Strategic Focus Area

Building Capacity for Institutional Quality Management

Ensuring academic standards. Enhancing effectiveness and responsiveness.

Our Strategic Focus Area for Institutional Quality Management focuses on assisting SADC HEIs to establish robust internal quality management systems that are based on international standards for good practice. We are committed to supporting our network members in the development of student-centred frameworks for learning and teaching.

Through this strategic focus area, we support the objectives of the SADC Protocol on Education and Training which aims to improve the overall quality and relevance of education and training in the region. The Protocol emphasises the importance of equitable access to quality education and widening opportunities for participation, through the recognition of qualifications, inter-regional mobility, and the harmonisation of admission requirements.

SARUA’s strategic focus area on Institutional Quality Management has been gaining momentum especially regarding internal quality assurance (IQA) in the SADC. In line with SARUA’s strategic objectives, a research project to explore the ‘State of Play of IQA in the SADC’ was launched through a webinar held on 17 August 2021. From October 2021 to February 2022, seven focus group meetings were held which informed the development of an online questionnaire which was piloted and subsequently distributed from March 2022 to August 2022.

The purpose of this research was to explore the state of play of IQA in the SADC from the perspective of regional stakeholders working in the higher education sector and identifying the opportunities and challenges in implementing IQA systems. The key findings clearly indicated the importance of monitoring the implementation of IQA and identified the areas for SARUA to include in its future capacity development programmes. Further, the research highlighted the value attached to forming a Community of Practice (CoP) to provide a forum for discussion and ongoing support amongst QA practitioners in the region. The findings of this research show that while IQA systems are in place and there is a considerable understanding of the technical aspects which underpin the success of an IQA system, there is a challenge regarding implementing institutional-level management of change to allow the embedding of a shared quality culture.

View the report State of Play of IQA in the SADC

English Version: Summary, Full Report.
Portuguese Version: Summary.
French Version: Summary, Full Report.

One outcome of this research is the establishment by SARUA of the Community of Practice (CoP) for Institutional Quality Management which was launched at the end of 2022.  A coordinating team of five members from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi respectively, has been identified and they will nominate a convenor for the CoP from among themselves. The CoP will meet on 31 October to endorse the coordinating structure and its associated roles and responsibilities. Further information will be provided after the webinar on 31 October.



Male university or college student working at computer in library being helped by tutor


The TrainIQA programme is an initiative of the Dialogue on Innovative HE Strategies (DIES) and is jointly coordinated by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Higher Education Rectors Conference (HRK). The initiative is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is managed by the University of Potsdam. SARUA is an implementation partner for the SADC region and has been actively engaged in the TrainIQA programme.

The TrainIQA programme aims to:

  • Strengthen national capacities in the field of quality assurance.
  • Promote exchange and networking among higher education institutions (HEIs) and various stakeholders.
  • Provide opportunities for exchange and dialogue both within the SADC region and between European and African partners and institutions.
  • Enhance the professionalisation of quality managers who will promote ongoing capacity development in the field of internal quality assurance (IQA) at their home institutions as well as within their respective countries.

Training modules

Five training modules have been developed which may be downloaded from The modules are as follows:

  • Module 1: Designing Effective Quality Management Systems
  • Module 2: Tools and Procedures for Quality Assurance

  • Module 3: Quality Assurance of Teaching and Learning

  • Module 4: Information Management
  • Module 5: Quality Management and its Linkages to Higher Education Management

SARUA’s Participation

SARUA participated in the selection of the cohorts of candidates for the 2020 /2021 and 2023/2024 training programmes respectively.  The training for the first cohort was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2023/2024 SADC Train IQA programme, offered over an 18-month period, consists of three interconnected workshops (two in the SADC and one at the University of Potsdam, in Germany) as well as online phases. 185 staff members from higher education institutions across the SADC applied to participate in the programme and 30 were selected. These participants come from the following SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

The first workshop for the 2023/2024 cohort was held at the University of Johannesburg from the 19th to the 24th of March 2023 with training conducted jointly by trainers from Germany and from the SADC. During the last two days of the workshop, a conference was held, which was attended by the respective executive manager (Vice-chancellor / Deputy Vice-chancellor) from each of the SADC institutions represented at the workshop. During this final conference, the participants presented the topics for their institutional change projects, which forms an integral part of the training programme.  The second workshop was held in Potsdam, Germany from the 7th to the 12th of August 2023.  The final workshop will be held in a SADC country in March or April 2024.

The DAAD also provided funding for research on the State of play of Quality Assurance in the SADC.  The project was undertaken by Butcher and Associates and a report was published in 2018.  [Hoosen S, Chetty Y and Butcher N, 2018. State of Play: Regional Quality Assurance in Southern Africa SADC. DAAD. Germany.
Access the report

Become a member

Become a member

Access relevant discussions around higher education in the SADC
Become a member