23 November 2023 | EQAF Paper

Capacity building in quality assurance through international cooperation: key takeaways from the HAQAA2 initiative for four experts from European agencies

Sophie Guillet, Alexis Vermote, Bastien Brodard, Marie-Jo Goedert

"There is no doubt that education plays a fundamental role in the development of nations”. (ASG-QA, p.9).

The African standards and guidelines for quality assurance in higher education (ASG-QA) begin with these introductory words, thus recalling the importance of higher education and making QA a tool to support the development of countries.

Cooperation in QA in higher education is an important part of the joint strategy of the African and the European Unions. The HAQAA2 initiative (Harmonisation of African Higher Education, Quality Assurance and Accreditation) was launched within this framework. In this context, four experts from the founding agencies of the French-speaking network of quality agencies for higher education, FrAQ-Sup (AAQ, AEQES, CTI and Hcéres) have participated in consultancy visits and agency reviews of four Francophone African counterpart agencies.

Although QA crosses borders, which facilitates dialogue between countries, each higher education system is unique. This explains the diversity of practices among agencies worldwide. The four European experts involved in the consultancy visits and agency reviews were able to learn from such cultural differences shaping QA tools, the diversification of agencies’ missions and the involvement of stakeholders using a “fitness for purpose” approach. When engaging in such international projects, agencies continue to learn about QA, as if it was a dedicated lifelong learning tool and are encouraged to take a reflexive approach to their own practices. This paper thus aims to present the results of a capacity-building experience in QA through international cooperation and its takeaways for four European agency representatives.

This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.

ISSN: 1375-3797

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