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Harmonising African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation through the HAQAA Initiative
The latest Quality Assurance initiative, called the Harmonization of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA) initiative is slated to be officially launched in September 2016, in Namibia. This initiative was born out of the Joint Africa-European Union Strategic Partnership, which identified harmonization, quality and accreditation as key issues needing urgent attention.
Quality in higher education has become a matter of great concern globally, particularly at a time when tertiary education is being increasingly linked to economic growth and development. Countries have come to realize that the quality of educational provision by higher education institutions (HEIs) is critical in providing the highly skilled human resources that will drive economic growth and sustainable development.
The Association of African Universities (AAU) and its partner organisations, have in this light been implementing a number of quality assurance related flagship projects, with the HAQAA initiative being the latest. The African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN), which is the official platform for the cooperation of African quality assurance organizations and the Pan -African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF), being advanced by the African Union Commission in partnership with the AAU and the European Commission, are some projects already being run to improve quality assurance among Africa’s higher education institutions.
Objective of the HAQAA Initiative:
The general objective of HAQAA is to “Contribute and support the harmonisation of higher education programmes and the creation of a revitalised, distinctive, attractive and globally competitive African higher education space, through enhanced intra-African collaboration”.
With funding from the European Union Commission (EU), HAQAA is being implemented by a consortium of 5 partners, listed as follows;
- The University of Barcelona (UB) in Spain.
- The Association of African Universities (AAU);
- The Germany Academic Exchange Service (DAAD);
- European Universities Association (EUA);
- European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)
Project Duration : HAQAA is expected to run for 4 years (2016 – 2019) with the potential of becoming a continuously run Quality Assurance programme, based on availability of funds.
The initiative’s targets beneficiaries are Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Africa and African National Quality Assurance Agencies.
Expected Outcomes of the project includes:
- The creation of quality culture among HEIs and National Quality Assurance Agencies (NQAA) in Africa
- Universities having a better appreciation of Institutional Self Evaluation (ISE) for improvement
- The promotion of best practices of Quality Assurance in Africa
- Higher education Institutions having a better understanding of Quality Assurance information
- A shared vision and the same as well as a better understanding of quality assurance, harmonization and accreditation in African Higher Education
To date, AAU has accomplished the task of hiring the HAQAA Initiative project officer, Dr V. Makuku who assumed duty on the 1st of March 2016, and is currently working under the Director of Research and Academic planning, Professor Jonathan Mba. Dr Makuku brings into AAU her experience as the University of South Africa (UNISA) SADC representative for the past 5 years. Before joining AAU she was the Quality Assurance Director at Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe.
Some of the aspects agreed upon during the 14-15 January 2016 kick off meeting hosted by the European Universities Association (EUA) have been started, for example the setting up an African Quality Assurance Database and the identification and appointment of some National Quality Assurance Contact Points (persons) in individual African countries.
Article Submitted by: Dr. Violet Makuku, Project officer, HAQAA initiative