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The Association of African Universities (AAU), has appointed Professor Stephen Simukanga as Chairperson of UbuntuNet Alliance for a second term following the resolution by the UbuntuNet Alliance Board of Trustees to renew the term of office.

Article 8.1 of the constitution of UbuntuNet Alliance mandates the AAU to oversee the appointment of the Chairperson of the Alliance in collaboration with the Board of Trustees.

At its 61st meeting held on 8th September 2020, the Board of Trustees unanimously resolved to reappoint Prof. Stephan Simukanga, who serves as the Director General of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in Zambia, for another three-year term of office until September 2023 following a satisfactory performance.

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, AAU Secretary General, confirmed Prof. Simukanga’s reappointment in a written communication dated 9th November, 2020.

Prof. Simukanga was first appointed Chairperson of UbuntuNet Alliance on 20th September, 2017, following a successful completion of a search process conducted by a Search Committee established by the AAU.

In his acceptance speech, Prof. Simukanga expressed gratitude to the UbuntuNet Alliance Board of Trustees and the rest of the community for entrusting him with the noble cause of Chairing what he described as an “important Network” and pleaded for continued support from the community.

In January 2019, Prof. Simukanga was elected Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of Science in developing countries becoming the first Zambian to be elected to this prestigious and elite academy.

Later in October, the HEA Director General was also elected Chairperson of the Natural Sciences (SC) commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the 40th Session of the General Conference that took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

Moreover, Prof. Simukanga is a United Kingdom Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the Engineering Institution of Zambia and boasts of 26 years of experience in the mining industry and academia.

A former member of the Board of Trustees of the Alliance (2013-2015), he has previously served as Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Metallurgy at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and has been a visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town for 10 years. He also serves as Chairperson of ZCI Limited.

He received a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Metallurgy and Mineral Processing from UNZA in 1982 and 1986 respectively, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Process Metallurgy from the University of Strathcylde in the United Kingdom.

 

*This article was first published on 11th November, 2020, on https://ubuntunet.net/. HEA has republished it courtesy of UbuntuNet. All edits are those made by HEA.

 

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Happy 64th Birthday, Mr. President

The Board, Management and Staff of the Higher Education Authority would like to wish His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, a happy, joyous and prosperous 64th Birthday.

General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State, said of a leader, “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

Your Excellency, your championing of higher education, coupled with your Government’s unwavering support of the sector, emboldens the Authority, through the Ministry of Higher Education and its Honourable Minister, Dr. Brain Mushimba, M.P., to continue “Ensuring a Quality Higher Education” that will build a strong and vibrant Zambia.

Your Excellency, Happy Birthday. May your cup overflow with goodness, health and long life.

Send in your birthday messages for His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we shall publish it on our Facebook page.*

Continue wishing the Republican President a Happy Birthday @HEAZambia on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayDrMushimba #HEAZambia #HigherEducationZambia, and visit our website for ALL the information on higher education in Zambia.

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The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has commended the contributions that private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have made in ensuring increased diversity of Learning Programmes (LP) available in Zambia.

Speaking when he featured on Life TV’s News Report Current Affairs Talk Show yesterday, HEA’s Manager – Standards, Research and Institutional Audits, Dr. Orleans Mfune, stated that the increase in the number of HEIs has resulted into there being an increase in the number of places available for students to enrol into and in the varied LPs from which to choose.

“Private universities should not be seen as a negative element, they provide an important service to fill a very important gap,” Dr. Mfune said, adding, “Government alone cannot actually manage (to provide higher education to everyone) and the private universities are providing a service to meet the demand that is there.”

Dr. Mfune noted that statistics have shown that only 20% of high school graduates in Zambia manage to enter university, elucidating the sobering fact that the majority of people that pass Grade 12 do not make it to university, mainly due to limited space. Thus, private universities provide an avenue to increase access to university education.

The Manager – Standards, Research and Institutional Audits was featured on the show to discuss the alleged mushrooming of universities purporting to be credible and legitimate.

“When people talk about mushrooming, I know they are talking about private universities (but) this is a phenomenon that will be with us,” he said, adding, “but I have to assure the viewers because sometimes we take this as a negative.”

