The Performance of Internal Quality Assurance of Community Learning Center during Covid-19 Outbreak
A community learning center (CLC) is a non-formal educational institution managed by individuals, organizations or communities to provide learning opportunities for each individual to develop and renew themselves and their community. CLC is a learning center that provides learning opportunities for community members according to their interests and needs (UNESCO 2016). To meet the learning needs of a diverse community both in type and level of urgency, CLC can organize various non-formal education programs such as life skills education, equality education, early childhood education, and community development. These educational programs are carried out by prioritizing the principles of learning that are flexible, participatory, experience or life-oriented, applicative, and use of available resources effectively and efficiently.
The existence of this institution is recognized as beneficial to people's lives in various aspects of life. The positive contribution of this institution is shown by the information that CLC can provide education and training programs for community members, carry out and develop academic skills in youth, develop digital abilities of community members, carry out religious education, and empower women and the elderly (Bun et al., 2022; Afterschool Alliance, 2021; Thongdee et al., 2022; Muzzi, Gallagher, and Zoblotsky 2021; Noguchi et al., 2015).
CLC's performance in providing high-quality education services for the community needs to be maintained and improved, namely by carrying out the internal quality assurance function both in normal situations and even during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this internal quality assurance function played an important role in the management of the institution, so it had to be implemented so that the institution could adapt to changes in the environment. It has been widely understood that the pandemic can jeopardize the IQA function at CLCs. Nevertheless, quality assurance must be maintained and managed to ensure stakeholder satisfaction (Cirlan & Loukkola, 2021; Cardoso et al., 2017; Crozier &
Abdullah, 2020) since its function is very urgent to ensure educational services' implementation, effectiveness, and meaningfulness (Cardoso et al. 2017). In addition, several research findings show that IQA has a positive impact, such as increasing innovation (Horn & Dunagan, 2018), increasing the positive perception of students and educators (Wilson, 2019), increasing cooperation between educators and learners (Inan, 2021; Ezenwaji et al., 2019), and establishing accountability (Anwar et al., 2020; Mourad, 2017).
The existence of a well-executed internal assurance process at CLC demonstrates that the institution, which is managed according to the principles of community-based education, can continue to exist, grow, and even attain the performance of well-known institutions in the community. CLC quality assurance must be developed for all aspects of the institution, including curriculum, learning process, assessment, administration, education and education personnel, partnerships, funding, and educational facilities and infrastructure (Regulation of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, 2021). CLC should ideally conduct internal quality assurance independently, routinely, holistically, and sustainably so that all parties within and outside the organization share the same perspective on the significance of satisfying education customers, acting with awareness, honesty, and discipline, demonstrating commitment in carrying out their duties and functions, and desiring to be held accountable for what they do. Internal quality assurance also enables institutions to avoid various forms of abuse in the use of resources and authority that cause material and immaterial damage to the institution.
Regarding the development of non-formal education in Indonesia, it appears that CLC's internal quality assurance has not been implemented optimally. This is evidenced by the application of quality assurance measures is dominant in the concern and even the responsibility of external parties such as the education office, BAN PAUD, and PNF at the district, provincial, and national levels in the form of an accreditation process. Moreover, it can be seen from the statistics that in 2019, accredited CLCs reached 1,181, including 33 accredited A institutions, 627 accredited B institutions, 508 accredited C institutions, and 33 non-accredited (TT) CLCs (National Accreditation Board for Early Children Education and Non-formal Education., 2019). Thus, it can be said that most CLCs still need to improve their IQA capabilities. The results of the researchers' preliminary observations on several CLCs show that the institutions likely do not have an excellent ability to carry out this function. For example, they do not have an institutional development plan, and the document filling is somewhat unacceptable.
Several research findings of previous investigations also reinforce such a phenomenon. Therefore, CLC quality assurance has been carried out to meet the achievement of quality standards for the accreditation of institutions set by the government, both in planning, implementing, and evaluating management standards (Abdillah et al., 2018; Mahmud et al., 2018). Besides, CLC's Internal Quality Assurance focus has not been thoroughly investigated by the researchers the most research put forward CLC program management and learning (Tohani & Aulia, 2022; Eddy & Suryono, 2019; Saepudin et al., 2020; Nurhayati et al., 2021), development of personnel quality (Saepudin et al., 2020; Coles-Ritchie et al., 2019; Fauziah et al., 2021), and the benefits of CLC in society (Darlan, 2017; Irmawati, 2017; Rahma et al., 2019; Chotim, 2021).
