26.03.2008 General News

Ensure Quality In Higher Education - Sawyerr

26.03.2008 LISTEN

Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, Secretary-General, Association of African Universities (AAU), yesterday emphasised the need for stakeholders to work seriously to ensure that quality assurance in higher education was not compromised.

'With the establishment of more universities in Africa it is imperative to work seriously on the problem of quality assurance so that as the universities or higher learning progressed, quality assurance would not be compromised.'

Professor Sawyerr made these remarks at the opening of a three-day validating meeting that seeks to discuss and adopt a strategy for the execution of the African Rating Mechanisms for Higher Education and develop strategies for moving the African Union Higher Education strategy forward.

The meeting organised by AAU in collaboration with African Union Commission also seeks to promote quality development and assurance in Africa's higher education in all dimensions including the development of regional and continental qualification framework such as the Arusha Convention.

About 45 participants, including stakeholders working on high education institutions in Africa and around the world are attending the meeting.

Prof Sawyerr said the African Union regarded education as a key
instrument in achieving its visions of developing quality human resources as well as contributing towards increased mobility of Africans around the globe.

Prof Sawyerr noted that a decade of education had failed but added the AAU wanted the second decade as a success story by harmonising all universities in Africa.  'AAU is the designated lead implementation agency for high education in the second decade of education in Africa.'

Mr Niel Butcher, African Union Commission Consultant, in a presentation dubbed: 'African Union Higher Education Harmonisation Strategy,' said harmonisation of high education should not be seen as a bureaucratic exercise and called for more political will.  'We want the higher learning educational institutions to produce graduates with competitiveness required to drive the continent of Africa.'

Mr Butcher said one of the goals of the strategy was also to co-ordinate efforts of national accreditation and regional bodies to discuss universities' successes and resolve their challenges. The consultant touching on the outcome of the strategy called for co-operation in information exchange stressing, 'We need to create a central database on the activities of our high education programmes.'

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