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Europe-Africa Quality Connect: Building Institutional Capacity through Partnership
Start date: Oct 1, 2010,

Background:As Europe has developed its regional discussions on quality assurance under the Bologna process, global trends beyond Europe's borders have also grown in interest and relevance. Furthermore, Europe is increasingly attractive not only as a study destination for students around the globe but as a partner in higher education cooperation. Higher education institutions in Europe are increasingly pressured and incentivized to develop international contacts, programmes and exchanges, though many are faced with fundamental questions regarding the quality of the institutions with which they partner, and the general quality of the collaboration. This project will follow-up on the Erasmus Mundus project Access to Success: Fostering Trust and Exchange between Europe and Africa (2008-2010), in which the European University Association (EUA) and the Association African Universities (AAU) have been leading partners. The project explored good practices in access and retention, a pressing issue for universities in both continents, capacity building partnerships models and in inter- and intraregional mobility. One concrete recommendation that has surfaced is the need to further bi-regional discussions on institutional development and quality assurance.Project Objectives:- Take up a central outcome of the Access to Success project, namely the need for assessing and enhancing institutional capacity for change and for developing diverse environmentally responsive solutions in order to enable universities to deliver their full contribution to social and economic development- Enhance international dialogue and cooperation on institutional development and quality assurance, as core elements for partnership relations between universities in Europe and Africa- Foster exchanges and networking between European and African experts in quality assurance, through mutual training exercises - Build institutional links between African universities of different countries, and strengthen their regional perspective on the topic of quality assurance- Promote Europe as an attractive regional partner for African universities and associations, highlighting quality assurance as critical attribute of the European Higher Education Area- Develop recommendations for the reorientation of universities with regards to governance, partnership with governmental agencies and relationship to quality assurance systems.Activities:The basis for this project will revolve around the methodology of the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP), an independent EUA service that stresses the institutional responsibility in defining quality and the means to achieve it. It has become a distinct European approach to quality enhancement and a flexible tool for strategic development. This project intends to share the IEP approach with five African universities in different regions of sub-Saharan Africa as a trial application. Given the general openness and flexibility of the methodology, the idea is not to impose new QA procedures on universities in Africa, but rather to encourage them to assess their institutional goals and mission and the structures and activities in this context in a structured way, and share good European practice in this field. Regional associations in Africa committed to promoting institutional develop will contribute to refining the methodology of five institutional trial evaluations. The evaluation visits, which form part of the programme and are conducted by a team of international experts, would be proceeded by training workshops for a) the new pool of African experts who would be part of the evaluation teams on the visits and b) a preparatory workshop for the institutions who will be evaluated, focusing specifically on how to prepare an institutional self-evaluation that will be the basis of the external evaluations. A final evaluation report will be issued for each of the 5 institutions. The strengths and weaknesses of the exerc

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