Based on the above explanation, it is necessary to research to understand how administrators implement CLC Internal Quality Assurance in providing non-formal educational services for the community, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak. It is expected that this research can contribute by offering crucial information for enhancing the quality and capability of internal quality management administrators, allowing them to grow CLC with greater professionalism and continue to adapt to shifting environmental or community demands.
Community-based education can be defined as an educational process designed to maximize the development of the abilities or potential of individuals, organizations, or communities through the use of existing resources and community participation. This educational concept views society or target groups are active subjects who have aspirations, needs, and awareness to develop to improve their quality of life both in the aspects of social, cultural, economic, and political life. (Irma Solikhah & Purnomo, 2021; Anwar et al., 2020; Weinronk et al., 2018; Suseela et al. 2022). Society is viewed as an entity capable of identifying opportunities, problems, and solutions in order to develop itself and its environment. This implies that it is possible for the community to empower itself by consciously comprehending its educational requirements, planning educational activities, and implementing education in accordance with its capacity to develop optimally in tandem with societal changes.
Community-based education places emphasis on community involvement in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of education (Zulkarnain and Zubaedi, 2021; Abdul Aziz et al., 2023). Community involvement can take the form of physical, material, financial, mental, and even educational energy. This community involvement determines the success of achieving educational objectives, increasing organizational effectiveness, enhancing educational accountability, and fostering more productive relationships among education stakeholders (Krupar & Prins, 2016; Hovdhaugen & Opheim, 2018).
This characteristic of such education is manifested as an open learning process, accessible to anyone who needs educational services, educational services delivered to students are directly related to their lives, the educational process is deemed valuable if it meets the needs of students, student learning outcomes must be directed to the benefit of the market (market-oriented) or can be directly applied to life, and the learning process is conducted in a flexible manner. Furthermore, Galbraith (1995) describes in greater detail the characteristics of this type of education, which include self-determination, self-help, leadership development, localization, integrated service delivery, reduced duplication of service, acceptance of diversity, institutional responsiveness, and lifelong learning (Tohani 2018).
The program of community-based education varies according to the problems and goals of fostering economic, social, and cultural competence in the community. The educational programs implemented in the field of economics are increasing entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, and employee work productivity. In the social realm, this type of education can be geared toward enhancing the capabilities of information and communication technology for marginalized communities, addressing disasters, resolving conflicts, and preventing disease outbreaks, among other things. In the political realm, this education program can be implemented through political cadre education, multicultural education, and education for prospective legislative electors. Various stakeholders, such as universities, community organizations, companies, individuals, communities, and the government, can implement these educational programs.
Impact of Covid-19 on Education
As dynamic educational organizations, CLCs face the issue of transforming the educational environment on a macro scale, i.e., the macro education system. The change on this scale is either a natural or artificial disaster that hinders the institution's educational objectives. A disaster at this point can be seen as an event that causes humans to suffer structural damage either caused by natural forces or natural disasters such as floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, and human actions such as social conflicts, wars, technological failures, and terrorism crimes (Rodríguez, Donner, and Trainor 2018). Disasters cause impacts on people's lives, such as loss of property, starvation, disease, and even death. However, even in the aftermath of a disaster, a positive impact is sometimes present.
The disaster that has been happening around the world is the Covid-19 outbreak caused by the spread of the Covid-19 virus that has infected humans since it was discovered in Wuhan, China. Especially in Indonesia, the outbreak began to occur massively around March 2020. This outbreak has caused various health, economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts. Similarly, this outbreak has had a detrimental impact on the educational dimension. UNICEF et al. (2020) state that this outbreak has led to lost learning opportunities for students and adults lacking literacy learning opportunities and increased education financing. This disaster also affects children's high-level thinking ability, and lack of learning facilities and difficulties for parents (Osborne, 2022; Graumann, 2020). However, the positive impact of this outbreak is probably the rise of behavior and knowledge to protect one's health and the environment, as well as educational initiatives that aim to increase people's capacity to carry on working throughout the outbreak. With the growth of internet-based learning or e-learning, there is also a major rise in information and communication technology literacy across a range of industries, including education.
