HEA to Conduct Nationwide Joint Audit of Health HEIs with HPCZ – Prof. Simukanga

Higher Education Authority (HEA) Director-General, Prof. Stephen Simukanga, has said that HEA will conduct a joint audit with the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ) on all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) offering health programmes in Zambia.

Prof. Simukanga said this on Thursday, 2nd February, 2023, at Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre (KKICC) when he delivered remarks at the consultative meeting organised by HPCZ to consult with HEA and HEIs offering health programmes in Zambia. However, these excluded HEIs offering health programmes that fall under the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Zambia (NMCZ).

Prof. Simukanga stated that the joint audit was paramount as it would provide the basis for engaging HEIs offering health programmes.

“We are planning on a joint audit with HPCZ for 2023,” he said, adding, “this will be a baseline audit of all higher education institutions offering health programmes that will be used as the basis of engaging these institutions going forward.”

The Director-General elaborated that in the wake of the Higher Education (Amendment) Act, 2021, which brought all HEIs under the purview of HEA, the role of the Authority was not to close HEIs but offer quality assurance.

“HEA is not there to close institutions,” Prof. Simukanga said, continuing, “our role is to provide quality assurance through continuous improvement which we shall achieve through continuous engagement of higher education institutions.”

Prof. Simukanga further added that HEA and the higher education sector were in a transition period following the assenting of the Amendment Act but before the Statutory Instrument operationalising the Act was issued.

“We did not want to wait for the Statutory Instrument to be issued for us to engage you, so, as some of you can attest, we have started engaging you,” Prof. Simukanga said, emphasising, “during this transition period, we are working on how to collaborate with professional bodies like HPCZ, TCZ (Teaching Council of Zambia) and NMCZ.”

The Director-General noted that, according to the provisions of the Act, the professional bodies would approve the curriculum of a learning programme. However, he stated that a learning programme goes beyond the curriculum.

“Just having a curriculum approved is not enough,” he said, continuing, “there are many things around the curriculum to look at, including notional hours, that is the time spent by students on learning the subject matter, and student management system for example, the HEIs policy on refund.”

HEA will communicate with ample warning when each HEI is to  be audited.