Inter-Country Quality Nodes (ICQN)

Background and History

The inter-country quality nodes serve as catalysts in the process of accumulation of information on innovative educational experiences in Africa and for the implementation of the lessons that each country or group of countries draws from those experiences to improve their own programs. These nodes which bring together representatives of education ministries from different countries to address issues designated as national priorities that are already included in current programs. The countries concerned form a network for discussion and sharing of problems they have encountered and solutions they have tried. They take a joint problem-solving approach, in which they are supported by one or more specialized national and/or regional institutions allied with a strategic partner (ADEA working group or expert international institution).

Knowledge sharing among peers and expert support contribute to on-the-job capacity building for those who are engaged both in the regional network and in implementation of their national programs.

Since the creation of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Quality of Education in 2002, ADEA has initiated several ICQN as follow up mechanism to the 2003 and 2006 Biennales.

Follow up on the Maputo Biennale (May, 2008)

To follow up on the Maputo Biennale (May, 2008), ADEA will take a highly flexible, pragmatic approach in order to identify initiatives taken by groups of countries relating to the lessons drawn from experiences presented at the Biennale; to analyze the implications of these initiatives in terms of operational goals, methodological and conceptual approaches, roles and responsibilities; and to define jointly - among ministries, cooperation agencies, working groups, Secretariat, etc. - the processes, stages and procedures for implementing activities stemming from these initiatives.
In constituting the inter-country quality nodes, we will need to be flexible and pragmatic and to consider the following possibilities:

  • Grouping of countries along the lines of the six regions currently represented in ADEA (Southern Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa, North Africa and Indian Ocean);
  • Grouping of countries based on current educational initiatives (SACMEQ, PASEC) or along other lines (such as the Lusophone countries) or on Africa's regional economic communities (SADC, ECOWAS, CEMAC, etc.);
  • Grouping of a certain number of countries around shared challenges and themes (teacher training, use of African languages, post-primary education, pre-vocational and vocational training, education in rural areas, etc.).

Considering that the initiative for activities involving inter-country quality nodes lies primarily with the countries concerned, and in order to make a rapid start on the follow-up to the Maputo Biennale or other initiatives at country or regional level, the following steps are proposed:

  • Ministers, both those who are and are not Bureau members, identify a challenge common to several countries in their region and a topic of common interest.
  • They discuss the matter with their peers and decide what process they wish to initiate, and the various stages and procedures of that process (sub-regional consultations, possible formation of teams to carry out the work, definition of shared objectives, expected results, joint activities and deadlines).
  • They also specify their expectations regarding any support from partners such as educational research institutions, cooperation agencies, ADEA working groups and the ADEA Secretariat.
  • They identify, if possible, agencies or institutions operating in their regions and in the field of activity selected that are liable to support their initiatives.
  • They establish a direct dialogue with the regional or national representatives of these agencies or institutions.
  • They inform the ADEA Secretariat of their initiatives and specify what kind of support they may need from it.

The ADEA Working groups

The ADEA Working groups participate in accordance with the direction taken by their activities and the information available to them at the country and regional levels:

  • They inform ministers and the Secretariat of concerns that might be addressed by sub-regional and regional initiatives.
  • They identify sources of expertise, both individual and institutional, that could play a role in these nodes and inform ministers and the Secretariat of same.
  • They notify ministers and the Secretariat of the roles and responsibilities that they themselves are able and willing to assume in the inter-country quality nodes.

The Secretariat

  • Exchanges information with ministers and cooperation agencies on current or upcoming initiatives at regional level, on their interests and their capacity to provide support, as well as on the terms and conditions of partnership and support.
  • Discusses with working group leaders and coordinators the activities that these groups and the Secretariat can conduct in support of the inter-country quality nodes.
  • On the basis of all the information provided by ministers, agencies and working groups, it finalizes an operation plan to implement the activities of the inter-country quality nodes.

There are currently six ICQNs