Introduction to HEE for Self-Taught Students

If the student passes the AKU’s Higher Educational Examinations for Self-Taught Students - HEE examination, Degrees with grade sheets are conferred by our network universities on the recommendation of our Self-taught Examination Committee on the student. Accredited dual degrees with grade sheets are also conferred by our associate institutions.

Higher Educational Examinations for Self-Taught Students (HEE) based Higher education degree certificates and grade sheets are University recognized evidences of their holders having received higher education degrees. Degrees are conferred on graduates of the following four levels of programs: non-degree undergraduate program, undergraduate program, master’s program and doctoral program; in terms of categories. There are three types: regular higher education degree certificate, adult higher education degree certificate and self-taught examination degree certificates.

The emergence of the Higher Educational Examinations for Self-Taught Students (HEE) is a boon for countries, where available talent and those being produced at regular universities fall far short of the nominal numerical demands of the industry.

Many nations realize that the key to success is the availability of educated personnel. Large numbers of educated manpower are needed in the fast-developing priority sectors of the society and the whole nation's workforce needed to upgrade its education system. In the face of this serious lack of qualified personnel, the need to develop higher education is urgent. This educated manpower need is compounded by serious shortages of teachers, college buildings and other facilities. Devastated by the economic reversals brought on by the global economic downtrend, as well as its stage of development, many countries do not have enough money to put into education. Secondly, many people already in the work force and those secondary school leavers are eager to further their education. Around the beginning of the 1980s, globally, only less than ten percent of the annual secondary school graduates were able to go on for a higher education, due to various limitations. The majority of young school leavers neither had any practical experience for working in industries, nor did they have an opportunity to further their education.

In this situation, the HEE is welcomed with great enthusiasm by these students. Thirdly, the HEE is a talent selection system based on external exams aiming at measuring self-learners' academic achievement in order to qualify for a degree.

In modem world, the early College drop-outs and many other adults take the Higher Educational Examinations as an alternative avenue to advancement in the employment market, as well as for general social acceptance. The social advancement value in examinations and the social credentials they may bring an attitude which has prevailed among the modem population.

The establishment of the HEE has responded to the social and economic demand for an increase in the educational standard of the workforce and people's need for a higher educational credential.

Educational egalitarianism, although always ideologically cherished in modern world's educational policies, was not a main concern in the establishment of this examination system. In campus-based University education system, most of the tests and exams given today by various educational programs and institutions are prepared and evaluated by individual teachers in charge of their individual course instruction. The universal acceptance of these regular University test results is therefore questionable since there is little comparability between tests given by different teachers or at different schools. The prestige of a regular university degree is, therefore, dependent on the national acceptance of the university itself. The HEE, however, is a standardly administered examinations system, and whose degrees are, therefore, readily acknowledged by employers. Unified question banks have been established. The unified academic credit policy offers a universal standard of evaluation of students' achievement.

Since HEE needs an administrative structure only to conduct exams, offer degrees and conduct exam research, the expenditure of running the HEE system is significantly lower than that of financing campus based higher education.

The scattered educational resources are reorganized into a new and unique education form, a higher education system based on external learning and exams. As compared with that of regular universities, the university saves a lot of money in graduating an HEE student, because money required by students' housing, formal educational infrastructures and special facilities at campuses are not necessary. On the HEE students' part, the spending for exams and other related expenses are comparatively very low. For about half of the HEE students who do not attend any fee-paying assistance programs, necessary fees for exam registrations and books are almost negligible. The assistance program attendants also have a variety of choices in getting academic help.

Since regular universities began to claim full tuition fees from their students, fees as needed by the HEE are even lower and, therefore, make a university degree more generally accessible.

Besides, the HEE system offer's nations work force an opportunity to learn without having to be away from their jobs, which is financially effective and suitable for both individuals and their work places as well.

There can be no doubt at all that the HEE offers the most open education system, so far as provision of degree specialties and exams is concerned. The existence of the system has eased the high pressure of competition for regular university entry, since it has given another choice to many who were, or are, not satisfied with their attained educational background and or occupational situation. Before the HEE, all forms of higher education, correspondence education included, were restricted by some sort of exams and prerequisites. Theoretically with the HEE, however, any member of society who wants to get a university degree has equal access to higher education. The theory of a life-long education for everybody in the society has been embodied in this educational innovation because the HEE students cover virtually all social categories, irrespective of age, sex, occupation, social status, educational background and residential area.

Although the HEE participants are apparently offered a very lenient entry, they are then required to endure hard work and tough exams for academic survival and success.

As an open learning system centred on the administered examinations, the HEE is still in its infancy, and it certainly carries a strong message to the mass of people that the highest possible level of knowledge is not reserved only for a certain section of the population. What the HEE shows to the average person is that a postsecondary education is open to all people of all age groups, and can be learned by various means and methods. With this message, many more in the society are accepting this self-directed open learning system, thus changing in to a more wide-spread learning society based on certified qualifications and personal aspiration, as well as national economic needs.