For CLCs as educational organizations, this adversity requires the establishments to have strong resilience by using financial, social, and technical resources to adapt, anticipate, or elastically to changes and irregularities (Tengblad & Oudhuis, 2018; Duchek, 2020; Wolor, Dania, Suherdi, Nurkhin, & Ardiansyah, 2022). Being able to respond to disasters by taking action before an event occurs, building stronger and safer communities, assisting in understanding the current level of exposure and the potential effects of adverse events, and assisting organizations or communities in taking responsibility for disaster risk on their own are just a few of the reasons why this resilience is necessary. These latter ones make it possible to assess an organization's or community's ability to deal with negative effects and where development is required while also encouraging an independent streak, helpful conduct, and advancement, as well as intergroup collaboration. In addition, resilience ensures that the organization becomes sustainable, having the ability to redundancy, flexibility, learning capacity, and reorganization.
Community Learning Centre
A community Learning Centre (CLC) is defined as a place of learning outside the formal education system, whether in rural areas or in other places, usually built and managed by the local community to provide various learning opportunities for community development and improvement of quality of life (UNESCO 2011) for the benefit of learning citizens, families, and communities. This educational institution is founded by, from, and for the community or is the embodiment of an educational institution based on community-based education (Jalal and Supriadi 2001). Although many CLCs generally depend on government assistance and funding at the beginning of the establishment, it is expected that most CLCs will grow independently in the long run.
UNESCO (2003) states that the existence of CLCs in society, whether initiated by the government, private community institutions (NGOs), or the community itself, is expected in their development to become a learning center (center) for every citizen (www.unesco.org). As a center, every citizen, without exception, can use it to improve the quality of their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior through the learning process at CLCs. Likewise, Mustofa (2006) adds that the existence of CLCs is intended to shape the behavior of community members to actively learn continuously to become self-reliant, improve their quality of life, and contribute to the development of their society.
CLCs are systematically formed to be learning centers for citizens needing self-development, work skills, and social roles. As a learning center, various non-formal education programs are organized by CLCs, such as primary literacy education, life skills education, self-development, leisure education, parental education, literacy education, youth education, and community empowerment programs. Moreover, it can be argued that the purpose of the founding of the CLCs was to make citizens successful in diverse contexts (Smith, 2005). Therefore, it can be concluded that there are opportunities provided by CLCs in the form of continuous learning opportunities to solve various problems faced. Through the learning process, understanding problems, finding solutions to solve problems, and subsequently acting can be used to overcome the problems and make good citizens, responsible workers, independent learners, and become creative and innovative individuals. In the long run, through CLCs, individuals who like to learn are created who influence and make their community environment into a learning society.
Internal Quality Assurance
Quality is defined as the totality of features and characteristics of products and services that can satisfy consumer needs (Goetsch & Davis, 2016; Hardjono & van Kemenade, 2021; Charantimath, 2011; Dinh et al., 2021). According to Tricker (2021), quality is a standard that both suppliers and customers can accept; providing complete satisfaction to customers, consistently complying with agreed levels of specifications; providing products and services at an acceptable cost; providing products and services that have auditable evidence that they are fit for purpose. In simpler words, a product or service has good quality when the product/service meets consumer needs.
In education, quality is generally perceived as a) the idea of making things better; b) an optimistic attitude seeking progress; c) seeking excellence in every part of the system; d) a motivational system that values achievement and favorable policies regarding the curriculum and other areas of education, including behavior; e) pride generation; f) continuous appreciation of staff offering helpful feedback; and g) staff encouragement to develop capabilities and methodologies intended to improve the quality of teaching. Furthermore, as a form of service, the quality of education has such dimensions as a) the quality of consumer service indicates the ability of service to satisfy consumers, such as how well the customer is received, how well the implied requirements are explained, and how well the customer is treated/satisfied, b) the quality of service design describing how the service is designed to meet consumer needs, and c) the quality of delivery (quality of design) emphasizing the process of delivering services to consumers (Ramasamy, 2012; Russ et al. 2022).
