New external quality assurance courses for Southern Africa

12 October 2018

IIEP-UNESCO has partnered with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) for a new capacity development project in higher education. This will include two blended learning courses on external quality assurance over the next two years.

IIEP and DAAD announced the new courses at the Southern African Quality Assurance Network Conference, in Maseru, Lesotho, from 8-9 October 2018.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) promotes the economic integration and the social well-being of its 16 Member States. As early as 1997, the Community adopted a Protocol on Education and Training, which stipulates that the harmonization of education policies shall accompany the regional economic integration process. Under the Protocol, the SADC Qualifications Framework (SADCQF) was launched in 2017, and the 16 SADC Member States are expected to align their existing or developing National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) with the regional one. The ultimate goal is to foster the recognition of qualifications and labour mobility.

In order to harmonize and support regional quality assurance activities, the Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) was created in 2015 as a voluntary association of both quality assurance bodies and higher education institutions in the region. As stipulated in SAQAN’s constitution, its main priority is to support the development of quality assurance-related capacity in Southern Africa through conferences and workshops regularly hosted by member countries.

Over the past 15 years, IIEP-UNESCO, through its programme on governance and quality assurance, has developed an extensive knowledge base and a series of capacity development activities in both external and internal quality assurance. The activities include several publications, training modules and two e-learning courses, including one on good international practices in the area of external quality assurance.

In order to explore a new regional initiative on quality assurance in the Southern African region, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), jointly with the Council on Higher Education (CHE) South Africa, (SAQAN) and the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), and with support from IIEP, organized a workshop in October 2017 in Pretoria, to discuss capacity development needs in the area of QA. During the workshop, it was suggested to build on IIEP’s longstanding experience in this domain. IIEP is now joining forces with DAAD and SAQAN for the organization of two blended learning courses on external quality assurance, set to take place during the first semester of 2019 and 2020.

Upon the invitation of the Lesotho Council on Higher Education, SAQAN organized its 4th Southern African Quality Assurance Network Conference, in Maseru, Lesotho, on 8 and 9 October 2018. At the Conference, IIEP and DAAD announced the two forthcoming blended learning courses on EQA. The courses will be held for national teams of QA agency staff that will benchmark their agency’s experience in EQA with regard to basic system’s choices, the quality model, the process of QA and the QA structure. Throughout the course, the national teams will develop a vision for the necessary changes to develop EQA operations. The national teams will present and discuss their suggested vision during a face-to-face seminar, which will follow on the online phase.

Minister of Education and Training, Honorable Professor Ntoi Rapapa, during his keynote speech at the Southern African Quality Assurance Network Conference, in Maseru, Lesotho.
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