In drawing the parallel with the alarming number of Grade 12s who fail to enter higher education even with full certificates due to limited places, Dr. Mfune elaborated that the main concern should not necessarily be the perceived number of HEIs but how to safeguard the quality provision of higher education by these HEIs.

“The main concern that our stakeholders should have is how we safeguard the quality of education in these universities,” Dr. Mfune said, stating that that it was through the processes that HEA had put in place that safeguard against a decline in quality and ensure that quality is maintained.

Dr. Mfune added that these quality assurance processes include accreditation of Learning Programmes (LPs), auditing of HEIs, and classification of HEIs, a process which the Authority has recently began to place HEIs in categories defined by the Zambia Qualifications Framework (ZQF) depending on their capacity to offer higher education.

 

Figure 2 Dr. Orleans Mfune, Ms. Bweupe and HE Corporate Communications Officer, Mr. Birbal Boniface Musoba, take a picture after the interview.

 

Watch Dr. Mfune’s Full Interview on Life TV

Click Here https://youtu.be/Tr_BuHPlb2E

In case you missed the full interview of the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) Manager – Standards, Research and Institutional Audits, Dr. Orleans Mfune, when he featured on Life TV’s News Report Current Affairs Talk Show, you can watch now.

The interview touched on a number of pertinent issues in higher education including how highlighting in detail the three (3) stages an institution goes through in order for it to be registered, the rate at which HEA audits Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and the penalties HEA imposes on HEIs that compromise quality provision of higher education.

Share your thoughts with us by commenting your question on the video and we shall respond to them in depth.

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The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) held a consultative meeting with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in order to finalise the resolutions of the overlaps in other statutory regulations that affects the Draft Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

This meeting followed a series of consultative Technical Meetings that MoHE held with key stakeholders in the higher education sector on the proposed Draft Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in order to get input that would harmonise the existing statutes in order for the Draft Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to be effectively implemented.

The resolutions of the overlaps with current statutes were important in order for the Draft Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020 not to be drafted in isolation of the existing statutes that empower certain authorities and institutions to carry out functions that should be reserved for the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The conflicting legislations that were identified and worked on include the Zambia Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Act No.4 of 2014, the Zambia Institute of Marketing Act No.14 of 2003, the National Institute of Public Administration Act No.15 of 1998, the Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply Act No.15 of 2003, the Accountants Act No.13 of 2008, the National Council for Construction Act No.13 of 2003, the Zambia Institute for Tourism and Hospitality Studies Act No. 42 of 2016, the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) Act No. 17 of 2010, the Health Professions Act No.24 of 2009, the Nurses and Midwives Act No.10 of 2019, the Zambia Qualifications Authority Act No. 13 of 2011, the ZIHRM Act No.11 of 1997, the ZIALE Act No. No.37 of 1996, and, the TCZ Act No.5 of 2013.

The meeting, which was held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka, was facilitated by HEA.

 

Figure: Ms. Mwenya Bwalya, Chief Parliamentary Council, MoJ, chairs the meetings.

 

 

Figure: Mr. Bonaventure Mutale, Senior Planning and Information Officer, MoHE, leads the meeting through the various

 

Figure: Prof. Stephen Simukanga, Director General, HEA, contributes to the proceedings.

 

Figure: Dr. Vitalicy Chifwepa, Director - Quality Assurance, HEA, makes his contributions during the meeting.

 

 

Figure: Mr. Succeed Mubanga, Director - Planning and Information, MoHE, makes a submission to the meeting.

 

  

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The Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) Acting Director General, Dr. Vitalicy Chifwepa, has challenged the Programme Accreditation Evaluators the Authority uses to accredit Learning Programmes (LPs) from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to champion quality assurance in Zambia.

Speaking during the opening of the Orientation Workshop for Programme Accreditation Evaluators which was held last Friday at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Dr. Chifwepa stated that the Programme Accreditation Evaluators should champion quality assurance through their expertise and experience rather than the institutions or HEIs at which they work.

“We expect you to be champions of quality assurance with respect to LPs that is why we are a bit ‘shy’ to talk about you as members of your respective institutions because we consider you as having expertise and experience in your various areas of study and, as such, you are expected to go to institutions other than where you work and help us look at the LPs on behalf of the Zambian Government,” he said.

