players will be discussed. The role-players were body corporate trustee chairpersons, body corporate managing agents and accounting and auditing practitioners of bodies corporate. Specific reference will be made to business risk and audit risk. Thirdly, practical recommendations will be made on possibilities of closing the audit expectation gap, and further research opportunities in this regard will be discussed.

Keywords: Assurance, audit, audit risk, body corporate, corporate governance, sectional title.

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53 An Analysis of Institutional Audits: Basis for Teaching, Learning and Assessment Framework and Principles

Authors: Nabil El Kadhi, Minerva M. Bunagan

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The dynamism in education, particularly in the area of teaching, learning and assessment has caused Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) worldwide to seek for ways to continuously improve their educational processes. HEIs use outcomes of institutional audits, assessments and accreditations, for improvement. In this study, the published institutional audit reports of HEIs in the Sultanate of Oman were analyzed to produce features of good practice; identify challenges along Teaching, Learning Assessment (TLA); and propose a framework that puts major emphasis in having a quality-assured TLA, including a set of principles that can be used as basis in succeeding an institutional visit. The TLA framework, which shows the TLA components, characteristics of the components, related expectation, including implementation tool/ strategy and pitfalls can be used by HEIs to have an adequate understanding of the scope of audit and be able to satisfy institutional audit requirements. The scope of this study can be widened by exploring the other requirements of the Institutional Audits in the Sultanate of Oman, particularly the area on Governance and Management and Student Support Services.

Keywords: Accreditation, audit, quality assurance, teaching, learning and assessment.

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52 Accreditation and Quality Assurance of Nigerian Universities: The Management Imperative

Authors: F. O Anugom

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The general functions of the university amongst other things include teaching, research and community service. Universities are recognized as the apex of learning, accumulating and imparting knowledge and skills of all kinds to students to enable them to be productive, earn their living and to make optimum contributions to national development. This is equivalent to the production of human capital in the form of high level manpower needed to administer the educational society, be useful to the society and manage the economy. Quality has become a matter of major importance for university education in Nigeria. Accreditation is the systematic review of educational programs to ensure that acceptable standards of education, scholarship and infrastructure are being maintained. Accreditation ensures that institution maintain quality. The process is designed to determine whether or not an institution has met or exceeded the published standards for accreditation, and whether it is achieving its mission and stated purposes. Ensuring quality assurance in accreditation process falls in the hands of university management which justified the need for this study. This study examined accreditation and quality assurance: the management imperative. Three research questions and three hypotheses guided the study. The design was a correlation survey with a population of 2,893 university administrators out of which 578 Heads of department and Dean of faculties were sampled. The instrument for data collection was titled Programme Accreditation Exercise scale with high levels of reliability. The research questions were answered with Pearson ‘r’ statistics. T-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses. It was found among others that the quality of accredited programme depends on the level of funding of universities in Nigeria. It was also indicated that quality of programme accreditation and physical facilities of universities in Nigeria have high relationship. But it was also revealed that programme accreditation is positively related to staffing in Nigerian universities. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommend that academic administrators should be included in the team of those who ensure quality programs in the universities. Private sector partnership should be encouraged to fund programs to ensure quality of programme in the universities. Independent agencies should be engaged to monitor the activities of accreditation teams to avoid bias.

Keywords: Accreditation, quality assurance, NUC, physical facilities, staffing.

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51 Enhancing Students’ Performance in Basic Science and Technology in Nigeria Using Moodle LMS

Authors: Olugbade Damola, Adekomi Adebimbo, Sofowora Olaniyi Alaba

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One of the major problems facing education in Nigeria is the provision of quality Science and Technology education. Inadequate teaching facilities, non-usage of innovative teaching strategies, ineffective classroom management, lack of students’ motivation and poor integration of ICT has resulted in the increase in percentage of students who failed Basic Science and Technology in Junior Secondary Certification Examination for National Examination Council in Nigeria. To address these challenges, the Federal Government came up with a road map on education. This was with a view of enhancing quality education through integration of modern technology into teaching and learning, enhancing quality assurance through proper monitoring and introduction of innovative methods of teaching. This led the researcher to investigate how MOODLE LMS could be used to enhance students’ learning outcomes in BST. A sample of 120 students was purposively selected from four secondary schools in Ogbomoso. The experimental group was taught using MOODLE LMS, while the control group was taught using the conventional method. Data obtained were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test. The result showed that MOODLE LMS was an effective learning platform in teaching BST in junior secondary schools (t=4.953, P<0.05). Students’ attitudes towards BST was also enhanced through MOODLE LMS (t=15.632, P<0.05). The use of MOODLE LMS significantly enhanced students’ retention (t=6.640, P<0.05). In conclusion, the Federal Government efforts at enhancing quality assurance through integration of modern technology and e-learning in Secondary schools proved to have yielded good result has students found MOODLE LMS to be motivating and interactive. Attendance was improved.

Keywords: MOODLE, learning management system, quality assurance, basic science and technology.

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50 Quality and Quantity in the Strategic Network of Higher Education Institutions

Authors: Juha Kettunen

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This study analyzes the quality and the size of the strategic network of higher education institutions. The study analyses the concept of fitness for purpose in quality assurance. It also analyses the transaction costs of networking that have consequences on the number of members in the network. Empirical evidence is presented of the Consortium on Applied Research and Professional Education, which is a European strategic network of six higher education institutions. The results of the study support the argument that the number of members in the strategic network should be relatively small to provide high quality results. The practical importance is that networking has been able to promote international research and development projects. The results of this study are important for those who want to design and improve international networks in higher education.

Keywords: Higher education, network, research and development, strategic management.

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49 Quality Management in Spice Paprika Production as a Synergy of Internal and External Quality Measures

Authors: É. Kónya, E. Szabó, I. Bata-Vidács, T. Deák, M. Ottucsák, N. Adányi, A. Székács

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Spice paprika is a major spice commodity in the European Union (EU), produced locally and imported from non-EU countries, reported not only for chemical and microbiological contamination, but also for fraud. The effective interaction between producers’ quality management practices and government and EU activities is described on the example of spice paprika production and control in Hungary, a country of leading spice paprika producer and per capita consumer in Europe. To demonstrate the importance of various contamination factors in the Hungarian production and EU trade of spice paprika, several aspects concerning food safety of this commodity are presented. Alerts in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the EU between 2005 and 2013, as well as Hungarian state inspection results on spice paprika in 2004 are discussed, and quality non-compliance claims regarding spice paprika among EU member states are summarized in by means of network analysis. Quality assurance measures established along the spice paprika production technology chain at the leading Hungarian spice paprika manufacturer, Kalocsai Fűszerpaprika Zrt. are surveyed with main critical control points identified. The structure and operation of the Hungarian state food safety inspection system is described. Concerted performance of the latter two quality management systems illustrates the effective interaction between internal (manufacturer) and external (state) quality control measures.

Keywords: Spice paprika, quality control, reporting mechanisms, RASFF, vulnerable points, HACCP, BRC Global Standard.

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48 Managers’ Capacity Building for Institutional Sustainability Performance

Authors: Analiza Acuña-Villacorte

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The Institutional Sustainability Performance (ISP) of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines reveals the level of compliance and fidelity of the latter to the mandates of the state. This performance evaluation procedure aims to perpetually monitor and sustain the quality of services provided by the state institutions in the country. Importantly, the SUC level rating is one of the key indicators of the merit system adopted by the state to give incentives to government institutions. With the crucial role of the ISP and SUC level in the performance of an institution and in sustaining quality assurance, this study theorized that the top managers’ capacity to influence is the critical factor in meeting the expectations of the state. This study assessed the top managers’ capacity to influence. The hypothesis in this study proved that leadership style of top managers has significant relationship to the managers’ capacity to influence for institutional sustainability performance. Thus, the subjects of this study were restricted only to the State Universities and Colleges (SUC) that qualified in the top 20 Institutional Sustainability Performance; the digital governance performance, and the SUC leveling status nationwide. The top managers and their subordinates with doctorate of Bulacan State University and Bataan Peninsula State University whose programs have been consistently submitted to accreditation and were ranked Levels III and IV were subjected and participated to the study. This study assessed the top managers’ capacity to influence. The hypothesis in this study proved that leadership style of top managers has significant relationship to the managers’ capacity to influence for institutional sustainability performance. Thus, the subjects of this study were restricted only to the State Universities and Colleges (SUC) that qualified in the top 20 Institutional Sustainability Performance; the digital governance performance, and the SUC leveling status nationwide. The top managers and their subordinates with doctorate of Bulacan State University and Bataan Peninsula State University whose programs have been consistently submitted to accreditation and were ranked Levels III and IV were subjected and participated to the study.

