Academic Quality Assurance and Accreditation
Regional and Inter- Regional Issues and Implications
Presented by
Prof. Clifford N.B. Tagoe
Vice-Chancellor University of Ghana
At the International Workshop on
Quality and Equivalence: Issues in Education Abroad
Facilitated by The University of the West Indies in collaboration with University of Ghana
June 19 – 21, 2008 Mona Campus University of West Indies
The Balme Library, University of Ghana, Legon
Tagoe 2008: Regional Academic Quality Assurance CUSAC UoWI Mona
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What is Quality Higher Education?
Gola, defines quality in higher education as “specifying
worthwhile learning goals and enabling students to
achieve them”, it involves “articulating academic
standards” to meet:
 society’s expectations,
 students aspirations,
 the demands of the government, business and
industry; and
 the requirements of professional institutions.”
Gola, M.M. 2003 Premises to Accreditation: A Minimum set of Accreditation Requirements in
ENQA Workshop Reports 3, European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education,
Helsinki, pp 25-31.
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Definition of Accreditation
Accreditation (standard-based approach)
“a process of quality control and assurance in higher
education, whereby, as a result of inspection or
assessment, or both, an institution or its programmes are
recognised as meeting minimum acceptable standards”

Accreditation (fitness-for-purpose approach)
“an accreditation system should provide elements to
analyse the quality of the institution’s performance and
relevance in accomplishing its mission”
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Growth of Higher Education in Africa and
the Labour Market Requirements

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Ssenkaaba notes that in 1960, Africa had only six universities mainly
producing civil servants. Now there are about 350 universities in
Africa with more than half a million students.
In Uganda, there was only 1 university in 1987 with about 10,000
students but today; there are over 25 universities with about 65,000
students.
The Labour Market requires that:
 Universities must be globally competitive in world class research
and teaching
 They should access and bring to their home country international
expertise and talent
 And they should develop global citizens.
Ssenkaaba, R B 2007 Importance of Credit Accumulation and Transfer System in Promoting Quality
Assurance in East Africa. A Paper Presented at The Second International Conference on Quality
Assurance in Higher Education in Africa Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: 17–19 September 2007.
Tagoe 2008: Regional Academic Quality Assurance CUSAC UoWI Mona
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Purpose of Quality Assurance and Accreditation
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The need for Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Africa

Demand for efficiency, competitiveness, Increased
Transparency and Accountability in Higher Education

Increasing Mobility, Globalization, the Cross–Border
Recognition and Harmonization of Qualifications and
Awards

Rising Private Contributions and interests in HE

The Challenge of the New Modes of Delivery to
Traditional Approaches to HE Development

Expansion in Tertiary Enrollment in Africa without a
Matching Increase in Funding

Increased Market Demand for Quality and Relevance of
Education

The Challenge of Brain–Drain: Quality HE in Africa could
Improve Retention of Skilled Human Capital
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University of Ghana: Legon (ca. 4.2km by 4km)
1990 - 8,000 Students
2007 - 28,000 Students
Sports Area
Staff Housing
Student Halls
Administration
Library and
Departments
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Weaknesses and Threats in Quality Assurance
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Lack of Institutional Capacity
Lack of Human Capacity
Lack of Funds
Poor Inter-University Communication
Private versus Public institutional conflict
Government Interference
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Quality Assurance & Accreditation Initiatives in Africa
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World Bank Funded Quality Assurance Project of the Association of
African Universities.
The Distance Education Course on External Quality Assurance for
Higher Education for English-speaking African countries.
International Institute for Educational planning, UNESCO.
September to December, 2006.
The Second International Conference on Accreditation, Quality
Assurance and Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education in
Africa. Tanzania 2007.
ECOWAS Meeting of the ad-hoc committee on equivalence of
certificates in West Africa. 2006
International Conference on Accreditation, Quality Assurance and
Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education in Africa Hilton
Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, 6-8 February 2006
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ICT Centre,: University of Ghana, Legon
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Promoting Regional Quality Assurance and Accreditation

UNESCO

UNESCO Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation
and the Recognition of Qualifications,
 Development of UNESCO/OECD guidelines on “Quality provision in
Cross-Border Higher Education”

