Higher education landscape is continuously changing; more so in the Islamic world in the recent decades. It is being influenced by factors ranging from culture, economics, politics to technology. The university as an institution is usually entrenched quite deep in the society. Its vision, mission, autonomy, the quality of stakeholders’ participation, availability and use of human and financial resources, priority in teaching and research, emphasis on entrepreneurship and commercialization, and so forth raises expectations for its intended role as well as place it under the vigil of public scrutiny. A role model university in the 21st century carries significance for ensuring innovative, inclusive and progressive development of individuals, nation states, regions and the world society, at large.
Knowledge creation, dissemination and its diffusion is central in promoting knowledge-based socio-economic growth. Staffed with experts, the university is better placed to cope with newer challenges and help in re-aligning the multifarious societal institutions in allowing them accomplish their intended yet ever demanding roles.
The rapid pace of globalization advances economic and social reforms. Together with this, the technological advancement is creating dramatic shifts in the structure of markets throughout the world. Being one of the key custodians of societal aspirations, the higher education as an institution needs to contribute in the creation of indigenous capacity for science and technology driven economic progress. The shift from largely domestic activities to more complex international relationships demands crafting and implementing policies that seek to integrate science and technology into economic strategies.
Quality assurance in higher education while ensuring the quality itself, provides basis for public accountability as well as the much needed equivalence standards in the era of globalization. Quality assurance is though not secular. It creates tensions and conflicts; the ones among the explosion, fragmentation and stabilizing demand, equal access and opportunity, institutional autonomy and so forth. The cross border emulation needs adaptation to honor sensitivity to the cultural and social norms.