West African universities in training on quality assurance

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Abuja  –  Representatives of universities across the West African sub-region on Tuesday in Abuja began training on how to improve and harmonise quality assurance in universities across the sub-region.

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The training, entitled Internal Quality Assurance in West Africa (TrainIQAfrica) has the theme “Quality Assurance of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Institutions’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and TrainIQAfrica.

Declaring open the training, Prof Julius Okojie, NUC’s Executive Secretary, said that due to importance attached to quality assurance in Nigerian universities, it had attracted the attention of many countries.

Okojie said that many countries had approached the commission with a view to adopting its model of quality assurance.

According to him, quality assurance goes beyond teaching and covers every factor that contributes to effective teaching and learning.

“Quality assurance also include having enough and quality teachers; quality of students and staff and good learning environment.

“You must provide a good learning and research environment; government has been doing that in the last five years by refurbishing all public institutions state and Federal.

“Many students are ahead of their teachers in terms of ICT; we must change our style of teaching and speak the language students understand,’’ Okojie said.
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Earlier, Dr Suleiman Ramon-Yusuf, NUC’s Director of Research and Innovation, said the workshop aimed at strengthening and harmonising standards across the sub-region.

“The objective of this workshop is to get the academic staff in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, among others, to get into the business of quality assurance.

“This workshop is part of the project which is aimed at building capacity along the West Africa sub-region for academic staff in the various universities to understand what quality means.

“At the sub-regional level, people have been talking about mutual recognition; you cannot talk about mutual recognition unless you have agreed on some standards.

“Common standards — when someone makes second class upper in Nigeria, is it same thing in Ghana? What is the grading system in Ghana? what is the curriculum that is being taught?’’

He said that the workshop also aimed at getting the participants to see how they themselves could be role players in ensuring quality in teaching and learning in their universities.

According to Ramon-Yusuf, external quality assurance agencies such as the NUC, have a role to play but a big burden lies on the universities.

He said that the universities were responsible for their own degrees; hence they must take responsibility for the quality of degrees they awarded.

“When we have capacity building workshops of this type, over time, we will be able to build a critical mass of people in universities.

“This critical mass can help us achieve harmonization which is a very critical step towards mutual recognition, credit transfer, and students’ mobility and so on.

“This is the early stage towards assuring quality and standards in the West African sub-region,’’ he said.

On her part, Evelyn Funk, Programme Coordinator, Train IQAfrica, said the workshop would prepare the participants for the implementation of effective quality assurance in their respective universities. (NAN)

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