The Acting Director General further stated that by looking at the LPs, the Programme Accreditation Evaluators will be able to certify that the LPs qualify for accreditation in that these LPs lead to national qualifications in their particular area of study.

“We will call upon you to help us assess the standards of accreditation as well, for example, if we look at an LP like Geology, you should be able to ascertain if it should be taught the way it was taught in 1975 or if there are new areas that need to be incorporated today that are relevant to the LP,” Dr. Chifwepa stated, adding that the nature of accreditation standards is that they are dynamic.

With 1,256 LPs already submitted for accreditation to the Authority, and many more estimated still to be submitted, Dr. Chifwepa noted that HEA cannot have all the expertise inhouse to evaluate these LPs, thus, the Authority works with a committee of experts drawn from academic institutions and industry who are selected solely on the basis of their expertise and experience.

For the last week’s workshop, experts in the following fields, amongst others, were oriented: Psychology, Medical Diagnostic Radiography, Insurance and Pension Management, Applied Linguistics, Physiotherapy, Geology, Metallurgy, Pathology, Medicine and Surgery, and, Civil and Mechanical Engineering.

The Acting Director General emphasised that the Programme Accreditation Evaluators needed to embody one of HEA’s core values of integrity in order for them to effectively execute their duties as they visit HEIs that they might have come across in their respective professional careers.

Participants of the workshop practicing social distancing in accordance with the laid down health guidelines in view of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) this week (4th August to Friday, 7th August, 2020) held a series of consultative Technical Meetings with key stakeholders in the higher education sector on the proposed Draft Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The meetings were held following a directive from the Internal Legislative Committee of Cabinet Meeting in June, 2020, to ensure consensus was built in the process of amending the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013 to deal with  conflicting and overlapping functions of various statutory bodies regarding the registration of institutions and accreditation of Learning Programmes (LPs) in higher education. 

The Technical Meetings were held at Radisson Blu Hotel from Tuesday to Friday and were segmented into four Clusters to ensure adherence to the public health and safety guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on occupancy and gatherings during the COCID-19 pandemic. This Clustering approach ensured that all key players and stakeholders were involved while the meetings maintained adequate social distancing and observed all sanitization protocols.

Speaking during the Meeting, MoHE Director – Planning and Information, Mr. Succeed Mubanga, stated that the conflicts and overlaps in the sector had led to a fragmented sector, with multiple institutions involved in quality assurance, leading to varied standards of qualifications, and uncompetitive and low mobility of graduates.

“The review of the Higher Education Act is supported by the 2019 Higher Education Policy which calls for legislative and institutional reforms that will ensure an efficient and cost-effective higher education system that addressed the challenges in the sector,” he added.

Mr. Mubanga further stated that from the review of current legislation in the sector, a total of 18 pieces of legislation were identified that had provisions for both training and regulation. The Director also pointed out that the review unearthed a number of statutory bodies which had provisions in their legal frameworks for accreditation of LPs, which was a mandate of the Higher Education Authority, as these were in most instances, created before the establishment of the HEA.

During the legislative review, additional conflicts were identified which included statutory bodies being involved in the approval of training institutions and the self-regulation of some statutory bodies, that is, the statutory bodies develop LPs and offer the same LPs without subjecting them to a quality assurance bodies such as HEA or TEVETA.

Mr. Mubanga giving a presentation on the Higher Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Therefore, the objectives of the Higher Education Bill, 2020, are to amend the Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013 so as to redefine the functions of the Authority, reconstitute the Board of the Authority, revise the categories of HEIs, provide for accreditation of LPs, and, provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

“The desired way forward is to build consensus that will aid the implementation of the objectives of the Amendment Bill and streamline quality assurance systems in higher education,” Mr. Mubanga said.

The Director further added that the accreditation of LPs and the registration of HEIs would be reposed at HEA, whilst the development of LP content and the regulation of professional conduct and practice would remain with the respective statutory and professional bodies.

Mr. Mulenga, giving concluding remarks.

 

In giving concluding remarks, MoHE Director – University Education, Mr. Charles Mulenga, thanked the participants on behalf of the Ministry and HEA, stating that the meetings were of grave importance to the sector and for posterity.

