Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) Acting Director – Quality Assurance, Dr. Orleans Mfune, has stated that a shared understanding of quality is not possible in the absence of national standards.
Dr. Mfune said this yesterday during his presentation on the Zambia Standards & Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ZSG-QA) in Higher Education Validation Meetings being held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
Dr. Mfune stated that to achieve quality education, there was a need to develop a culture of quality and a shared understanding of quality.
“A quality education needs the development of internal and external policies, processes and systems for promoting quality, and an investment in physical and technological facilities,” Dr. Mfune said.
The Acting Director – Quality Assurance noted that ‘access and quality’, the 2 important dimensions of higher education, were the link between higher education and national development.
“The 7th National Development Plan states that access to quality, equitable and inclusive education is crucial to Zambia’s human capital development, whilst the National Higher Education Policy 2019 compounds this by stating that increased access to higher education and enhancement of its quality is required to meet national development aspirations,” he said.
Figure 6 Participants of ZSG-QA listen to Dr. Mfune’s presentation.
However, Dr. Mfune lamented that even though Zambia as a country has over the past decades done well in improving access to higher education through the establishment of new public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), the liberalisation of the HEI sector, and the provision of loans and bursaries, which has led to increased enrolments and graduation rates, quality still remained a challenge.
“One dimension remains a challenging goal, and that is of quality education,” he said, stating that quality education was the kind of education which was fit for purpose and responsive to learners, employers and societal needs.
Dr. Mfune stated that quality education was necessary for producing quality, skilled human resource with the capacity to identify opportunities and develop innovative means of exploring the country’s natural and cultural resources for national development.
In speaking of ZSG-QA, Dr. Mfune added that the ZSG-QA addressed the second dimension of higher education in national development policies and plans of quality enhancement.
“The quality enhancement is aimed at fostering a culture of quality in higher education in Zambia and the institutionalisation of quality assurance in HEIs,” he said.
The Acting Director – Quality Assurance stated that ZSG-QA was based on Africa Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA) in Higher Education, a continental quality assurance framework that seeks the harmonisation of African higher education quality assurance systems and fostering intra-Africa mobility of students and labour.
“ZSG-QA, which were benchmarked with Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African regional systems, are applicable to HEIs established under the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013, constituent colleges of HEIs, institutions affiliated to HEIs, and HEIs engaged in Open Distance and e-Learning,” he said.
This was the first of two sets of 2-day Validation Meetings scheduled, with the second set of meeting being conducted on the Copperbelt next week.
The ZSG-QA Validation Meetings included participants from the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZAQA), and Vice-Chancellors of HEIs or their representatives.
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