Association of African Universities
 Quality Assurance Support Programme for African Higher Education
Initial Findings:
 51 QAA Bodies in Africa, Made up of 46 Government Institutions
and 5 Professional Bodies. Several Countries have both
Government and Professional Bodies. Ghana, Morocco and
Tanzania have only Professional Bodies.
 32 of the 51 QAA Bodies in Africa have a mandate only on National
programmes, 9 have a mandate over Foreign programmes while 9
deal with both National and Foreign Programmes.
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The Association of African Universities
the AAU launched a new phase of its QA work in 2007 comprised of
three program components:
 Support for member universities of the AAU to develop strong
internal quality assurance mechanisms. This will include training of
self-evaluators and peer reviewers who would also be available to
serve in accreditation/audit panels set up by national QA agencies.
 Support to existing and emerging Quality Assurance/Accreditation
Agencies for development of capable external evaluation and
monitoring systems within national higher education systems.
 Development and implementation of a Regional Framework on
Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and other
Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in Africa, based on the
Arusha Convention, as an instrument to enhance inter-university
collaboration and student mobility.
Source: Association of African Universities (ND) Quality Assurance Support Programme for African
Higher Education – http://www.aau.org/qa/index.htm
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International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in
Higher Education (INQAAHE)
INQAAHE was established in 1991, with a handful of members. It has
grown to become a global network, with over 180 members in about
100 countries.
INQAAHE is promoting Regional Networks because of
 Geo-political considerations: governmental national or regional
decisions, or a commitment to integration, make it necessary to
develop specific arrangements (e.g., Bologna).
 Geographical or cultural proximity: logistics are less expensive is
easier; common languages; similar stages of development of HE
and QA schemes within a specific region or sub-region.
 Common interests, such as mobility, recognition of qualifications,
credit transfer, the impact of GATS.
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Global and Regional Networks of HEQA Agencies
NOQA
ENQA
CEENet
ASPA
CANQATE
ANQAHE
AfriQAn
RIACES
APQN
Source: Lemaitre, María José 2008 Global and Regional Networks for Quality Assurance. Presented
at the ACE 2008 Annual Meeting Latin-American Symposium for Accreditation in Higher Education
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African Quality Assurance Network for Higher Education
(AfriQAN)
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Functions and benefits of the African Quality Assurance
Network include:
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Assistance in good practice dissemination
Regional promotion and advocacy
Information support and assistance in organization of new quality
assurance agencies in places where they do not exist
Mutual cooperation into research in quality assurance
Cooperation in quality assessment and procedures’
improvements;
Development of compatible methodologies of national quality
assurance systems and mutual recognition of decisions;
Collective promotion of higher education.
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Cross-Border Higher Education and Distance Learning
A complex situation is being created by the growing number of CBHE
providers in Africa. These providers are either African or foreign
universities. Including: the African Virtual University, the Open
Universities of Tanzania, Nigeria and South Africa. Foreign
universities include the Colombia Southern University, the
Edinburgh Business School, the Herriot-Watt University and the
University of Delaware. etc.
Franchised higher education has also become a prominent feature of
CBHE in addition to institution mobility where the involvement of the
local HEI varies from simply providing the facilities to involvement in
curriculum design, teaching, quality control and assessment and
certification.
CBHE is also organized widely through Distance Learning and often
operates through agents that register with national trade authorities,
and so bypass the quality control of national educational authorities.
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Conclusions
The rapid adjustments in national education systems impacting on
African higher education present enormous difficulties and
challenges for all universities. These forces include:
 Globalisation;
 Advances in information technology;
 Increase in student numbers
 Student-centred learning; and
 Increased flexibility with the development of course credit-based
systems
The future for those institutions who fail to confront and adapt to these
issues is uncertain. Quality Assurance and Accreditation systems
especially those which are in collaboration within the continent and
between other regions of the world are essential for African
Universities to respond to demands of their stakeholders.
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University Avenue, University of Ghana, Legon
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Recommendations I
For Africa to achieve credible QAA for its universities we
need to address:
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The need to have clarity of purpose, terminology and
regulations;
The requirement to have transparency at all levels,
contributing to delivering trust by creating macro level
understanding and due diligence procedures in
developing partnerships;
The need for coherence in the practice of regulatory
bodies and independent bodies to assure the quality of
QA agencies (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?);
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Recommendations II
Africa also has
 The need to have Staff development and
capacity building in QAA as well as developing
systems to promote ownership of quality
assurance by faculty;
 The requirement for transferability of
qualifications within and between regions based
on the mutual recognition and status of degrees;
 The need to focus on student-centred issues/
approaches.
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The Way Forward
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The establishment of fora at the national, sub-regional
and regional levels where issues pertaining to QAA can
be discussed and developed;
The creation of mechanisms for sharing of best practice
between institutions of higher learning;
Greater corporation between international bodies
promoting and funding QAA activities in Africa;
Increased involvement of internal and external funders of
higher education in Africa with QAA issues; and
The institution of professional QAA bodies within
Universities in Africa.
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Centre for African Wetlands: University of Ghana, Legon
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Discussion
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Quality Assurance and Accreditation – Regional and Inter