A kick-off meeting to revitalize and reinforce the role of ‘HAQAA Ambassadors’ took place virtually on 21st January 2021, gathering more than forty professionals from 24 countries in Africa who received training under the HAQAA initiative since 2015.‘HAQAA Ambassadors’ are essentially a network of QA professionals from both universities and quality assurance agencies, who have received unique African continental-level training, linked to the African harmonization processes in higher education, and specifically the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF).
Participants discussed “how the new context has affected the way of conducting QA work in their countries/ institutions”.The participants shared a myriad challenges that Higher Education has had to cope with, specifically closing of campuses, drastic change to online/virtual learning and most importantly the need for Education practitioners to change their method of delivery. In many nationally instituted lock- downs in Africa, Quality Assurance Agencies had to suspendinstitutional verifications. Some agencies suggested how they none-the-less carried out sensitization activities for the university community on safety of staff and learners.
The participants discussed the role of the HAQAA training course graduatesas accelerator in promoting the ASG-QA and PAQAF action lines and tools and agreed on the importance of making connection between the different training groups/ phases spread across HAQAA1 and HAQAA2. There was consensus in applying a systematic approach in organizing the Ambassador network by ensuring language balance and facilitating regional teams.
HAQAA2 will offer the Ambassadors opportunities to network and have dialogue along commons themes, contribute / participate in policy dialogue activities linked to the Continental Strategy for Education in Africa (CESA), which HAQAA2 is supporting, participate as experts for Agency reviews / consultancy visits and participate as reviewers in online verification of the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM).