Strategic memo: Prospects for the development of quality assurance policies and systems in the West and Central Africa and Sahel sub-region

At the end of 2017, the CTI, the Hcéres and the Agence Française du Développement (AFD) signed a tripartite partnership. It was within the framework of this partnership that a workshop was to be organised in a joint intervention country in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, in the presence of African quality assurance players and international partner organisations.

This ambition took the form of an international symposium, which was held on 8th and 9th October 2018 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, under the aegis of the Ivorian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and with the support of AFD’s C2D programme (contract for debt reduction and development) and the French Embassy in Ivory Coast. With around a hundred participants, this event provided an opportunity to take stock of quality assurance in higher education in the sub-region, to review the challenges and prospects, and to exchange good practice.

Following the symposium, the three partners jointly drafted a strategy paper outlining the prospects for developing quality assurance policies and systems in the sub-region. This strategic memo is rich in examples and good practice relating to the culture of quality and may be downloaded in French here.
Below is an overview of the conclusions drawn from this work:

  • In the countries covered by this study, and more widely in both French- and English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, there are usually departments reporting to the ministry in charge of higher education and research, which are responsible for quality assurance and/or are in direct contact with agencies when they exist;
  • In all the countries covered by this study, the ideal is to set up a quality assurance agency; this has already been done in Senegal, it is under way in Mali, and it is a more or less advanced project in almost all the other countries in the region;
  • Generally speaking, with the exception of Senegal, where bodies responsible for quality assurance in higher education and research do exist, there is a lack of autonomy for these bodies and of quality assurance processes vis-à-vis the ministries.