Representatives of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), who recently travelled to Ghana to attend Quality Assurance Knowledge and Skills for the 21st Higher Education Personnel Workshop says the seminar is likely to unlock doors towards the improvement of quality higher education among members of the Association of African Universities (AAU).
Dr. Adamson Thengolose who is NCHE Quality Assurance Manager (Academic) at NCHE and was lead representative, said this after a 4 member Quality Assurance delegation returned from the conference in Tamale, Ghana.
Apart from Dr. Thengolose, the other three participants from NCHE included Professor Dixie Maluwa-Banda; Quality Assurance Specialist (Academic) Mr. Elias Selengo and Mrs. Susan Manyetera who is the Quality Assurance Specialist (Operations).
The 4 day conference was held under the theme “Revitalizing the 21st Century Higher Education Quality Assurance Personnel, Systems, Tools, Processes and Procedures.”
According to Dr. Thengolose, the agenda of the conference among others, was to enhance quality assurance knowledge and skills; how to improve quality of higher education; how to develop a quality culture and how to harmonize African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation.
The meeting also dwelled on the importance of continental information on higher and tertiary education.
“The conference noted that development players now concur that for any meaningful and sustainable economic growth to be realized and sustained, tertiary education must be centrally placed in the development agenda of nations.
“Countries around the world are striving to build the sector as part of their priority strategic development plans. This is why building a tertiary education system is no more a luxury but a national and continental imperative critical for Africa’s development and global competitiveness,” said Thengolose.
“In addition, worldwide research on teaching in higher Education has revealed that most of the institutional personnel do not have the knowledge and skills for quality assurance, a situation which has further been aggravated by poor to no orientation and induction of new personnel which can compromise quality,” he added.
Speaking on the sidelines of the lead representative, another NCHE member from Quality Assurance and Accreditation department Elias Selengo, said some of the notable challenges the workshop tried to resolve include, less sensitization and awareness of what quality in higher education is all about and the current continental and regional activities related to quality assurance, resistance to quality assurance in higher education institutions as well as acceptance rate of quality assurance in general by higher education community, among others.
“Some of the objectives of the meeting were to share knowledge and information on the important endowments and characteristics of the robust higher education quality assurance; to equip participants with the background knowledge that informs good quality assurance in higher education; to foster cooperation with other quality assurance officers of higher education within the continent; to disseminate quality assurance endeavors and benchmarks in African higher education through all the possible means of communication; and to encourage harmonization of African higher education through the African standards,” Selengo explained.
According to a report released by the National Council for higher Education, Malawi is the only one with less quality assurance officers compared to all member countries something that can alter thorough execution of quality education assessment.
Member countries in the Association of African Universities that attended the workshop include Ghana, Malawi, Togo, Gambia, Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
NCHE’s mandate is regulate, promote and coordinate education offered by higher education institutions in Malawi.
Some of its major functions include to design and recommend an institutional quality assurance system for higher education and to recommend to the Minister of education institutional quality assurance standards for the establishment, standardization and accreditation of higher education institutions.