i.         HAQAA2 Advisory Board meeting, ACTS Re-launch and PDU Development Team meeting, Abidjan, 7 – 10 June 2022

The HAQAA2 Implementation Team – OBREAL Global, AAU, DAAD and ENQA gathered over 50 representatives from Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia on the 7th to the 10th June 2022 in Abidjan, Cote d´Ivoire. The event was co-hosted by RAFANAQ and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Cote d´Ivoire. There were three events organized back to back – The HAQAA2 Advisory Board meeting, the African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) workshop and the Policy Data Unit (PDU) Development Team meeting.

The first physical meeting of the HAQAA2 Advisory board was held on 7th – 8th June 2022 bringing together board members from HAQAA2 key strategic partners from African Union Commission (AUC), Association of African universities (AAU), South African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), Inter Universities Council of East Africa (IUCEA), Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Unione delle Università del Mediterraneo (UNIMED), East African Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN), National Council for Quality Evaluation of Higher Education (CNAQ), L’Autorité Nationale d’Assurance Qualité de l’enseignement Supérieur (ANAQ-Sup), Le Conseil africain et malgache pour l’enseignement supérieur (CAMES), Arab Network For Quality Assurance in higher Education (ANQAHE), Association of Arab Universities (AArU), South African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN), Africa Students and Alumni Forum (ASAF), All African Students Union (AASU), European Universities Association (EUA), and UNESCO.

The board members shared key activities from the respective  organisations, such as  UNESCO IIEPs´ Flexible learning pathways study; IUCEAs´ EAC academic and research network for regional integration; CAMES´ support for the development of national QA agencies; ANAQ-Sup Senegal’s evaluation of doctoral schools; AUFs´  2021-25 Strategy: “Francophonie scientifique – employability, insertion, entrepreneurship”, AArU’s  Council for QA and accreditation for member institutions, CNAQ’s  national QA framework, AASU’s plans for a student expert pool for QA and assessment, and UNESCO Abuja’s follow-up regarding the Addis Convention, including a Road Map and focal points.

The Board members were briefed on the HAQAA2 current activities of (i) Dissemination projects to promote and access the usage and penetration of the African Standards and Guideline for Quality Assurance, (ii) the consultation being launched for the Pan African Quality Assurance Agency (PAQAA); (iii) The comparative regional integration in higher education study and the MOOC being developed; (iv) Agency reviews and Consultancy visits; and (v) the work of the Policy Data Unit Development Team.

     ii.         Support for CESA

Pan African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (PAQAA) consultation

The HAQAA2 Technical Working Group for the set up of the continental agency (PAQAA) has proposed and submitted to the African Union Commission scenarios for the agency’s establishment. The next step is to conduct a consultation on the proposal to raise awareness for the PAQAA and its eventual mandate, generate a debate on best pathway to its establishment, and generate stakeholder buy-in for the implementation of PAQAA and its eventual governance structure. The consultation has currently been launched: It is based on a survey, in four languages, which has been disseminated to several key stakeholders groups including Quality Assurance Agencies, National Qualification Authorities, Universities and Regional Economic Communities.

A synthesis report of the consultation will be validated at a planned meeting in October 2022, hosted by the AUC in Addis Ababa. This will entail recommendations on general framework for the legal and financial implementation of PAQAA and a path to optimise the resources, actions and the results achieved. It will also provide an in-depth risk assessment and ultimately propose a path forward. The AUC will be able to use this report to decide on next steps regarding the establishment/set-up of the agency.

Policy Data Unit Development Team

The Policy Data Unit Development (PDU) Team of the HAQAA2 initiative chaired by the Association of African Universities is currently undertaking the mapping of existing higher education data sources, projects and initiatives related to African Higher Education data – with a focus on their drivers, approaches, caveats, opportunities and data collection capacity needs at different levels. The PDU Development Team met in Barcelona on the 16th and 17th March 2022 to review progress made towards the completion of the mapping of higher education data sources in Africa. The subsequently met in Abidjan on 9-10 June.

