European University Association, EUA, recently published a report on the outcomes of a two year pilot project with the Association of African Universities (AAU) on quality assurance systems in Africa. The project is titled: Europe-Africa Quality Connect: Building Institutional Capacity through Partnership (QA Connect) and the core aim was to test EUAs Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) feasability in Africa.
IEP has been carried out in Europe since 1994, and is in essence either a single institution evaluation, or focused on specific region or country. The instruments are focused on self-evaluation and two site visits by external experts who produce a report either on the whole institution or with emphasis on specific areas. The core goal is to focus on improving institutions abilities to reach their specific strategic goals, thus the focus is not on accountability and accreditation but improvement, and the evaluation does not lead to formal accreditation.
The recent project examined the usefulness of a similar approach to African universities and five different African institutions were selected for testing, including Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria), Institute of Professional Studies (Ghana), Kenyatta University (Kenya), University of Namibia (Namibia) and Université Omar Bongo (Republic of Gabon). The report indicates a successful pilot project with positive feedback from the institutions, and potential externalities also to developing national quality assurance systems.
Download the whole report here (.pdf).
You can read more about the IEP programme in the review conducted by EUA in 2005.