Harmonisation of African Higher Education, Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA) is an initiative that has been established to support the development of a harmonised quality assurance and accreditation system at institutional, national, regional and Pan-African continental level. It is funded by the European Union Commission, in the context of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership. Phase one (HAQAA1) was implemented from 2016-2018. HAQAA 2 (2019 – 2022) is intended to build upon, upscale and promote the results of HAQAA1.

General Objective

To improve the quality and harmonisation of African higher education and support students’ employability and mobility across the continent.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

  • Quality assurance culture in higher education institutions is further enhanced.
  • Capacities of quality assurance agencies to implement African Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance (ASG-QA) is strengthened and cross-regional coordination are enhanced.
  • Capacities of the AU in implementing the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF) are strengthened.

Policy Context

What is the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF)?

HAQAA1 and 2 intend to support the realisation of PAQAF which is an African Union endorsed overriding framework for the harmonisation of quality assurance in higher education in Africa. It consists of several actions that have been developed or are in the process of being developed, intended to ensure quality provision in higher education in Africa, recognition of quality across borders and a common understanding on quality definitions and standards.

These action lines and tools comprise:  

1. African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG‐QA)‐ developed between 2017 and 2018 under the HAQAA1 Initiative.  The ASG‐QA are published in the four official languages of the African Union and are already being used by many QA agencies and universities across the continent.

2. African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF) –The African Union Commission (AUC) is partnering with the European Union, German GIZ and the European Training Foundation (ETF) in developing ACQF, a key output of the “Skills for Youth Employability project” (SYEP) launched in June 2019.

3. African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) – An institutional quality assessment tool.  The development of the AQRM was spearheaded by the African Union Commission and it was endorsed by the African Union in 2007.

4. Addis Convention for Recognition of Qualifications– Developed with the support of UNESCO and pending ratification by many African states.

5. African Credit Accumulation and Transfer System – A proposal has been made by the TUNING Africa initiative (2018). The African Union intends to have it politically endorsed.

6. Continental Register for Quality Assurance agencies and quality assured higher education institutions ‐ Pending development.

HAQAA2 makes the following contributions to PAQAF:

  • Further promote the uptake and usage of the ASG‐QA amongst quality assurance agencies (QAA) and systems in Africa 
  • Further promote the uptake and usage of the ASG‐QA (Part A) amongst higher  education  institutions (HEI), via dedicated HAQAA Training Courses, as they provide important standards  and  guidelines  for  quality  assurance,  which  would  also  help  HEI  to  develop  their  quality  cultures and to better prepare for external audit and evaluation. 
  • Generate a cohort of 175 trained QA professionals across Africa from both QAA and HEI, specialised in evaluating higher education institutions and systems on the basis of African continental standards and guidelines.  
  • Further promote and assess the impact of the AQRM, in conjunction with the ASG‐QA, as an African tool for institutional quality assessment and institutional quality improvement.
  • Provide a feasibility study for the Pan‐African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (‘Continental Agency’) and support the AUC to take important steps towards its set up.  
  • Support the AU to promote the different action lines and tools of the PAQAF.

What is CESA?

CESA is the Continental Education Strategic for Africa 2016-2015. It was adopted by the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2016 to provide the post 2015 framework that links education to the human resource needs of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, as well as national development goals.

This continental strategy matches the 2016-2025 framework of the African Union 2063 Agenda, meets the Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. CESA has 12 specific objectives, many of which target or include tertiary education.

SO4 refers explicitly to “Ensuring acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills as well as improved completion rates at all levels and groups through harmonization processes across all levels for national and regional integration”, to which the PAQAF and HAQAA2 contribute.

In order to deliver upon CESA in a collective way, stakeholders are invited to join 12 different ‘Clusters’ , including higher education. HAQAA2 will also support the CESA clusters related to higher education and quality assurance.