Self-Study Education in China

China enjoys the world's largest high-level self-education system, with 56 of every 10,000 people in the country having attended self-study examinations for the equivalent of a college degree.

According to Wang Minda, vice-director of the China Higher Education Self-Study Supervision Committee, more than 3 million Chinese have obtained degrees over the past two decades without setting foot inside a classroom.

The committee offers tests in 230 subjects in 11 categories and the tests are open to everyone regardless of age.

Examinations for those who have pursued a course of self-study started in 1981, mainly in urban areas, as part of a government attempt to train more professionals for the country's modernization drive.

Those who pass the exam equivalent of a college degree are considered by education authorities to be college graduates.

Wang revealed that the self-study education system will be extended to rural areas with the building of examination service outlets. Information technology will be applied in the new testing venues to facilitate the development of self-study education, which, according to experts, is playing an increasingly important role in China's higher education.

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Self-Taught Higher Education Examinations

Self-Taught Higher Education Examinations (高等教育自学考试, STHEE) is a test for degree in China. It is practiced by National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) of China. NEEA is an agency of the Chinese Ministry of Education, headquartered in the Li Ye building (立业大厦), Tsinghua Science Park, Haidian District, Beijing.

The test started in early 1980s. Later, South Korea made similar test, Bachelor's Degree Examination for Self-Education, in early 1990s. Self-Taught Higher Education Examinations is held six times a year, January, April, May, July, October, and November.

Degree Examination for Self-Education

Degree Examination for Self-Education (Korean: 독학학위제) makes it possible to obtain a degree without attending a regular college or university by passing the examination administered by the government. The Constitution of the Republic of Korea states the government should promote lifelong education. To actualize this, "the Law of Degree Examination for Self-Education" was established on 7 April 1990.


  • Degree and Similar System of France
  • 1990 April 7, Promulgation of the Act of bachelor's degree Examination for Self-Education (Statute No. 4227)
  • 1990 June 20, Establishment of the Department of the Degree Approval at the National Board of Educational Evaluation
  • 1992, The 1st Conferment of degrees
  • 1998 January 1, Transfer of the control to Korea National Open University(KNOU)
  • 2008 February 15, Transfer of control to National Institute for Lifelong Education(NILE) according to "the amendment of the Lifelong Education Act"


  • Korean Language & Literature
  • English Language & Literature
  • Business Administration
  • Public Administration
  • Law
  • Computer Science
  • Home Economics
  • psychology
  • information & communications engineering
  • Childhood Education (Only 3rd and final exam)
  • Nursing (Only final exam)
  • Chinese Language & Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Agriculture

Those who already passed more than a course are still allowed to apply for their further examinations. Childhood education is established only in the 3rd and the final examination and Nursing is established only in the final examination because it needs practicum.


  • 1st exam: Qualifying Examination for Liberal Arts
  • 2nd exam: Qualifying Examination for Major-Basic
  • 3rd exam: Qualifying Examination for Major-Advanced
  • Final exam: Comprehensive Examination
Each exam is once in a year. So it takes a year at least to obtain a bachelor's degree.

Self-Study in Higher Education: The Path to Excellence.

ERIC Identifier: ED284510
Publication Date: 1984-00-00
Author: Marcus, Laurence R. - And Others
Source: Association for the Study of Higher Education.| ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education Washington DC. ERIC Digest 84-1.

As public revenues have become tighter, legislators and government executives have called for more accountability of tax-supported organizations, including public colleges. The necessity for proof that public funds are being expended in a cost-effective manner, to a good end, and with a demonstrable benefit to those being served, escaped higher education for many years; this is no longer the case. Institutional self-study is an appropriate method for determining quality and demonstrating accountability, which can lead to academic and administrative excellence.


Regulation follows public money. Thus it is no wonder that state and federal government regulations have reached higher education. Until recently, state and federal oversight was limited to institutional licensure and to state-level planning and coordination, including the approval of new degree programs.

Now, such efforts as state review of existing academic programs are becoming more common. Even more indicative of greater government involvement is the fact that at least 17 states have provided their higher education agency with the responsibility and general powers to accredit institutions and programs within their jurisdiction.


Government activity in academic matters is controversial. Increased quality review activity by the states is supported by some, but opposed by college and university leaders and accreditation groups. The federal government traditionally has relied on accreditation as the basis for eligibility for federal funds. States have relied on accreditation as evidence of quality for the maintenance of a license to operate as well as for continued eligibility for state funds.

