Bujumbura, September 8, 2023 – The 12th Annual East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Forum [EAQAN] is currently underway in Bujumbura, Burundi under the theme: “Nurturing Emerging Trends in Higher Education through quality Assurance”.
The Forum, which kicked off on September 5, 2023, provides an opportunity to higher education professionals, experts and other stakeholders in East African Community [EAC] to reflect on the place of quality assurance in nurturing emerging trends in higher education not only in the region, but the continent and beyond.
The conference being attended by Heads of national commissions and councils for higher education, vice chancellors, other higher education managers, quality assurance coordinators and partitioners, higher education development partners and other invited experts who presented the results of their research on various topics including transformative teaching and learning in higher education, programme accreditation, competence-based education, ethics in online delivery, role of Quality Assurance [QA] in research and innovation in higher education among others.
“I am glad to learn that the forum has been organised in a such a way that, apart from discussions, we will also have a room for experience sharing, good practices excursions, benchmarking, reflections and networking, with a focus to give higher education an opportunity to reflect on the place of quality assurance in higher education,” said Prof. Frederic Bangirinama, permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, Burundi.
“As the Inter-University Council for East Africa, we believe in the potential power of networks like the East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Network as a tool to advance a common agenda. Their roles can widely vary but their collective impact is significant in driving positive change and addressing complex challenges like the ones the region is currently facing as we forge our way to improve quality education and build a more resilient and competitive EAC higher education,” said Banyankimbona.
The Keynote Speaker, Prof. Mike Kuria, the Chief Executive Officer, Commission for University Education, Kenya challenged the participants to reflect on the place of the current Internal Quality Assurance [IQA] systems in higher education institutions in responding to the emerging issues in higher education including the issue of Artificial Intelligence, even as he warned higher education policymakers and managers on the Africa’s youth Bulge.
“They can be gold at the bottom if well skilled and employed or employable or they can be ticking time bomb if wrongly skilled and thus unemployed and unemployable,” said Kuria.
“The 12th EAQAN forum is expected to come up with sound recommendations and statements of commitment from higher education quality assurance practitioners and higher education managers to not only confront challenges that impede the achievement of the goal to establish and maintain quality assurance in higher education, but also constraints that hinder desired transformations in higher education,” said Dr. Baguma Abdallah, President of EAQAN.
EAQAN is a network of quality assurance practitioners in the EAC Partner States. Its history can be traced back to 2007 and 2008 when the Inter University Council for East Africa [IUCEA], German Academic Exchange Service [DAAD], the German Rectors Conference [HRK], East African partner states and national commissions and councils selected and trained over 45 quality assurance officers/coordinators from universities and national commissions and councils.
The training of quality assurance/coordinators was part of the capacity-building process to strengthen the internal QA [quality assurance] systems in universities in East Africa. The QA officers were to play a key role in implementing a regional QA project.
Since then, EAQAN, in conjunction with IUCEA, DAAD, HRK, national commissions/councils and other key strategic partners, has organized annual QA forums in Kigali in 2013, Arusha in 2014 and Nairobi in 2015.
The membership to EAQAN include national quality assurance networks of universities and higher education institutions within the partner states; universities and higher education institutions that are members of IUCEA; national commissions and councils responsible for ensuring quality of higher education in the partner states; and individuals actively involved in higher education quality assurance initiatives in the East African partner states.
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