Harmonisation of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA)

Introduction and background

The HAQAA Initiative (Harmonisation, Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Africa), now entering its third phase, aims to establish a harmonised system of quality assurance and accreditation at institutional, national, regional and continental pan-African levels. Funded by the European Union in partnership with the African Union, the HAQAA 3 Initiative is being implemented by a consortium led by OBREAL Global that includes the Association of African Universities (AAU), the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). SARUA is the regional partner for the implementation of the HAQAA Initiative in the SADC region. This webinar series will provide an orientation on the various areas of activity that are part of the HAQAA 3 Initiative.

Between 2015 and 2018, the HAQAA1 initiative was implemented by a consortium comprising the University of Barcelona (coordinator), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the European University Association (EUA), the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). This initiative led to the development of the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA), and the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM).

The HAQAA2 project was launched in 2020 and ended in December 2022. OBREAL Global assumed the responsibility for the overall coordination of the project. A key aspect of HAQAA 2 was the introduction of a Policy Data Unit (PDU). Co-ordinated by the AAU, the PDU brings regional higher education associations together to promote higher education data collection to support CESA 2025 and Agenda 2063.

Building on HAQAA 2, the general objective of the HAQAA3 project is to improve the quality and harmonisation of African higher education and support students’ employability and mobility across the continent.

Two organising structures were established, an Advisory Board and a Technical Working Group (TWG). SARUA was represented by Prof M Oosthuizen and Ms K Sattar who were members of the Advisory Board and the TWG respectively.

The TWG identified four potential scenarios for the establishment of the PAQAA and elicited feedback from stakeholders through a survey questionnaire. The report on the analysis of the feedback from the PAQAA consultation survey was further discussed at a consultation workshop held in Addis Ababa on 3rd and 4th October 2022. The TWG prepared a consolidated report considering feedback from: consultations through the survey; the Advisory Board; and the workshop held in Addis Ababa. This report was presented to the final workshop held in Accra from 6th to 9th December 2022. The consolidated report containing recommendations to the AUC for the establishment of the PAQAA and proposing an implementation plan was submitted at the end of 2023. The recommendations covered the role, function, and purpose of the PAQAA; the organizational structure thereof including governance, financial and legal aspects, financial and legal models, and good practices regarding other continental agencies.

SARUA has been supporting the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the University of Potsdam in the development of the HAQAA2 Training Course to build capacity.  The purpose of the training was to promote the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA) and the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) which are tools for IQA.  These tools and other publications/reports are available at https://haqaa2.obsglob.org

The training comprised blended learning, train-the-trainer and dissemination projects.  The HAQAA2 training course was managed through the Quality Unit at the University of Potsdam.  Learning materials were developed by the University of Potsdam and Ms Sattar was one of the reviewers of some modules.  Two case studies were developed by Ms Sattar: “Quality Assurance developments in the SADC”, and “The African Standards and guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA)” which was developed collaboratively with Jeffy Mukora from Mozambique.  SARUA has also provided support in the selection of the SADC cohort for the training.  The training programme was offered in November 2021. 

A total of 36 proposals for project funding were received from 28 countries, 15 from Francophone, 3 from Lusophone and 18 from Anglophone countries respectively. SARUA participated in the evaluation and selection of applications for funding and 15 projects were selected.
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