The Team is using desk research, interviews and focus groups, to examine current initiatives and players and the role they play in data collection at different levels. The Team is analysing the overlapping multilevel institutional and legal frameworks of continental, regional and national level data collection. They are examining data parameters and definitions and how they shape higher education policies. The assessments also include capacity building needs at multiple levels. The findings from the work of the PDU Development Team will be used to generate a report that would inform the way forward in building a work plan for more coherent data collection for policy development in Africa.

   iii.         HAQAA2 Training Course Dissemination Projects – Selection & Kick-Off Event

Together with regional experts from African regulatory authorities and university networks such as CAMES, IUCEA, SARUA or ANAQ-SUP, CNAQ and NAQAAE, an individually tailored continuous training programme was developed for HAQAA2 based on the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA). This introduced the various instruments of the PAQAF while at the same time offering a platform which will enable participants from the participating African countries to engage in dialogue with each other as well as with the African and European trainers.

Entitled “IQA-4-Africa – From Pan-African Policy to Practice”, these courses were held online from November 2020 – December 2021. In total, two anglophone and two francophone trainings were offered, with the countries of the AU grouped according to regional and linguistic criteria.

In order to enhance the impact of the training activities and establish a network for the sustainable dissemination of the course content at a national and institutional level, national dissemination projects were offered for selected HAQAA training course alumni. The aim of this is for participants to implement multiplication projects in their home countries, co-funded by the HAQAA initiative. They seek to contribute to more intense local dissemination and institutional uptake of the ASG-QA and to multiply the outcomes of the HAQAA training courses.

After receiving a total of 36 applications from various AU countries, the Selection Committee, consisting of the HAQAA2 consortium (OBREAL, ENQA, AAU, DAAD) and strategic partners (SARUA, CNAQ, IUCEA, NAQAAE, CAMES, ANAQ-SUP), selected fourteen projects in February 2022. We are pleased to announce that the following projects have been selected:

  1. Burkina Faso: Dissemination and capacity building project within the framework of the HAQAA2 initiative in Burkina Faso: “Projet DI.RE.C. HAQAA Burkina “coordinated by Mr. Seydou Golo BARRO
  2. Burundi: Use of ASG-QA in the improvement of the quality approach at the University of Burundi coordinated by Mr. Jean Chrysostome NDAMANISHA
  3. Cameroon: Capacity building in quality assurance for higher education actors in Cameroon and Chad coordinated by Mr. Jean Baptiste BIKE MBAH
  4. Comoros: Setting up a quality assurance service within the University of Comoros coordinated by Mr. Soule HAMIDOU and Mr. Ahmed BACAR AHMED
  5. Democratic Republic of the Congo: Dissemination of PAQAF and ASG-QA in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): Theory, Institutional Self-Assessments & Benchmarking coordinated by Mr. Emmanuel KAMBAJA MUSAMPA and Mr. Georges MULUMBWA MUTAMBWA
  6. Egypt : ASG DASPA: Dissemination for Arabic Speaking Academics by Prof. Amany EL-SHARIF
  7. Kenya : Capacity Building of Kenyan QAA (CUE) and HEIs in the Development and Application of Quality Assurance Tools for Accreditation and Monitoring of (ODeL) Centres and Academic Programmes coordinated by Ms. Beatrice Odera-Kwach
  8. Madagascar: Development of a Culture of Qualitý in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Madagascar through the Appropriation of ASG-QA for the Implementation of Accreditation and Quality Assurance Systems coordinated by Ms. Hanitra Sylvia ANDRIAMAMPIANINA and Ms. Eliane VAHINALAHAJA RAZAFINTSALAMA
  9. Mali: ASG-QA as a tool for implementing an internal quality assurance policy in Mali’s HEIs coordinated by Mr. Solomani COULIBALY and Ms. Fatoumata KEITA
  10. Mauritius: Capacity-Building for a Shared Understanding of IQA Systems Based on the ASG-QA in Mauritian HEIs coordinated by Mr. Devarajen VENETHETHAN, Dr. Fareeda KHODABOCUS and Mr. Viswanaden PATTEN
  11. Mozambique : Building a Culture of Quality in Universities and Systems coordinated by Ms. Dulce João NUNES LANGA and Mr. Geraldo Vernijo DEIXA
  12. Niger: Capacity Building in Quality Assurance in the Universities of Niamey and Tahoua coordinated by Ms. Haoua SEINI SABO and Mr. Abdoulaye HAMADOU
  13. Uganda : Training Quality Assurance Managers to Create Awareness and Popularise the Application of Continental Quality Assurance Framework and Standards (ASG-QA) in Ugandan Universities coordinated by Mr. Richard OUMA and Ms. Betty BIRABWA
  14. Zambia : Enhancing the Capacity of Quality Assurance Officers in Colleges and Universities in Zambia coordinated by Mr. Oscar MWALE

We are looking forward to the results that will promote IQA from different sides, be it through capacity building considering the ASG-QA, providing training materials for the Arabic speaking Academia in Africa, or in developing a shared-understanding and culture for IQA.

The Projects will be supported and accompanied by the HAQAA Initiative. A two days virtual kick-off event took place in March, and a follow-up meeting in June.

   iv.         African QA Network Dissemination Project

The QA Network Dissemination Project brings together QA networks from three linguistical regions RAFANAQ (Francophone), EAQAN (Anglophone), and CNAQ (Lusophone). They are essentially collaborating to promote the ASG-QA across Africa, and to map its uptake and the event to which countries and regions are compliant. A Workshop bringing together experts nominated by the three participating networks was conducted from 24th -26th January 2022 at Tamarind, Tree Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, to kick off the process. The experts discussed the methodology of the dissemination of the ASG-QA, including a mapping of the ASG-QA as implemented by higher education Quality Assurance Agencies at the national and regional levels. The overall objective of the Workshop was to develop tools and the roadmap for the ASG-QA Mapping and Dissemination phases.

     v.          Reviews and Consultancy Visits for Quality Assurance Agencies and Countries in Africa

  • Agency Review Experts Training

 The QA agency reviews and consultancy visits are currently underway. Teams of African and European experts have been selected and two training sessions were held in April, designed to support reviewers in preparing for the external agency reviews and consultancy visits and in assessing the Self-Assessment Reports the agencies and ministries have prepared. The objective of the training was to familiarize the experts with the ASG-QA and make the experts acquainted with the content, format and methodology of the review process. It also gave the experts an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the ASG-QA and the broader policy context, so as to better contextualise the requirements of the pilot reviews in the continental setting.

  • Task Force for the ASG-QA

ENQA has been supporting the work of the HAQAA Task Force for the ASG-QA in preparing a Users’ Guide for the ASG-QA. The Task Force has completed the drafting process of the ASG-QA Users Guide. The document was shared with HAQAA ambassadors to solicit feedback. The final version of the document is currently being translated into four languages. It is expected that the Guide will be published by September 2022.

  • Revitalising Discussion on the African Credit Transfer System (ACTS)

A political definition of an African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) was elaborated in 2018 by a group of national and regional bodies led by European Commission and African Union Commission. The process followed had three stages. Firstly, information about the state of the art of credits in 35 African countries was collected. Secondly, scientific research was conducted, based on a large survey focused on the estimation of African Student Workload, from the perspective of academics and students. Finally, a general report was elaborated, with some strong recommendations:

  1. There is a compelling need to have a common agreement on the definition and value of a credit in the African higher education systems in order to promote transferability and comparability—key to harmonizing the African higher education space and promote mobility.
  2. There is a need for consensus on the workload of a credit unit. The general trend is that 60 credits are equivalent to the workload of full-time student during one academic year. We thus recommend to adopt this widespread international trend of 60 credits for Africa.
  3. There is a need for consensus on the number of credit units for each year and for the different programmes, i.e. Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate.
  4. There is a need for a consensus on the student workload over a period of a year which straddles between 1,350 and 1,800 hours. We thus recommend to adopt between 1,350 and 1,800 hours of workload for Africa which sits well within the international norms.
  5. There is a need for a harmonized continental credit system that balances the different systems that span the continent: Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone countries.

Although the proposal was intensively discussed and approved within the framework of Tuning Africa II project, it was not finally validated and made visible in the natural spheres of African Higher Education (associations, ministries, universities, etc.). Since 2018, no concrete activities were identified in relation to African Credit Transfer System.

