African and European Education experts met in Accra (Ghana) from 21-22 May 2015 to brainstorm and reach consensus on the process of establishing a Pan-African Quality assurance and Accreditation Framework for education and possible operational modalities.
Following the African Union decision on establishing a continental Accreditation agency for higher education the AU Commission (AUC) has initiated the development of a Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF), in collaboration with the European Commission (EC) and the Association of African Universities (AAU). With the support of the JAES Support Mechanism, a study was conducted to determine the feasibility of successfully implementing a continental QAF and from its findings, propose the steps that can lead to the development of the framework.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the : African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES), African Council for Distance Education (ACDE), Association of African Universities (AAU), African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN), AUC, EC, Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), International Tuning Academy, National Council of Higher Education Quality Assessment (CNAQ) of Mozambique, Southern African Regional University Association (SARUA), and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Based on the discussions, the stakeholders agreed that:
- Developing a PAQAF is needed to establish harmonized quality assurance practices on the African continent;
- Political commitment and endorsement by AU member states is essential to ensure the establishment of a legal framework for supporting the process;
- PAQAF success rests upon the acknowledgement of its necessity by universities as well as national and regional quality assurance (QA) and accreditation agencies;
- Sustained funding for the framework needs to be ensured;
- QA and accreditation concepts should be well conceptualized and be duly understood by all stakeholders.
The roles and the mandate of the continental QA and accreditation agency were also clarified.
A second meeting will be held in Accra from 29-30 July 2015 to validate the process for establishing a Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF) with stakeholders, involving national and regional QA/Accreditation Agencies as well as Ministries of Higher Education across the continent.