Keywords: Capacity to Influence, Descriptive Design, Institutional Sustainability Performance, Management.

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47 Service Quality and Consumer Behavior on Metered Taxi Services

Authors: Nattapong Techarattanased

Abstract:

The purposes of this research are to make comparisons in respect of the behaviors on the use of the services of metered taxi classified by the demographic factor and to study the influence of the recognition on service quality having the effect on usage behaviors of metered taxi services of consumers in Bangkok Metropolitan Areas. The samples used in this research were 400 metered taxi service users in Bangkok Metropolitan Areas and questionnaire was used as the tool for collecting the data. Analysis statistics are mean and multiple regression analysis. Results of the research revealed that the consumers recognize the overall quality of services in each aspect include tangible aspects of the service, responses to customers, assurance on the confidence, understanding and knowing of customers which is rated at the moderate level except the aspect of the assurance on the confidence and trustworthiness which are rated at a high level. For the result of hypothetical test, it is found that the quality in providing the services on the aspect of the assurance given to the customers has the effect on the usage behaviors of metered taxi services and the aspect of the frequency on the use of the services per month which in this connection. Such variable can forecast at one point nine percent (1.9%). In addition, quality in providing the services and the aspect of the responses to customers have the effect on the behaviors on the use of metered taxi services on the aspect of the expenses on the use of services per month which in this connection, such variable can forecast at two point one percent (2.1%).

Keywords: Consumer behavior, metered taxi, satisfaction, service quality.

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46 A Study of Quality Assurance and Unit Verification Methods in Safety Critical Environment

Authors: Miklos Taliga

Abstract:

In the present case study we examined the development and testing methods of systems that contain safety-critical elements in different industrial fields. Consequentially, we observed the classical object-oriented development and testing environment, as both medical technology and automobile industry approaches the development of safety critical elements that way. Subsequently, we examined model-based development. We introduce the quality parameters that define development and testing. While taking modern agile methodology (scrum) into consideration, we examined whether and to what extent the methodologies we found fit into this environment.

Keywords: Safety-critical elements, quality management, unit verification, model base testing, agile methods, scrum, metamodel, object-oriented programming, field specific modelling, sprint, user story, UML Standard.

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45 Efficient and Timely Mutual Authentication Scheme for RFID Systems

Authors: Hesham A. El Zouka, Mustafa M. Hosni

Abstract:

The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has a diverse base of applications, but it is also prone to security threats. There are different types of security attacks which limit the range of the RFID applications. For example, deploying the RFID networks in insecure environments could make the RFID system vulnerable to many types of attacks such as spoofing attack, location traceability attack, physical attack and many more. Therefore, security is often an important requirement for RFID systems. In this paper, RFID mutual authentication protocol is implemented based on mobile agent technology and timestamp, which are used to provide strong authentication and integrity assurances to both the RFID readers and their corresponding RFID tags. The integration of mobile agent technology and timestamp provides promising results towards achieving this goal and towards reducing the security threats in RFID systems.

Keywords: RFID, security, authentication protocols, privacy, agent-based architecture, time-stamp, digital signature.

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44 Oily Sludge Bioremediation Pilot Plant Project, Nigeria

Authors: Ime R. Udotong, Justina I. R. Udotong, Ofonime U. M. John

Abstract:

Brass terminal, one of the several crude oil and petroleum products storage/handling facilities in the Niger Delta was built in the 1980s. Activities at this site, over the years, released crude oil into this 3 m-deep, 1500 m-long canal lying adjacent to the terminal with oil floating on it and its sediment heavily polluted. To ensure effective clean-up, three major activities were planned: site characterization, bioremediation pilot plant construction and testing and full-scale bioremediation of contaminated sediment / bank soil by land farming. The canal was delineated into 12 lots and each characterized, with reference to the floating oily phase, contaminated sediment and canal bank soil. As a result of site characterization, a pilot plant for on-site bioremediation was designed and a treatment basin constructed for carrying out pilot bioremediation test. Following a designed sampling protocol, samples from this pilot plant were collected for analysis at two laboratories as a quality assurance / quality control check. Results showed that Brass Canal upstream is contaminated with dark, thick and viscous oily film with characteristic hydrocarbon smell while downstream, thin oily film interspersed with water was observed. Sediments were observed to be dark with mixture of brownish sandy soil with TPH ranging from 17,800 mg/kg in Lot 1 to 88,500 mg/kg in Lot 12 samples. Brass Canal bank soil was observed to be sandy from ground surface to 3m, below ground surface (bgs) it was silty-sandy and brownish while subsurface soil (4-10m bgs) was sandy-clayey and whitish/grayish with typical hydrocarbon smell. Preliminary results obtained so far have been very promising but were proprietary. This project is considered, to the best of technical literature knowledge, the first large-scale on-site bioremediation project in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria.

Keywords: Bioremediation, Contaminated sediment, Land farming, Oily sludge, Oil Terminal.

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43 The Relationship between Democracy, Freedom, and Economic Development

Authors: Ugur Karakaya, Hasan Bulent Kantarcı

Abstract:

In this study, firstly democratic thoughts which directly or indirectly affect economic development and/or the interaction between authoritarian regimes and the economic development and the direction and channels of this interaction were studied and then the study tried to determine how democracy affects economic development. It was concluded that the positive contributions of democracy to economic development were more determinant than the effects that were either negative or restrictive in terms of development. When compared to autocracy, since democracy is more successful in managing social conflicts, ensuring political stability and preventing social disasters such as famine, it contributes more to economic development. Democracy also facilitates delegation of authority, provides a stable investment environment and accelerates mobilization of resources in accordance with economic growth/development. Democracy leads to an increase in human capital accumulation and increases the growth rate through reducing income inequality. It can be said that democratic regimes are the most appropriate ones in terms of increasing economic performance and supporting economic development through their strong institutional structures and the assurance they will ensure in property rights.

Keywords: Autocratic Regime, Democracy, Economic Development, Economic Freedom.

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42 Secure Mobile E-Business Applications

Authors: Hala A. Alrumaih

Abstract:

It is widely believed that mobile device is a promising technology for lending the opportunity for the third wave of electronic commerce. Mobile devices have changed the way companies do business. Many applications are under development or being incorporated into business processes. In this day, mobile applications are a vital component of any industry strategy.One of the greatest benefits of selling merchandise and providing services on a mobile application is that it widens a company’s customer base significantly.Mobile applications are accessible to interested customers across regional and international borders in different electronic business (e-business) area. But there is a dark side to this success story. The security risks associated with mobile devices and applications are very significant. This paper introduces a broad risk analysis for the various threats, vulnerabilities, and risks in mobile e-business applications and presents some important risk mitigation approaches. It reviews and compares two different frameworks for security assurance in mobile e-business applications. Based on the comparison, the paper suggests some recommendations for applications developers and business owners in mobile e-business application development process.

Keywords: E-business, Mobile Applications, Risk mitigations, Security assurance.

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41 A System for Analyzing and Eliciting Public Grievances Using Cache Enabled Big Data

Authors: P. Kaladevi, N. Giridharan

Abstract:

The system for analyzing and eliciting public grievances serves its main purpose to receive and process all sorts of complaints from the public and respond to users. Due to the more number of complaint data becomes big data which is difficult to store and process. The proposed system uses HDFS to store the big data and uses MapReduce to process the big data. The concept of cache was applied in the system to provide immediate response and timely action using big data analytics. Cache enabled big data increases the response time of the system. The unstructured data provided by the users are efficiently handled through map reduce algorithm. The processing of complaints takes place in the order of the hierarchy of the authority. The drawbacks of the traditional database system used in the existing system are set forth by our system by using Cache enabled Hadoop Distributed File System. MapReduce framework codes have the possible to leak the sensitive data through computation process. We propose a system that add noise to the output of the reduce phase to avoid signaling the presence of sensitive data. If the complaints are not processed in the ample time, then automatically it is forwarded to the higher authority. Hence it ensures assurance in processing. A copy of the filed complaint is sent as a digitally signed PDF document to the user mail id which serves as a proof. The system report serves to be an essential data while making important decisions based on legislation.

