Assuring Quality, Excellence and Relevance in African Universities

Universities in Africa have suffered from sporadic support, resulting in uneven development and varying quality. In a global knowledge economy with rapid changes in innovation and technology and increasing demand of the labor market for skilled human resource, African leaders and stakeholders are putting in place policies, frameworks and mechanisms aimed at strengthening the continent’s higher education and research space, with quality, excellence and relevance as priority areas of focus. Investing in universities in Africa is critical for developing an inclusive and diverse knowledge society that can advance research, innovation and creativity to accelerate Africa’s development.

Quality in this brief refers to higher education’s fitness to meet standards defined by quality assurance bodies and appropriate academic and professional bodies. In higher education, quality encompasses all functions and activities namely academic programs, human resource, students, teaching and learning, infrastructure and research and innovation as defined within the context of national cultural values and developmental goals and aspirations.

Relevance in this context refers to training graduates to think critically, continually update knowledge and skills and effectively use existing and emerging opportunities to innovate and create jobs in a rapidly changing global knowledge economy. 

Excellence refers to development of world-class higher education systems that produces skilled graduates especially those with expertise in areas of high demand such as science technology and innovation.