Friday May 30 2014

EAC moving towards uniform academic qualifications

Inter-University Council for East Africa has

Inter-University Council for East Africa has commenced the process of developing a higher education quality rating/ranking system, which is aimed at providing incentives for promoting competitiveness among students and institutions of higher learning. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By stephen bwire

Education experts from the five member countries of the East African Community (EAC) are fast-tracking the process for the harmonisation of the higher education qualifications for all universities and tertiary institutions in the region.

During a regional two-day validation workshop in Entebbe recently, organised by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), education stakeholders from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi deliberated on the draft East African Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (EAQFHE), the outcome of which will lead to mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications across the EAC.

Expanding mobility
According to the executive secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, Mr Mayunga Nkunya, the qualifications framework will serve as a convergence platform for harmonisation of qualifications levels and types, entry, articulation and exit pathways for the qualifications level and types in the Community.

Mr Nkunya also said the Regional Qualifications Framework is designed to expand opportunities for mobility between countries, institutions and education levels.

“Qualifications frameworks are regarded as all-encompassing tools for, among others, harmonisation of education and training systems and the qualifications attained. They are also used to guide systematisation of workforce development. Therefore, in developing the regional qualifications framework for higher education for East Africa, IUCEA considered it important to engage a large cross-section of higher education and qualifications stakeholders in the development process,” said the IUCEA boss.

Prof Asubo-Apuda, the executive director of Uganda’s National Council for Higher Education, reiterated that to develop East Africa as a common higher education area, there is need for development of a creative economy based on knowledge and innovation, expanded higher education access and equity, Institutionalising quality assurance and standards, supporting dynamic and productive youth by developing programmes for new skills and jobs.

Prof Eliabu Lugujjo, the vice chancellor of Ndejje University, who was among the experts from Uganda, argued that there is need for employers and industry players to outline the basic competencies required of graduates to make it easier for the universities, tertiary institutions and awarding bodies to design programmes and modules in respect to the job market.