Keywords: Big Data, Hadoop, HDFS, Caching, MapReduce, web personalization, e-governance.

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40 Effectiveness of Software Quality Assurance in Offshore Development Enterprises in Sri Lanka

Authors: Malinda G. Sirisena

Abstract:

The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of software quality assurance approaches of Sri Lankan offshore software development organizations, and to propose a framework which could be used across all offshore software development organizations.

An empirical study was conducted using derived framework from popular software quality evaluation models. The research instrument employed was a questionnaire survey among thirty seven Sri Lankan registered offshore software development organizations.

The findings demonstrate a positive view of Effectiveness of Software Quality Assurance – the stronger predictors of Stability, Installability, Correctness, Testability and Changeability. The present study’s recommendations indicate a need for much emphasis on software quality assurance for the Sri Lankan offshore software development organizations.

Keywords: Software Quality Assurance (SQA), Offshore Software Development, Quality Assurance Evaluation Models, Effectiveness of Quality Assurance.

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39 Incessant Collapse of Buildings in Nigeria: The Possible Role of the Use of Inappropriate Cement Grade/Strength Class

Authors: Kazeem K. Adewole, Joy-Felicia O. Oladejo, Wasiu O. Ajagbe

Abstract:

The use of low quality concrete has been identified as one of the main causes of the incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria. Emphasis has been on the use of poor quality aggregates, poor workmanship and the use of lean concrete mix with low cement quantity as the reasons for the low quality of concrete used for building construction in Nigeria. Surveys conducted revealed that in the construction of most privately owned buildings where concrete trial mixes and concrete compressive strength quality assurance tests are not conducted, concretes used for building constructions are produced using the 1:2:4 mix ratio irrespective of the cement grade/strength class. In this paper, the possible role of the use of inappropriate cement grade/strength class as a cause of the incessant collapse of building in Nigeria is investigated. Investigation revealed that the compressive strengths of concrete cubes produced with Portland-limestone cement grade 32.5 using 1:2:4 and 1:1.5:3 mix ratios are less than the 25MPa and 30MPa cube strengths generally recommended for building superstructures and foundations respectively. Conversely, the compressive strengths of concrete cubes produced with Portland-limestone cement grade 42.5 using 1:2:4 and 1:1.5:3 mix ratios exceed the 25MPa and 30MPa generally recommended for building superstructures and foundations respectively. Thus, it can be concluded that the use of inappropriate cement grade (Portland-limestone cement grade 32.5), particularly for the construction of building foundations is a potential cause of the incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria. It is recommended that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria should embark on creating awareness for Nigerians, particularly, the home owners and the roadside craftsmen that Portland-limestone cement grade 32.5 should not be used for the construction of building load-carrying members, particularly, building foundations in order to reduce the incessant incidence of collapsed building.

Keywords: Cement grades, Concrete strength class, Collapsed building, Concrete mix ratio, Portland-limestone cement.

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38 Determinants of Service Quality on Thai Passengers’ Repeated Purchase of Domestic Flight Service with Thai Airways International

Authors: Nattapong Techarattanased

Abstract:

This research paper aimed to identify determinants of airline service quality on passengers’ repeated purchase of service. The population of this study was Thai passengers flying domestic flights with Thai Airways, making a total of 300 samples. These 300 samples participated in this research by answering a collection of questions by means of a questionnaire. An analysis of means score and multiple regression revealed that perceived service quality for tangible elements, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy had determined repeated purchase of flight service of the passengers at a high level. Moreover, reliability and responsiveness factors could predict the passengers’ repeated purchase of flight service at the percentage of 30.6. The findings gave a signal that Thai Airways may consider a development of route network and fleet strategy as well as an establishment of aircraft and seat qualification to meet passengers’ needs and requirements. Passengers’ level of satisfaction could also be maximized by offering service value through various kinds of special deals and programs, whereas value- added pricing strategy should be considered in order to differentiate from and beat other leading airline competitors.

Keywords: Service Quality, Repeated Purchase.

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