For the quality of educational services to be guaranteed, CLCs must carry out Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) that describes the existence of awareness and quality culture in CLC institutions. Quality assurance is the collection of all planned and systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product, process, or service will meet the quality requirements (Ramasamy 2012). Quality assurance is a declaration to inspire confidence that a product or service has reached the highest standards and that production, installation, modification, and repair have been completed efficiently and promptly. IQA aims to assure customers that the quality of the product/service is at the highest level, all products and produced services meet a certain fixed level of minimum specifications, and ensure that production and service standards are carried out uniformly and constantly despite personnel changes. This activity seeks to know and improve the quality of educational institutions' methods, products, and outcomes, including developing and producing teaching materials, academic programs, services and support, and student learning standards.
Moreover, the implementation of the IQA processed by CLCs is expected to provide benefits for interested parties. For students, families, or other users, quality can be according to needs, trusted, available when needed, and can be maintained. For human resources in the organization, improve performance, create a better work environment, improve health and security, and boost morale. For the community, great quality can meet legal regulations, improve safety and health, and reduce environmental impact. Latchem (2012), at this point, adds that quality assurance in non-formal education becomes an effort to systematically monitor and evaluate various aspects of a system, project, or program to maximize the possibility of standards achieved for specific performance indicators.
With this function, it is expected that non-formal education will gain excellence, consistency, fitness for purpose, value for money, and transformation. Furthermore, he put forward in detail the non-formal education performance indicators summarized in a) input aspects, including policy and planning, educational programs, human resources, students, technology and infrastructure, funding, partnership relationships, and quality assurance; b) aspects of learning, and c) aspects of outputs include outputs in students, in the implementation of learning programs, and society, and d) aspects of outcomes consisting of outcomes in students, in learning programs, and society.
CLCs usually carry out the IQA process in line with its capacity as a form of independence in managing non-formal education. IQA can be carried out by employing quality assurance instruments known as the Demings concept, namely the PDCA cycle based on the problem-solving process (Savsar 2012). The concept covers (1) planning, changes or tests aimed at improvement, (2) Do, carrying out changes or tests preferably on a small scale, (3) Studying/Check, answering questions of “what do we learn?” and “What went wrong?”, and (4) Act, adopting the change, abandoning it, or rerunning the cycle. Meanwhile, Juran (2008) revealed ten steps in improving quality, including (1) building awareness of the need and opportunity for improvement, (2) setting goals for improvement, (3) organizing to reach the goals, (4) providing training throughout the organization, (5) carrying out projects to solve problems, (6) reporting progress, (7) giving recognition, (8) communicating results, (9) keeping score, and (10) maintaining momentum by making annual improvement part of the regular systems and processes of the company (Pitt, 2014).
IQA is impacted by various factors that make up the quality of services, including consumer needs, financial resources, personnel, facilities, instructions, and specification statements (Fox, 1993; Yuzkiv et al., 2022). A more detailed opinion was expressed by UNESCO (2018) in Martin (2018) that quality assurance is influenced by external factors that include accreditation requirements, government policies regarding quality management, development of educational image, and international aspirations regarding education, and internal factors including leadership support, staff participation, student participation, clarity of quality management benefits, clear procedures, availability of information, incentives for staff, and technically qualified staff, and the involvement of both departments in distributing quality management responsibilities.
The success of CLC's IQA implementation, however, is primarily determined by how competent the CLC administrators are. CLC management must be able to plan, organize, motivate, and control the implementation of quality management. In this case, they must have the skills of a quality administrator, which includes supporting strong quality governance, being able to work effectively in complex systems, developing a balance of rules-based and proactive approaches to quality, developing strategic quality plans, and creating impact and improving outcomes through continuous system change.
This study was an explanatory sequential mixed methods design (Creswell 2015). It was conducted on all CLCs in Yogyakarta, both in rural and urban areas. The selection of CLCs in Yogyakarta was determined by considering the level of distribution, activeness, and progress of CLCs stated by official government agencies, namely the Yogyakarta Provincial Education and Culture Office and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The study invited administrators in all CLCs in Yogyakarta. The determination of respondents was carried out by purposive sample.
The qualitative data was collected through interviews, observations, and focus group discussions with CLC administrators. In addition, data collection through questionnaires was carried out to determine the performance of CLC's Internal Quality Assurance, which focused on aspects of inputs, outputs, outcomes, and the impact of CLC's Internal Quality Assurance (Latchem 2012). The compiled questionnaire had 128 questions. Questionnaires were delivered to administrators through the online system. In addition, qualitative data such as the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on CLC's IQA, efforts to adapt to the Covid-19 outbreak, the form of CLC IQA performance development, factors affecting CLC IQA performance, the learning process in improving the IQA function. Furthermore, the needs of CLC IQA performance development were collected by interviewing purposively selected CLC administrators, making observations to the three CLCs in Yogyakarta, being purposively selected, and conducting focus group discussions at the same time with ten administrators involved in the management of the CLC forum for Yogyakarta.
