What is the African Quality Rating Mechanism?

The African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) is a key institutional assessment tool of the PAQAF, approved originally by the COMDAF of the African Union in 2007. It is aimed at supporting institutional quality in higher education via self‐assessment. It is essentially a self‐evaluation/self‐rating tool that consists of three parts: the survey questionnaire (section 1), institutional‐level quality reference points (section 2), and programme‐level quality reference points (section 3).

The AQRM survey questionnaire consists of three parts:

Section 1- Background information which addresses (a) the institution’s general information, (b) the institution’s profile, (c) students’ profile, (d) facilities, (e) faculty/staff profile, (f) governance and management, (g) teaching and learning, (h) linkage with the industry sector, (i) research and community outreach, and (j) internationalization.

Section 2 – Self-rating at institutional level comprising key reference points and standards for quality rating that address (a) governance and management, (b) infrastructure, (c) finance, (d) teaching and learning, (e) research, publication and innovation, and (f) community/societal engagement.

Section 3 Self-rating at programme level comprised of key reference points and standards on quality rating of programmes that address (a) programme planning and management, (b) curriculum development, (c) teaching and learning, (d) assessment, and (e) programme results. Institutions are asked to rate themselves against standards defined under each reference point, on a scale of 0-4. There are 49 Institutional level standards and 35 Programme level standards.

How is AQRM carried out?

The AQRM has been defined to have two broad components namely (i) self-completion of the online Questionnaire by the institution; and (ii) Site visit by independent, external panel of quality assurance experts to the institution to verify information contained in the Questionnaire.

In this sense, the completion of the online survey tool should ideally be complemented with a verification visit, conducted by an external expert panel. In the context of the initiative HAQAA2, AAU has been developing a methodology for online verification, which will be rolled out after HAQAA2 concludes.

AQRM and ASG-QA as complementary tools under PAQAF

AQRM is an instrument to be used by HEI to gather evidence and assess themselves in terms of their quality provision. It can be used to assess to what extent they are achieving the minimum standards contained in the ASG-QA Part A to ensure quality of provision and quality assurance processes. The two tools are distinct but compatible.


Under HAQAA2, the AAU conducted a content review of the AQRM tool, re-developed online with a sophisticated user interface and also did a technical audit of it. They have also produced a Guide to explain the AQRM to users.