UPSA, others sign MOU with University of Duisburg-Essen

The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and three other institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany to promote internal quality assurance in higher education institutions in Africa.

Other partners in the MOU were the Association of African Universities (AAU), the National Accreditation Board, Ghana and the Nigerian Universities Commission.

A statement issued by James Afedo of UPSA Public Affairs Directorate and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday said, the signing ceremony took place at UPSA, following a two-day project advisory board meeting held in Accra.

The project, “Train IQ Africa”, is being funded by the German Academic Exchange Service.

According to the Project Coordinator and Head of the Centre for Higher Education Development and Quality Enhancement at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, Dr. Solveig Randhahn, the project is about developing the capacity of internal Quality Assurance (QA) officers in universities in West Africa to ensure internal quality in higher education.

“We plan to organise training sessions for QA officers of higher education institutions in Anglophone and Francophone West Africa,” she stated.

She noted that the project would focus on five related issues of internal quality assurance, including a focus on what it means to do effective quality assurance management in higher education institutions, the necessary tools and procedures used to implement quality assurance structures and the methods of data collection and evaluation.

“We also have a module on curriculum design and evaluation, as well as a focus on teaching and learning.

“We will discuss issues such as the learning outcomes and their connection to quality assurance, because there has been a shift from teaching to leaning, and the focus of outcome-based learning now dominates procedures.

“In addition, we will look at another module on information management, and finally how to develop a quality culture in universities,” Dr. Randhahn said.

The Dean of Graduate Studies at the UPSA, Professor Goski Alabi, who is the main local facilitator of the Project noted that the University was identified by the project initiators and the funding partners to be the main implementing partner because of its expertise and capabilities in the area of QA.

“In the past, we have participated in various quality assurance projects, workshops and conferences, so the choice of our University came as a result of our experience and an appreciation of our commitment to developing quality management practices in the region,” she stated.

Prof. Alabi further noted that the UPSA was particularly enthusiastic about the project because of its focus on quality management.

She said: “We happen to be the first University in Africa to introduce an MBA programme in Total Quality Management; that shows our commitment to developing the capacity for quality management practices in Africa.

“We realise that generally, Africa needs to enhance its capacity in this area, particularly for universities and that is exactly what this project brings on board.

“So we are very happy to be a part of it, and we believe that as members of the advisory board, our participation would go a long way to promote and support the project.”

The Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board, Ghana, Mr. Richard K. Adjei, said the internal quality assurance training project is a timely project, because it would support the quality of tertiary education in Ghana in particular, and the West African sub-region in general.

He said the Board would replicate the experience to maximise the benefits of the project nationally. “Once people have been trained, we can replicate the training nationally,” he stated.

Dr. Pascal Andoh Hoba, the Director of Knowledge Management, ICT and Services at the AAU, one of the implementing partners of the project noted that the training materials designed as part of the project are very practical in nature, and could be used beyond this project.

He said: “At the end of the project, we will share these tools with other African higher education institutions. The role of the AAU is to bring other institutions that are not part of this training to also benefit from the knowledge and skills of the new trainers. So in respect of replication, we think that this is the best approach and is very cost effective.”

About 30 participants from universities across the West African sub-region will benefit from the training project which is expected to last for about a year and half.

It began with the first two planning meetings, followed by the selection of the 30 candidates out of a pool of 45.

This will be followed by a high level learning visit of Vice-Chancellors of the various participating universities to Germany, to prepare them to provide the strategic and operational support required for the project. GNA

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