Africa Center of Excellence ACE2

IUCEA Trains Assessors for EAC Regional Programme Accreditation

The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) held a training workshop for Assessors for the East African Community (EAC) Regional Programme Accreditation in Nairobi, Kenya.

The training, held on May 23 – 24, 2024, (see overview and objectives) was organized to equip the assessors with the necessary knowledge and skills to utilize the developed standards, guidelines, norms and tools to ensure that the assessment and review processes are objectively and professionally done.

“This training is not only about producing regional experts in programme assessment but also to build your capacity as programme developers and experts in your own institutions,” said Prof Gaspard Banyankimbona, IUCEA Executive Secretary. The participants were drawn from various higher education institutions in East Africa as well from the Africa Centers of Excellence at universities in Malawi and Mozambique.

Since 2006, IUCEA has been developing a regional Quality Assurance system as part of its mandate to harmonise standards of higher education in the EAC. In 2020, IUCEA embarked on the development of a framework for regional programme accreditation built on the Quality Assurance Framework. Programme accreditation was one such initiative that seeks to improve quality and harmonise standards. In 2023 IUCEA made its first call for assessors to express interest to train as regional programme accreditation assessors.

The response to the call was overwhelming and as such all qualified assessors could not be trained at the same time. IUCEA decided to have cohorts and the current training is the second cohort. The selection to participate was made basing on seven key thematic areas: Human health, animal science, engineering, ICT, Education, Pharmacy, Agricultural Sciences and Data Sciences.

Dr Dorothee Weyler, the Africa Regional Director for German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) noted that DAAD’s interest in the workshop was a big one. “We are mandated to assist universities on the ground in internationalization, support high standards in the region and in the harmonization of higher education across the EAC,” she said.

While talking about the 20-year-old collaboration between the DAAD and the Inter-University Council for East Africa, Dr Weyler said that the two institutions have common goals and a common vision: To enhance the quality of the management of higher education in East Africa and to harmonise academic programs.

The long term partnership, she said, was formalized through an MoU and the two institutions have agreed on a master plan which is guiding activities to harmonise education systems throughout East Africa and strengthen institutions. DAAD is supporting the assessor’s training by facilitating the engagement of international experts in programme accreditation.

To attain the EAC regional accreditation, a programme must be accredited at the national level by the National Council or Commission for higher education in the respective country.

The regional accreditation is expected to provide a hallmark of excellence and improve the quality of programmes, pedagogical approaches, quality of facilities, quality of teachers and ultimately the quality and relevance of graduates in the region. It will also ensure recognition of qualifications and mobility of students, staff and labour. This will ultimately promote regional integration.