“As has been thoroughly explained during the presentations, what is evidently clear is the need to address the lacunas in the legislations in the higher education sector in order to upscale the sector through its restructuring,” Mr. Mulenga said.

The Director – University Education, emphatically noted that this restructuring was not intended to sideline any institution but to bring sanity to the sector. Mr. Mulenga further invited the participants to submit detailed written comments through the MoHE website, www.mohe.gov.zm, before the Friday, 7th August, 2020, deadline.

The list of stakeholders consulted included Agriculture Institute of Zambia, Copperbelt University (CBU), DMI St. Eugene University, Engineering Institute of Zambia (EIZ), Evelyn Hone College of Applied Science, General Nursing Council of Zambia (GNCZ), Health Profession Council of Zambia (HPCZ), Kwame Nkrumah University, Local Government Training Institute, Lusaka Apex Medical University, Mulungushi University, National Council for Construction (NCC), National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Natural Resource Development College (NRDC), Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ), Technical Education, Vocation and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA), Texila American University, UNICAF University, University of Lusaka (UNILUS), University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia Institute for Tourism and Hospitality Studies, Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE), Zambia Institute of Banking and Financial Services, Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants, Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management, Zambia Institute of Management, Zambia Institute of Marketing, and, Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply (ZIPS).

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The Ministry of Justice hosted the Ministry of Higher Education and its stakeholders as part of internal consultations on the Higher Education Amendment Bill of 2020 on Thursday, 18th June, 2020, at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.

The internal consultation meeting of the Bill was the prologue to the Bill being submitted to the Legislative Committee of Cabinet.

The Amendment Bill, which has already passed through three (3) comprehensive consultative meetings with all stakeholders around the country, is intended to address the shortcomings in the current Higher Education Act No. 4 of 2013.

Represented at the meeting were the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA), the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZAQA), University of Zambia (UNZA), University of Lusaka (UNILUS), Zambian Open University, and Evelyn Hone College of applied Arts and Commerce, amongst those that were invited.

 

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Higher Education Minister, Honourable Dr. Brian Mushimba, MP., has announced a cautious approach to the reopening of all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), both private and public, from 8th June, 2020.

The Honourable Minister was speaking today when he hosted a multisectoral press briefing at the Ministry of Higher Education in Lusaka with the Ministry of Health, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), the Ministry of General Education, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

In his remarks, Dr. Mushimba stressed that the reopening was applicable to all Public and Private Universities and Colleges, and that it will be implemented with strict adherence to COVID-19 regulations on social distancing, washing of hands, masking and avoidance of unnecessary gatherings.

“Opening of Universities and Colleges will be implemented in a phased approach subject to readiness (of the HEI) to resume classes,” he said. “In the first phase, final year graduating students and those in final exam classes will resume classes.”

Dr. Mushimba stated that the phased manner that will be used will take into consideration the different circumstances and levels of preparedness of each HEI. This will allow graduating students to be the first to commence lessons and subsequently write their examinations based on calendars approved by their respective Senates.

However, the Minister of Higher Education stated that foreign graduating students will continue with e-learning and their exams will be conducted online.

Figure 2 Mrs. Siame invites Dr. Mushimba to address the media as Mr. Malupenga looks on.

The Minister of Higher Education further stated that before any HEI could be allowed to be reopened, it would need to be inspected and certified ready by the appropriate authorities. Further, HEIs that were used as Quarantine Centres for COVID-19 would require to be adequately disinfected before they were certified ready to receive students back on their campuses.

The Minister further outlined the following key guidelines that will be required for any HEI to be certified to reopen, amongst other measures by appropriate authorities:

  1. Temperature checks at entry gates;
  2. Provision of hand washing facilities at all entrances of hostels, lecture rooms, labs, administration buildings, etc;
  3. Restriction of students two (2) students per room in Hostels and no squatting will be permitted;
  4. Restriction of visitors on campus;
  5. Social clubs and amenities will be closed;
  6. Very strong peer-to-peer monitoring;
  7. Provision of a check-in and check-out register in all Hostels;
  8. Regular inspections of hostels to ensure compliance; and,
  9. Regular cleaning, disinfection of buildings and surrounding areas.