The data analysis was carried out by examining quantitative data obtained from the questionnaire. Firstly, the questionnaire data were analyzed through descriptive quantitative data analysis techniques using SPSS software version 27. After obtaining conclusions from the questionnaire data, then the qualitative data were analyzed with qualitative data analysis techniques (Miles, Huberman, and Saldaña 2014) by investigating all data collected from interviews, observations, and focus group discussions. Those data were studied, searched for appropriateness, and grouped or categorized according to the themes found related to IQA management. Furthermore, the data was presented in the form of preliminary conclusion notes to facilitate the meaning process. Finally, conclusions to deepen the findings of quantitative data analysis were drawn.
The validity of the questionnaire was examined by soliciting the opinion of experts in non-formal education and education quality management. The triangulation was performed by verifying the validity of the gathered data, i.e., by comparing data from interviews with observations or documentation and verifying data based on informant sources who offer data. In addition, the participants were asked to affirm or approve the qualitative data collected.
The results of research on the performance of IQA carried out by CLCs are stated in terms of every aspect and aggregation of internal quality assurance. First of all, in the input variable, the analysis results show a mean of 261.6, a mode of 281, a median of 260, and a standard deviation of 32. Table 1 presents the information on IQA performance on the input variable that is in the high category for 25 institutions (69.4%) and the medium category for 11 institutions (30.6%).
|Frequency||Percent||Valid Percent||Cumulative Percent|
Detailed results of the analysis of each indicator of input variables are displayed in the following figure.
In the outcome variable, the scores for mean, mode, median, and standard deviation are 31.5, 30, 30, and 4.8, consecutively. The figure above shows that the implementation of IQA in the output variable or aspect gained a high category (63.9%) and a medium category (36.9%). Furthermore, based on the aspects, all output indicators are in the high category, both in the indicators of students, learning, and community. However, the student aspect in the output indicator is the lowest (66.7) compared to the learning and community indicators. In addition, it shows that IQA outcomes should be able to optimize the various potentials of students with their characteristics and guarantee all students benefit from the IQA process.
The result of the assessment of the impact variable shows that the mean is 49.6, the mode value is 48, the median value is 49, and the standard deviation is 4.8. Based on this analysis, the IQA impact variable is in the high (69.4%) and moderate (30.6%) categories. Based on the above graph, the impact on learners, learning, and community indicators belong to the high category. However, it can be seen that CLC's internal quality assurance still needs to be improved in terms of benefit indicators to the community.
Aggregately, CLC's IQA performance is set out in Figure 5. Based on the figure, it is clear that in IQA, 61.1% CLCs are in the high category, meaning that most CLC administrators have carried out an IQA process following the conditions of their institutions.
To supplement the quantitative data presented in the figures above regarding the performance of CLC's internal quality assurance, researchers collected qualitative data through interviews, observation, and focus groups. The results of qualitative data analysis are presented as follows.
Qualitatively, it is evident that CLC administrators have carried out IQA during the Covid-19 outbreak. However, IQA management is more likely carried out by CLCs related to aspects of educational services and management of funds obtained independently. For example, in the learning aspect, CLCs have developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) related to student admission, learning implementation, and evaluation. On the financial aspect, CLCs have procedures for managing funds obtained independently and for funds sourced from the government, such as education operational assistance and grants. This was stated by one of the FGD participants, namely Muh as the head of the CLC forum that:
“…selama ini penjaminan mutu kami dilakukan jika menghadapi akreditasi, dibimbing, ada pengarahan, menggunakan panduan dari Kementerian... kami hanya mempersiapkan mekanisme pembelajaran, keuangan menggunakan aturan penggunaan keuangan...(...so far our quality assurance has been carried out for accreditation, mentoring, and directing purposes and these have been done by following the guidelines from the ministry... we only prepare learning mechanisms, while for observing finance, we use the applicable rules...)”
