The Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), the Regional Facilitation Unit for the ACE II Project, will launch Regional Programme Accreditation in July 2023. To bring the Africa Centers of Excellence (ACEs) to speed, IUCEA organized a workshop to explain to the ACEs how the accreditation process will work. This was successfully held on the 31st May and 1st June 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Accreditation of programmes is a disbursement linked indicator in the ACE II Project and disbursement of specified amounts occurs when a Masters or PhD programme is accredited by an international, regional and national body. The ACEs, which were launched in 2016, have obtained national accreditation for 234 academic programs out of which 24 have been internationally accredited. However, no ACE has attained regional accreditation because there are no accreditation bodies in the region.
IUCEA has developed Standards, Guideline, Procedures and Processes for regional accreditation of programmes to provide an appropriate framework to guide the accreditation process of programmes at the EAC regional level.
Competent assessors and reviewers of the programmes were competitively selected from across the African continent. African higher education institutions are invited to submit programmes to IUCEA. The regional accreditation is voluntary, quality based and complimentary and incremental to the respective national accreditation.
Only programmes that have received accreditation at the national level with Commissions, Councils or any other recognized accreditation body in the respective countries will be considered for Regional Accreditation.
“Our focus will be on a few cluster discipline areas of: Health Sciences, Animal Sciences, Agriculture, ICT, Data Sciences, Pharmacy and Science Education. As we continue to grow our capacity in the region, we shall gradually expand to other discipline areas,” said Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, Executive Secretary, IUCEA.
Prof. Michael Mawa, the Head of the Quality Assurance Unit at IUCEA emphasized, “Our team of reviewers and assessors are experts in their fields and have strong experience in national and international accreditation processes. International assessors and reviewers from the African Continent and from Europe, America and Asia will be involved in the EAC programme accreditation process.”
Prof. Grace Njoroge, Regional Facilitator and Trainer with IUCEA noted, “The East African Standards and Guidelines for regional programme accreditation are prepared in line with international Standards for recognition of quality transnational Higher Education. They will provide an accountability mechanism intended to ensure that academic programmes offered at the regional level are in the best public interest hence assure relevant stakeholders that high standard of quality is met in Higher Education training and research initiatives,”.
The regional accreditation is expected to provide a hallmark of excellence, and will therefore help improve the quality of programmes, pedagogical approaches of delivery, availability of facilities, quality of teachers and ultimately the quality and relevance of graduates in the region.