The project followed the Erasmus Mundus project Access to Success: Fostering Trust and Exchange between Europe and Africa (2008-2010), and continued the partnership between the European University Association (EUA) and the Association of African Universities (AAU). Access to Success explored good practice in access and retention, a pressing issue for universities in both continents, in capacity building partnership models, and in inter- and intraregional mobility, while this project focused on addressing the need to further bi-regional discussions on institutional development and quality assurance.
2. Project Objectives
- Further develop a central outcome of the Access to Success project, namely the need for assessing and enhancing institutional capacity for change and developing diverse environmentally responsive solutions to enable universities to fully contribute to social and economic development.
- Enhance international dialogue and cooperation on institutional development and quality assurance as core elements for partnership relations between universities in Europe and Africa.
- Foster exchange and networking between European and African experts in quality assurance through mutual training exercises.
- Build institutional links between African universities of different countries, and strengthen their regional perspective on quality assurance.
- Promote Europe as an attractive regional partner for African universities and associations, highlighting quality assurance as a critical attribute of the European Higher Education Area.
- Develop recommendations for the reorientation of universities with regards to governance, partnership with governmental agencies and relationship with quality assurance systems.
The basis for this project revolved around the methodology of the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP), an independent EUA service that stresses institutional responsibility in defining quality and the means to achieve it. It has evolved into a flexible tool for strategic development and become a distinct European approach to quality enhancement.
The project activities were implemented between October 2010 and September 2012 as follows:
- Institutional evaluations in five African universities in different regions of sub-Saharan Africa were carried out as a trial application. Given the general openness and flexibility of the methodology, the idea was not to impose new QA procedures on universities in Africa, but rather to encourage them to assess their institutional goals and mission, and share good European practice in this field (September 2011-February 2012).
- The evaluation visits, conducted by a team of international experts and preceded by a) training workshop for experts who are part of the evaluation teams and b) a preparatory workshop for the institutions evaluated, focusing specifically on how to prepare an institutional self-evaluation that forms the basis of the external evaluations. A final evaluation report was issued for each of the five institutions.
- The strengths and weaknesses of the exercise were debated in a post-evaluation workshop where not only the evaluated institutions participated, but also other institutions from Europe and Africa and regional/national QA agencies were invited to attend.
- A final dissemination conference in which the success of the exercise was discussed and recommendations for its wider application took place in June 2012.
4. Participating Universities
All relevant reports produced in the context of this project include:
The Africa Chapter of the Erasmus Mundus Alumni Association was an associated partner
The project was carried out with the support of the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Commission.