According to him, CLC administrators plan, manage, and use funding accordingly based on the Ministry of Finance guidelines. The same thing was expressed by Mun, who saw that the financial management process was carried out at the direction of the district, provincial or central education offices for regional or national school operational funding assistance. In addition, CLCs do not have guidelines or standards in other aspects, such as the management of facilities and infrastructure, the management of partnerships, and so on. It indicates that the CLC management has not implemented IQA in an integrated and comprehensive manner concerning its functions, such as managing collaboration, facilities, etc.
Another thing to note is that the implementation of CLC's internal quality assurance cannot be separated from the quality management capabilities of CLC managers, where the formation of this competency occurs in various ways. The formation of this IQM can be carried out through several stages. Firstly, the administrators carry out knowledge-sharing activities involving administrators who understand more about IQA acts to teach or give explanations to those who do not understand, for example, related to learning using the online mode with Google Meet, Zoom, and WhatsApp. This process occurs in various learning opportunities, such as informal visits to advanced CLCs, training forums, and coordination forums between fellow administrators. Secondly, the administrators can utilize various sources of knowledge such as the Internet, journal articles, and references regarding IQA implemented by other institutions. Thirdly, administrators learn how to do IQA by participating in various CLC management capacity-building activities from external parties, especially the District/City Education Office, Provincial Education Office, and Ministry of Education and Culture, whose programs are intended to assist and strengthen CLC in the management of essential educational data management, SIM-based data management, CLC accreditation assistance, curriculum development workshops, and learning media development training. Lastly, the administrators act as participants in activities organized by external parties. External parties can see this third method as a systematic effort to improve the quality of non-formal education while at the same time giving attention to the management of CLC in particular.
The qualitative data also suggest that the implementation of IQA during the Covid-19 crisis experienced several obstacles that affected its accomplishment of goals. First, the limited ability of human resources, especially senior educators and education personnel, has difficulty keeping up with changes in the learning system when online learning occurs during an outbreak. They are not proficient in using ICT-based applications or learning tools between the use of Zoom, Google Meet, and YouTube, and sometimes they find online learning very tiring compared to classical face-to-face learning. Second, there are CLCs that have difficulty accessing the internet network, causing the learning process and administrative management to be constrained. Third, in the online learning process, the limitations of learning devices such as cell phones and laptops and the availability of internet data quotas are experienced by many students, making it difficult for their students to follow the learning process. Fourth, the administrator feels that funding for IQA is poorly supported, so its implementation is still not a priority for the institution. The administrator also applies the IQA function while carrying out other tasks that fall within their responsibility. It indicates that there hasn't been a systematic, planned, and supported approach to handling IQA with resources and staff.
Internal Quality Assurance has become a critical aspect in managing the community learning centers (CLCs) to provide quality educational services for the community or residents. The results of this study show that the implementation of CLC IQA management, especially learning management, has been carried out, which is indicated by performance achievements as perceived by the administrators. As revealed, all IQA variables were studied to gain a high category meaning that IQA in this educational institution has been implemented to ensure that the implementation of learning and management of non-formal education programs runs efficiently, effectively, and accountably. This is in line with the idea that educational institutions must implement quality assurance to optimally meet the community's educational needs (Sharabati, Alhileh, and Abusaimeh, 2019; Alzafari and Ursin, 2019; Kadhila and Iipumbu, 2019; Noda et al. 2021). This function in the CLC institution, hence, demonstrates the existence of a process to develop non-formal educational services that can meet the learning needs of community residents.
Considering the aspects of quality assurance, the internal quality assurance carried out by CLC has not met other aspects of CLC institutional management, such as funding, partnerships, educators, cooperation, etc. Such finding suggests that there is a need for more holistic IQA to be implemented at CLCs as non-formal educational institutions, covering both institutional and student support, evaluation and assessment, use of technology, planning for program development, learning products and services (Vlachopoulos 2016). This means that CLC, as a non-formal educational institution that is expected to provide substantial community benefits, should engage in comprehensive quality assurance activities, beginning with the institution's setting of educational standards, the implementation of standard educational compliance, the monitoring and checking of standard educational compliance, and the improvement of standards and/or independent educational criteria (Goetsh & Davis, 2016; Luthra et al., 2020). The IQA should be implemented legally, procedurally, consistently, and with adequate financial, human, and physical resources. This process can be used by CLC to evaluate the achievement of the following standards: a) educational input components, which include students, educators and staff, curriculum, learning processes, funding, facilities and infrastructure, management, etc., b) educational processes that emphasize how the learning process and institutional management are carried out, and c) output components that emphasize students' mastery of values, knowledge, and skills, and the efficiency and effectiveness of institutional management. To carry out this quality assurance, CLC management has to take it seriously by promoting a quality culture and acting in a manner that best serves customers, as well as by devising valid and meaningful quality assurance instruments (Do, Le, and Giang, 2020; Stalmeijer et al., 2022).
