Professor Adama Diawara, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Cote d’Ivoire launched the African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) workshop during the HAQAA2 Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, 8th June 2020. The ACTS workshop is one of the key items on the agenda of the HAQAA2 events taking place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 6-10 June 2022. The HAQAA2 Initiative 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.
In welcoming the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research to the 5th HAQAA2 Advisory Board Meeting, the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Professor Olusola Oyewole, thanked him for his continuous support to higher education in Cote d’Ivoire. Prof. Oyewole commended the Minister for the initiative to establish a higher education regulatory agency in Cote d’Ivoire, adding, that since the Minister was keen on promoting academic mobility, the HAQAA2 events were relevant and falls in line with the educational targets of the Ministry. The AAU Secretary General concluded by informing the audience 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”.
Other speakers at the launch of the ACTS workshop were Ms. Elizabeth Colucci, International Projects Director from OBREAL Global and Mr. Stefan Bienefeld from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Representing her organization, Ms. Elizabeth Colucci thanked the Minister, Professor Adama Diawara and briefly explained the African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) Initiative, which according to her, was initially discussed in 2018, but not taken forward. She intimated that the HAQAA2 initiative implementing partners had 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. Ms. Colucci acknowledged that Cote d’Ivoire was an active stakeholder of the HAQAA2 initiatives. Wrapping up, she explained that OBREAL Global had partnered the Association of African Universities, DAAD and ENQA to create multi-lateral ties, facilitate and accomplish sustainable South-South-North cooperation based upon reciprocity, mutual knowledge transfer, and a commitment to contribute to solving common global challenges.
Mr. Stefan Bienefeld from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) stated that DAAD was enthusiastic about strengthening quality assurance systems in African countries and institutions. He emphasized that Stronger higher education quality assurance systems would make Africa more visible on the global arena and assured the Minister and the participants of the support from the European Union. He reiterated the importance and high value of intra African and Inter African-European collaborations.
In his speech the Cote d’Ivoire Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Professor Adama Diawara, recognized the presence of key staff from the Ministry, including the Director General of Quality Assurance, the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Technical Advisor who led the LMD (Licence, Master & Doctorat) system implementation in Cote d’Ivoire. He also recognized the various leaders of universities from Cote d’Ivoire who were present at the ACTs workshop launch.
Professor Adama Diawara pointed out that ‘collaborations are critical towards transforming the African higher education system to become a real space for learning, exchanges and knowledge transfer’. He asserted that promoting regional dialogue, mobility and recognition of qualifications were key in promoting quality African higher education. Again, Professor Adama Diawara agreed that the common credit transfer system was key for national, regional and continental level academic mobilities and a sure way of guaranteeing the quality of the curricula of African higher educational institutions. He underscored the need for Africa to put in place a harmonization system and affirmed that the African Scientific community supports the focus on an African Credit Transfer System. He assured the HAQAA2 implementing partners and stakeholders of the unreserved support of the Government of Cote d’Ivoire towards the achievement of the targets of the initiative.
He concluded by calling on the organizers of the workshop to discuss some of the challenges associated with harmonization in the African higher education system and proffer corresponding solutions. Following these remarks, the Minister Higher Education and Scientific Research of Cote d’Ivoire, Professor Adama Diawara formally declared the African Credit Transfer System workshop officially open.
Written By: Ms. Nodumo DHLAMINI, Director ICT Services, Communications & Knowledge Management at AAU
Reviewed By: Mrs. Felicia Kuagbedzi, Senior Communications Officer, AAU