Structure for revitalizing the ACTS discussion

As part of its Policy Component and linked to one of the Specific Objectives of HAQAA2 to both support the implementation of PAQAF and CESA, the HAQAA2 implementing team are revitalising the ACTS discussion in Africa over the course of 2022. To achieve this objective, an African Credit Transfer System Task Force (ACTS-TF) has been set-up composing of six key persons led by OBREAL Global, the AAU and DAAD.

ACTS-TF will work with the support of the regional strategic partners that are already actively engaged in the delivery of different components of HAQAA2 (NAQAAE, IUCEA, SARUA and CAMES). These regional strategic partners will be expected to support regional activities and strategies that will involve different key actors in the ACTS discussion.

The overall objective is to assess the ACTS proposal and its role in PAQAF/continental integration across Africa, targeting different key stakeholder groups in five African regions.

  • Webinar series, post European Union-African Union Summit: The Africa-EU Summit and The Higher Education Sector

This virtual webinar series has been organised as a follow-up to the Africa-EU Summit (17-18 February, 2022). It was intended to provide an opportunity for the higher education sector in Africa and Europe to understand better the commitments made by the Summit, to debate specific topics and share initiatives that would contribute to reaching the goals set and to create opportunities in line with the Summit’s emphasis on higher education, skills and research. It is organised collaboratively between AAU, the coordinator of the ‘Cluster’ for Higher Education of the African Union’s Continental Strategy for Education (CESA) and OBREAL Global, with support and input from important regional higher education associations in Africa and Europe. The series is open to all interested stakeholders of the higher education and research sector across the African continent, as well as EU counterparts and partners in other world regions with a keen interest in African higher education development and its global projection.

1. The Africa-EU Summit: Main take-aways for the higher education sector: The launch webinar took place on the 24th March 2022. The webinar goals were to discuss the main take-aways for the African higher education sector arising from the European Union-African Union Summit that was held in February 2022. High level representatives from the European Commission, African Union Commission, Association of African Universities (AAU), OBREAL Global, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) and the Association of Arab Universities (AARU) discussed the implications, and opportunities from the European Union-African Union Summit.

The webinar provided an opportunity for the higher education sector in Africa to better understand the commitments made by the Summit, to debate specific topics and share initiatives that would contribute to reaching the goals set and to create opportunities in line with the Summit’s emphasis on higher education, skills and research.

The speakers from the African Continent were united in their identification of the following priority focus areas for the development of higher education in Africa – skills and competences; quality and quality assurance; research; academic mobility schemes for Africa; and new innovations in African Universities (such as digital transformation).

The speakers from Europe emphasized the new prospects and challenges that are emerging from economic, political, social, technological, demographic, climate and environmental changes. Key partnership opportunities were highlighted for the green transition and energy access; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace, security & governance; and migration and mobility. The Global Gateway Africa-Europe initiative was underscored, as it aims to support Africa towards a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation. The European Commission stated that opportunities for higher education in Africa were namely through human capital development initiatives in order to support an acceleration of Africa’s transition to an innovation led, scientific knowledge-based economy, for the benefit of sustainable development and socio economic transformation.

2. Entrepreneurial skills development for Africa – A new focus and impetus on 25 May 2022: this webinar explored the importance of investing in and developing relevant skills for entrepreneurship, and the links between the higher education sector and entrepreneurial Jobs; one of the main focal points of the Africa-EU Summit. It examined current EU and other EU member states programmes that support this sector, and shed light on new African initiatives and alliances working towards the entrepreneurship agenda.

3. Digitalisation and higher education – New Opportunities and Challenges for Africa and Europe on 22 June 2022 focusing on digitisation trends in the Higher Education sector in Africa. Exploring the current challenges, linked to the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, but also the opportunities it has unfolded. Exploring the training needs of staff and students to take advantage of digitalisation and also reflection on how Europe and Africa can cooperate in this field. Particular emphasis is placed on teaching and learning, as well as internationalisation, and how digitisation can underpin their transformation. African Union and EU investments in this regard were highlighted.

4. University research for innovation, resilience and poverty reduction on 18 July 2022: The webinar examines the high focus that the EU-Africa Summit has placed on research capacity in Africa and strategic research partnerships between Africa and Europe. Taking into account African continental and Europe-Africa initiatives for research and innovation capacity building and placed special focus on how Africa research can be oriented towards resilience and poverty reduction. 

Check out the webinar series website

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