Furthermore, the results of the study indicate that both internal and external factors influence CLC's implementation of IQA. Internal factors generally result in implementing CLC Internal Quality Assurance in the form of management awareness, despite the fact that it is still confined to learning management issues. Furthermore, there is communication between CLC managers to share experiences and learn together about institutional quality assurance. Sharing has been carried out on various occasions, such as coordination activities of the CLC forum and comparative studies. In the process of comparative studies, developed CLCs usually act as a model for underdeveloped CLCs to learn based on the principle of mutual knowledge and togetherness. The existence of awareness and sharing likely demonstrates that administrators carry out the learning process to improve the ability of migrant workers by looking for learning resources in their environment. The learning process is expected to provide direct benefits to improving the organization's effectiveness. It shows that the learning process through the experience of others (social learning) also occurs in CLC administrators to be imitated and applied in their daily activities in managing the organization. In organizational management, this learning can develop the organization to be more effective and have higher competitiveness.
On the other hand, external factors also impact IQA's ability to manage CLCs, manifesting as facilitation and direction from external parties (Cardoso et al., 2017), particularly the education office through non-formal education like BAN PAUD and PNF. The findings show that this activity has been carried out on CLCs in the form of assistance, guidance from non-formal educational supervisors, ease of licensing, and technical guidance on CLC accreditation preparation. The substantial contribution of the educational office shows the serious attention of the government to improve the quality of education services, the implementation of the coaching function, and the real CLCs become an institution included in the management affairs of the educational office. In other words, it is possible to develop IQA performance by educational institutions with the help, support, and facilitation of external parties considering the readiness and availability of different institutions in human resources, facilities, funding, and partner support.
The contribution of external parties is undeniably needed by CLCs, especially for institutions that are still in the growing stage of managing educational services. The educational office consists of heads of non-formal education, supervisors, overseers, and even other institutions, which need to be optimal in equipping knowledge and skills on how to implement IQA effectively and effectively for administrators continuously. This assistance must undoubtedly be conducted by prioritizing the belief that CLCs are dynamic institutions capable of carrying out quality assurance. Therefore, the approach of giving assistance is not directed at CLC's demands to conduct IQA expected by external parties. However, the pattern of mentoring is carried out by building the awareness and readiness of the institution in advance, not carried out in a hurry, and supported by a harmonious interaction process.
Developing the capability of managers to conduct internal quality assurance is also crucial in light of the research's findings. This study would propose that there is a need to develop quality management capabilities for CLCs as indicated by the lack of comprehensive IQA carried out in all aspects and function management of institutions. It means that administrators' ability needs to be improved through a good educational approach in mentoring, learning, training, and developing their competencies in planning, organizing, implementing, supervising and monitoring, assessing, and improving quality (Greere, 2022). This competency improvement is required for non-formal educational institutions to understand how strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and environmental challenges affect the institution's performance and how these can be optimized to win any competition in obtaining resources to achieve educational goals. The consequence is that quality improvement can be made using a learning approach dotted with administrators' experience carrying out tasks and functions for IQA. In this regard, situated learning (Wenger 1998) can be used to increase IQA performance because the administrators have been carrying out the improvement of IQA capabilities by learning or sharing about the implementation of institutional management, including the quality assurance process and IQA experience that can become a rich source of learning. This learning can be done to improve their IQA performance which can be directly applied in daily CLC management to stimulate independent learning and enable learning to be carried out by all administrators. Furthermore, situated learning can be applied by developing a learning platform like a learning management system (LMSs). Through this online learning, these administrators can independently manage the learning process to make the learning process flexible and feasible.
