+251 115 182 056
en English ar العربية fr Français pt Português

Africa has diverse systems of higher education. This diversity limits recognition of university degrees and certificates, thereby restricting the mobility of students across Africa and hindering African academic integration. The African Union therefore developed a framework for harmonisation of higher education in Africa to facilitate the mutual recognition of academic qualifications. The Harmonization Strategy was endorsed by the third Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF III), in 2007.

 

The African Union Strategy for Harmonisation of Higher Education Programmes comprises the following five major result areas:

  1. Establishment and Maintenance of Continental Political Commitment to the Process of Harmonization
  2. Cooperation in information exchange
  3. Development and Maintenance of a Continental Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
  4. Creation of Minimum Standards in Targeted Qualifications
  5. Establishment of Joint Curriculum Development and Student Mobility Schemes

In implementing the African Union Harmonization Strategy for Higher Education, the AUC is working jointly with UNESCO to facilitate the ratification and implementation of the Addis Convention (revised Arusha Convention) on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and other Academic Qualifications. In ratifying the Convention countries signal their intent to participate in the process and to fulfil requirements to facilitate the implementation of effective harmonisation in higher education across Africa.

 

In collaboration with the European Commission, a project for developing harmonised university curricula using the European Tuning Approach is underway with participation of over 100 African Universities.

The African Union strategy for harmonisation of higher education has the following goals:

  • Bridge the gap between disparate educational systems in Africa
  • Provide an integrating platform to develop strong regional harmonization initiatives that cohere into a continental process of harmonization
  • Advance joint curriculum development and institutional partnerships among African Universities to ensure global competitiveness
  • Facilitate the recognition of academic qualifications and promote the mobility of African students and academic staff across the continent
  • Promote the development of effective quality assurance mechanisms

Implementation Of African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM):

Quality assurance of higher education institutions is one core area to revitalizing higher education and research in Africa. The Commission of the African Union therefore spearheaded the development of an African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) to establish an African system that will ensure the performance of higher education institutions can be compared against a set of common criteria and to help the institutions carry out self-evaluation exercises to support the development of institutional cultures of quality.

The AQRM has been developed through extensive dialogue with the African higher education community, including the Association of African Universities. The AQRM was adopted by the Third Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF III) in 2007, and validated by stakeholders and partners’ meeting.

 

The main objectives of the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) are:

  • To establish an African system that will ensure the performance of higher education institutions can be compared against a set of common criteria, taking into account the context of higher education delivery on the continent as well as international good practices.
  • To help higher education institutions carry out self-evaluation exercises and support the development of institutional cultures of quality.
  • To create a system that allows for comparison and improvements in quality of delivery of institutions.
  • To pave the way for African institutions to be globally competitive, while being locally relevant.

 

The AQRM allows for classification of institutions and programmes into five categories: ‘poor quality’; ‘insufficient quality; ‘satisfactory quality’; ‘good quality’; and ‘ex-cellent quality’. The African Quality Rating Mechanism employs specific quality criteria on different focus areas against which higher education institutions can assess their own quality levels and rate themselves through a self-evaluation exercise. A pilot run of AQRM was conducted involving quality experts that carried out evaluation missions and validate the self-ratings of institutions. The AQRM needs to be implemented on full-scale at various universities in collaboration with national and regional quality assurance agencies. Steps should be taken to ensure that AQRM is adopted by African higher education institutions as one of the mechanisms for assessing and improving quality of higher education. The existence of a quality rating mechanism will support continental endeavours to identify leading African Universities and Centres for Excellence.

 

Development Of Pan-African QA And Accreditation Framework:

To implement the AU Executive Council Decision on establishing a continental Accreditation Agency for higher education, the African Union Commission has initiated the development of a Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework, in collaboration with the European Commission and the Association of African Universities.

 

The Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework has the following objectives:

  • To promote partnerships among quality assurance and accreditation bodies across the continent
  • To assist the development of national quality assurance bodies in Africa
  • To advance good accreditation practices and develop Pan-African quality assurance framework
  • To foster development of compatible methodologies and harmonization of accreditation standards in Africa
  • To supervise the quality of education provision in the Pan African University.

 

The creation of continent-wide accreditation body will strengthen cooperation in quality monitoring; development of compatible methodologies; harmonization of procedures; and mutual recognition of academic qualifications. Moreover, the establishment of a Continental Accreditation Agency is vital to guarantee high quality of education provision in the Pan African University and to ensure its international recognition.

 

A consultative meeting was held in May 2015 with key regional and continental stakeholders to brainstorm and reach a consensus on the process for establishing an African continental accreditation mechanism for higher education. To validate the process for establishing the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework, a workshop was held in Accra, Ghana from 29 - 30 July 2015 involving national and regional QA Agencies as well as Ministries of Higher Education across the continent. The validated framework will be instrumental to establish harmonized quality assurance practices across the continent.