60 years of higher education cooperation in the Francophonie: The AUF and synergies with HAQAA2

By Bernard Zuppinger, Agence Universitaire de la Francophone (AUF is part of the HAQAA2 Advisory Board).

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophone (AUF) is the world’s leading university network with 1007 member institutions in 119 countries and 59 locations on five continents. An expert operator in research and knowledge of the Francophone, the AUF is active in many areas such as training, research, digital technology, university governance, entrepreneurship and student employability, and sustainable development. Created in 1961, the AUF will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2021, which marks 60 years serving the global Francophone scientific and academic community.

As part of its 2021-25 strategy, the AUF carried out a global consultation of unprecedented scope that interviewed more than 2,000 university leaders and officials, political leaders and representatives of civil society organizations in 75 countries, of which about 1/3 were in Africa. In total, 13,000 students were interviewed online across 90 countries.

From this global consultation, renewed orientations and priorities for responding to the needs of francophone university youth, faculty members, institutions and countries emerged: quality training, training for employability strategies, as well as developing excellence research and innovation in the service of society. To this end, the projects that the AUF carries out combine support for universities and research centers, and support for countries in the policy reform of their educational and university systems, by mobilizing the strengths of the scientific community of Francophone Africa and beyond.

Within this framework, the AUF continues to strengthen the skills of university leaders; It raises awareness forthe importance of quality assurance and provides support and advice to higher education and research institutions in the deployment of governance and quality tools and methods.  For the African continent, these actions are carried out in synergy with those of other actors within the continental framework, notably through the HAQAA2 and its regional and national articulations. These actions have a real impact only if they effectively enable universities to better fulfill their mission at the service of African societies.

AUF’s activities in Africa are synergistic with HAQAA2, particularly along three dimensions:

  • The strengthening of internal and external quality assurance systems so that the complementarity between internal and external quality assurance can be fully exploited.
  • The implementation of appropriate strategic management systems, in order to be better able to implement the recommendations resulting from evaluations, while placing management in the context of a strategic and budgetary dialogue with the university supervisory authorities, particularly on issues of employability and innovation in the service of society.
  • A contribution to the training of African experts in these fields, who are likely to multiply the capacity of actors across the continent to act in these areas and to guarantee the sustainability of these actions.

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