The development of IQA management needs, therefore, to be supported by policies at the CLC organizational level (Eshun, Dampson, and Dzakadzie 2020). Quality assurance policies can direct each individual, including managers, educators, students, and other parties, to understand the quality management objectives set by the institution and motivate them to be able to realize them according to their roles and functions in the institution. Policies can be in the form of CLCs making changes in the implementation of institutional management functions by holding an IQA implementation function accompanied by the placement of personnel mastering the IQA. CLCs can independently build awareness, a culture of quality that departs from the needs and create independent capabilities of the institution. Thus, an adequate resource management policy implemented can be presented to ensure the implementation of the IQA function in CLCs by providing sufficient funding, using supportive facilities, creating a quality-conscious culture, and developing a culture of togetherness among fellow personnel and other parties involved in the management of CLCs.
The development of IQA performance in managing CLC should be carried out with a scientific approach oriented towards creating pragmatic solutions to overcome educational problems. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a study that provides an innovative treatment in the form of either experimental research, follow-up research, or research development based on the absolute need to improve this ability. For example, increasing the competence in (1) preparing, implementing, evaluating, and improving quality standards, (2) managing quality assurance data, (3) processing quality assurance resources, and (4) using ICT in quality assurance. The scientific method is implemented to the greatest extent feasible by emphasizing the active participation of the CLC administrators in the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating relevant development initiatives.
Based on the findings and discussion, during the plague, community learning centers (CLCs) in the researched setting have implemented Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) as a non-formal educational institution with a strategic function in community empowerment. It is indicated by the achievement of performance, which is aggregately in the high category for the investigated variables, namely input, output, outcome, and impact. This information provides insight into the process of ensuring optimal implementation of learning and institutional management with the available capabilities of the institution. The existence of such efforts indicates that an organized educational process, in line with the institutional policies or agreements, needs to be continuously developed and improved to meet the needs of interested parties in CLC effectively. Additionally, CLC strives to fulfill its responsibilities and functions as a non-formal educational institution by avoiding any actions that may be detrimental or conflicting with applicable norms and organizational objectives, which could negatively impact public participation and trust. Moreover, the implementation of this internal quality assurance demonstrates the educational institution's ability to anticipate and adapt to rapid societal changes across various aspects of life, with the aim of becoming a sought-after and widely accepted educational institution by the public.
The implementation of IQA cannot be separated from the administrators’ view that the function of IQA is essential in ensuring the implementation of educational services following the needs of students and the community. The quality assurance work of CLC institutions continuously increases, and in this context, an objective understanding of the need for developing CLC’s internal quality management capabilities must be reviewed by administrators of this non-formal educational institution. It is imperative for them to acknowledge that the necessity for internal assurance development encompasses multiple aspects of education management and learning conducted by institutions. Additionally, the execution of this function should be conducted autonomously and with the necessary backing of resources, including facilities and funding. As a fundamental basis in quality assurance, administrators must build strong quality awareness and strive to improve this quality by developing learning to increase IQA capacity independently and by participating in empowerment activities by other parties. In addition, the implementation of quality assurance is highly dependent on the joint commitment of the parties involved, both internal and external, to the institution. Administrators, educators, and members of the education committee must embrace commitment, real responsibility, and a readiness to learn as guiding principles to enable the successful implementation of IQA. In addition, all internal and external stakeholders and non-formal educational institutions must build and develop leadership and an open culture to enhance educational institutions’ performance.
Acknowledgement Statement: Thank you to the Chancellor and Head of the Yogyakarta State University Research and Community Service Institute for facilitating research funding in the form of grants for research in 2022.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
Author contribution statements: Entoh Tohani had a role in this study as the person in charge of the activities, developing research conceptual, developing instruments, collecting, and analyzing data, reporting research results, and writing research articles. Iis Prasetyo contributed to developing research conceptual, developing instruments, collecting, and analyzing data, reporting research results, and writing and editing research articles. Lutfi Wibawa contributed to developing research conceptual, developing instruments, collecting, and analyzing data, reporting research results, and writing research articles.
Funding: The research was funded by a research grant from Yogyakarta State University with contract number: T/2.62/UN/34.21/PT.01.03/2022.
Ethical Consideration statement: Not applicable. This study did not involve human and animal studies.
Data Availability Statement: Quantitative data were obtained through online questionnaires, and qualitative data were obtained through interviews, FGDs, and direct observations of research informants.
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