Accreditation as an indicator of quality has come under strong criticism, partially because accrediting bodies assess an institution's quality according to the institution's own mission and self-definition. Critics point out problems:

--The accreditation process has become ingrown and the denial of accreditation is virtually impossible --The period of accreditation granted is lengthy (often 10 years) and the secrecy surrounding the report of the review team is suspect

--Accrediting associations do not monitor or enforce standards, nor are they willing to make public those standards that an institution does not meet (Trivett 1976)

Whether accreditation continues to serve as the basis for eligibility for public funds remains to be seen. Some states already have become more activist in attempting to ascertain that institutions are providing a quality education. Some observers think the greatest safeguard against an increased state role is for colleges themselves to strengthen their own evaluation activities.


Assessment of the quality of educational programs is difficult because quality "is an elusive concept" (Scott 1981). Nevertheless, a comprehensive, systematic appraisal effort can assist the faculty and the institution's leadership in making judgments regarding academic strength. A focus both on the program's process and outcome is needed.

The evaluation needs (1) to be comprehensive and (2) to have broad participation. Chaired by a person of recognized stature, a review committee should include senior and junior program faculty, academic administrators, and faculty from other departments. A subcommittee of program faculty should prepare a self-study to serve as the foundation for the program review.


At a minimum, the self-study should include:
The goals of the program (within the context of the broader institutional mission)
--The program's organization--internal processes and personnel practices
--Available fiscal resources and facilities-- laboratories and library holdings
--The curriculum--course sequencing, comparison to professional standards, and relevance to student goals
--The faculty--demographic data, workload requirements, specializations, and scholarly activity
--The students--entry and exit characteristics, class sizes, graduation rates, and placement
--Current issues--perceived weaknesses and future plans
Appropriate quantitative data should be included:
--Number of graduates --Attrition rates --Enrollments --Student demand trends --Volumes in the library --Faculty publications --Test scores --Success of graduates --Course costs --Cost-effectiveness data

However, an over-reliance on numerical factors--such as average cost per credit hour or per graduate-- should be discouraged. The assessment of program goals, student learning, faculty performance, and curriculum must have a qualitative bent. For example, an examination of faculty quality should move beyond background characteristics and workload statistics to focus on such factors as the quality of teaching, ability to retain students, professional activities, research and publication, and the vitality of the department.


Once completed, the self-study should be reviewed by an impartial, external consultant selected for his/her professional standing and knowledge about the issues and trends in the particular field of study. The consultant should also visit the campus to discuss the issues with program and other faculty, students, and administrators. The result should be a report that comments on whether the stated goals and accomplishments make sense. Most important is the consultant's judgment regarding the candor of the self-study, the program's ability to be self-critical, and its willingness to act upon identified weaknesses. Institutions should circulate broadly the consultant's report or candid summary of it. The University of Chicago's practice (Miller 1979) can serve as a model.


Comprehensive, forthright, decision-oriented program evaluations, made public, are the best way for an institution to demonstrate that:

--It is concerned about quality
--Its efforts are worthy of continued public funding
--It does not need the on-campus presence of state evaluators in order to be accountable and responsive to public concerns


Barak, Robert J., and Robert O. Berdahl. STATE-LEVEL ACADEMIC PROGRAM REVIEW IN HIGHER EDUCATION. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States, 1978. ED 158 638.

Berdahl, Robert O. "Legislative Program Evaluation." In INCREASING THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY OF HIGHER EDUCATION, edited by John K. Folger. NEW DIRECTIONS FOR INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH, No. 16. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1977.

Bogue, E. Grady. "State Agency Approaches to Academic Program Evaluation." In ACADEMIC PROGRAM EVALUATION, edited by Eugene C. Craven. NEW DIRECTIONS FOR INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH, No. 27. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass, 1980.


Harcleroad, Fred F. ACCREDITATION: HISTORY, PROCESS AND PROBLEMS. AAHE-ERIC/Higher Education Research Report No. 6, Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education, 1980. ED 198 774.

Kuh, George D. INDICES OF QUALITY IN THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE. AAHE-ERIC/Higher Education Research Report No. 4, Washington D.C.: American Association for Higher Education, 1981. ED 213 340.

Miller, Richard I. THE ASSESSMENT OF COLLEGE PERFORMANCE. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1979.

Scott, Robert A. "Program Review's Missing Number: A Consideration of Quality and Its Assessment." A Position paper. 1981. ED 200 108.

Trivett, David A. ACCREDITATION AND INSTITUTIONAL ELIGIBILITY. AAHE-ERIC/Higher Education Research Report No. 9. Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education, 1976. ED 132 919.

Troutt, William E. "Relationships Between Regional Accrediting Standards and Educational Quality." In INSTITUTIONAL ASSESSMENT FOR SELF-IMPROVEMENT, edited by Richard I. Miller. NEW DIRECTIONS FOR INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH, No. 29. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1981.

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