Politeknik Kota Bharu (PKB), which is under the purview of the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (DPCCE), Ministry of Education, Malaysia, has successfully undergone reevaluation by the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) on November 17-20, 2020. The PKB officials and staff, DPCCE management, and APACC team members and representatives attended the online activity. Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, Lead Accreditor of the APACC Team, spearheaded the institutional evaluation of PKB, along with Member Accreditor Engr. Sanyog Bhattarai and Documentation Officer Mr. Jan Michael Marasigan.

PKB has applied for APACC reaccreditation and has made history in becoming the very first APACC-accredited institution to undergo and successfully implement the evaluation online, which was recently launched by APACC in response to the COVID-19 crisis. APACC usually conducts on-site visits for its institutional evaluation; however, due to the global impact and limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, APACC has pivoted to online evaluation as an alternative.

The DPCCE Director of Governance and Excellence Division, Tn. Haji Mohd Nasir bin Abd Ghani, officially commenced the three-day online activity with his opening remarks wherein he welcomed the shift of accreditation bodies towards an online platform as a solution to address the safety concerns and travel restrictions that the current situation has posed. He also pointed out that although there were some challenges in logistics and connectivity encountered during the preparations which might also happen during the evaluation proper, he is still hopeful for a successful assessment. Further, he extended his gratitude to the PKB team who exerted additional effort and patience to prepare for the activity by conducting numerous testing and mock auditing. He then emphasized that “conforming to quality should be the goal of it all, and standard must not be lowered and standard must stand the test of time.”

This was followed with the briefing by Mr. Kamaludin Bin Daud, Director of PKB, who formally welcomed the APACC Team wherein he gave a background on the institution and introduced the committed teams of PKB staff who were in charge of the accreditation preparation.

Engr. Sanyog Bhattarai, Member Accreditor, in his special message, has briefly set the expectations for the activity and expressed his confidence that despite conducting the online evaluation for the very first time, it will be rather enjoyable as well as fruitful. Afterwards, Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, Lead Accreditor, gave his appreciation to PKB for having a strong desire and applying for reaccreditation despite the pandemic and that it goes to show how quality-driven PKB is.

Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane, APACC President, in his inaugural speech, quoted Aristotle’s wisdom, “Quality is not an act. It is a habit.” He mentioned that he hoped PKB has developed their good habit to demonstrate quality TVET in the Malaysian TVET system. He also stated the importance of the reaccreditation process in determining if PKB has been maintaining the quality standard it upholds and in helping PKB achieve its vision consequently. He then expressed his sincere gratitude to the government of Malaysia especially DPCCE for the continuous support for APACC and for PKB. Lastly, he wished good luck to everyone involved in the reaccreditation process.

The opening program was followed by the virtual tour of PKB campus wherein they showcased their facilities such as the counseling and career guidance room, classrooms, tools and equipment sponsored by alumni association, computer laboratory, niche area for quantity surveying, entrepreneurship kiosks, student center for innotex exhibitions, workshops, and library, among others.

The reports and corresponding evidence for the seven (7) criteria were afterwards presented by the PKB staff who formed the respective teams responsible for the necessary preparations for each criterion. During the interview with the respective teams, further probing alongside requests for means of verification were done by the APACC team to inspect documents and validate the presentations after the discussion of each criterion.

A closing program was conducted on the last day to formally conclude the activity. DPCCE Director Tn. Haji Mohd Nasir bin Abd Ghani in his special remarks acknowledged the hard work of the PKB staff in ensuring that the online evaluation went smoothly. He also expressed his gratitude to the APACC team for their professionalism, warmth, and kindness in making the evaluation a success. Finally, he thanked his department for the tireless assistance they extended.

Likewise in his closing speech, Mr. Kamaludin bin Daud expressed his gratitude to DPCCE for their endless support in guiding PKB through the reaccreditation process. He then thanked the PKB team for the great support and effort by everybody, and the APACC team for their big and life-changing involvement in the process.

Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs finally concluded the activity with his presentation of the qualitative findings during the institutional evaluation which includes the commendations (noteworthy practices that are over and above the APACC requirements), affirmations (acknowledgments of adequacy of provisions to comply with APACC requirements), and recommendations (suggested measures to address gaps in order to comply with APACC requirements).