Kenya is among several African Countries that participated in the launch of the African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The Credit seeks to promote student mobility and improve the comparability and compatibility of study programmes in the continent.
The launch which was done during the African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA2) Advisory Board meeting was attended by Kenya National Qualifications Authority(KNQA) Director General Dr Juma Mukhwana.
Dr Mukhwana underscored the critical role that the free movement of knowledge and skills will have on the continent as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) takes shape.
“This great initiative will promote portability of qualifications for students and workers within Africa and that is why Kenya is proud to be part of it,” said the Director General during the launch that was presided over by Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Prof Adama Diawara.The workshop started on Monday and ends on Friday (June 10).
This is the second phase of the Harmonization of African Higher Education, Quality Assurance and Accreditation initiative, which is funded by the European Commission under the Africa-European Union Strategic Partnership.
The Africa-EU Strategic Partnership endeavors to “bring Africa and Europe closer together by supporting economic cooperation and promoting sustainable development, with both continents co-existing in peace, security, democracy, prosperity, solidarity and human dignity”.
The renewed partnership is based on an ongoing dialogue with the European Union’s African partners, including the dialogue during the 6th European Union-African Union Summit held in Brussels in February 2022.
Speaking at the event, Association of African Universities (AAU) Secretary General Prof Olusola Oyewole, lauded the initiative that will promote academic mobility in the continent.
Prof Oyewole told participants that the Association was a membership body of over 400 higher education institutions across the five regions of Africa.
He emphasized the AAU’s commitment to enhancing the quality of higher education in Africa and projected the vision of the AAU to foster a higher education system that produces quality graduates to drive development in Africa.
Ms Elizabeth Colucci, International Projects Director from OBREAL Global while speaking at the workshop explained how African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) Initiative, was initially discussed in 2018, but did not move forward.
Ms Colucci disclosed that that the HAQAA2 initiative implementing partners therefore agreed to resuscitate the ACTS initiative because an African Credit Transfer System holds great promise in facilitating harmonization of curricula and promoting mobility of students in Africa.
Mr Stefan Bienefeld from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) assured participants that his organization will support strengthening quality assurance systems in African countries and institutions.
“I wish to note that stronger higher education quality assurance systems will make Africa more visible on the global arena as we appreciate the importance and high value of intra African and Inter African-European collaborations,” he added.
The Harmonisation of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation Initiative phase two (HAQAA2) Implementing Team, consisting of OBREAL Global, the Association of African Universities (AAU), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).
The Advisory Board is a key element of the governance structure and also offers a policy dialogue forum that can help to deliver upon the specific objectives of the initiative.
The Advisory Board is composed of key stakeholders in the African continent that are active at continental and regional level. It ensures that the activities of the action are in-line with other continental and regional initiatives and projects of a similar nature.
It provides the necessary political linkages to the different African regional communities and processes. The Abidjan meeting was the first physical meeting of the Advisory Board since its conception in 2020.
According to the Africa Union, the building of an integrated continent requires a harmonized education system, where intra-Africa mobility and skills portability are key elements in its realization.
The Union argues that harmonized education and training systems are essential for effective implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) and Agenda 2063.
“Harmonization is an instrument for enabling African higher education to contribute to and be aligned with the African vision of integration, “said AU noting that the move prompted it to develop a framework for harmonization of higher education in Africa to facilitate the mutual recognition of academic qualifications.
According to AU, Africa credit transfer system is defined as a measure of workload required for a typical learner to achieve the objectives of a programme, specified in terms of the predetermined learning outcomes and competences that is expected to be acquired.
It therefore measures student workload required to achieve, expected learning outcomes.
The Union said the objectives and importance of a credit system in the higher education sector are intended to promote student mobility, improve the comparability and compatibility of study programmes, render more transparency to study programmes and provide more flexibility and diversity of pathways among others.