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ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION The Legal Framework for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Zimbabwe L. C. K. Gwati Director, Academic and Institutional.

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Presentation on theme: "ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION The Legal Framework for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Zimbabwe L. C. K. Gwati Director, Academic and Institutional."— Presentation transcript:

1 ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION The Legal Framework for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Zimbabwe L. C. K. Gwati Director, Academic and Institutional Audits

2 1. Introduction Purpose of the paper To discuss the legal basis for quality assurance in higher education in Zimbabwe.

3 Introduction (Cont) Introduction and development of higher education in Zimbabwe Legal framework governing higher education in Zimbabwe Legal framework for quality assurance in Zimbabwe.

4 1.1 Higher Education. Higher education can loosely be defined as education provided by post secondary education institutions. The Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act defines higher education as education provided by institutions of higher education.

5 ZIMCHE Act definition of H E I An Institution of higher education, according to the Act, means: a)a a technical or polytechnic college offering degrees; or b) a public or private university or university college and its associate or affiliate institutions; or c)an arm of a foreign institution of higher education that awards degrees.

6 1.2 Legal Framework Legal framework is the legal basis which gives birth to an entity or organisation and defines parameters for its operations, that is, to do what it is meant to do. This means that the organisation is established through an Act of Parliament. When an organisation is established by an Act of Parliament it becomes a creature of Statutes. The Act provides for what the organisation is and what it can do.

7 1.3 Quality assurance …is the process of verifying or determining whether products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Quality assurance is a process-driven approach with specific steps to help define and attain goals.

8 Quality assurance (Cont) The QA process considers design, development, production, and service. In higher education we can define quality assurance as the control of standards of content, delivery and validation.

9 Quality assurance (Cont) Quality assurance trends from the UNESCO Regional Consultants on Higher Education as reported by Professor Donald Ekong, denote quality assurance as:

10 Quality assurance (Cont) “All the policies, systems and processes directed to ensuring the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of educational provisions within an institution. A quality assurance system is the means by which an institution confirms to itself and to others that conditions are in place for students to achieve the standards that the institution has set.”

11 Quality assurance (Cont) Quality assurance is therefore an ongoing process of evaluating the quality of a higher education system, institutions or programmes.

12 2. Legal Instruments governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe Manpower Planning and Development Act, Chapter 25:02 (1996) Individual State University Acts like Midlands State University Act, Chapter 25:19 (2001) Individual Private University Charters Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act, Chapter 25:27 (2006)

13 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) The Manpower Planning and Development Act, Chapter 28:02, as amended in 1996 is an Act to: provide for the establishment, maintenance and operation of technical or vocational institutions, universities, teachers colleges and vocational training schemes; and

14 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) provide for and promote the research, planning and development of human resources; provide for the establishment and functions of a National Manpower Advisory Council; provide for the training of apprentices and the certification of skilled workers;

15 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) provide for the continued existence of the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund and for the imposition of levies to finance manpower development and for other purposes; and provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

16 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) Section 6 of the Act authorises the Government through the responsible Minister to establish, equip and maintain higher education institutions. Section 8 makes it illegal for one to conduct, maintain or manage a non government institution which is not registered; and Section 9 provides for the registration of non Government institutions.

17 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) Individual University Acts of Public Universities in Zimbabwe provide for the establishment of individual state universities and their governance. Process of establishing a public university starts with the relevant Minister formulating the proposal followed by a Bill that will be steered through Parliament.

18 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) Private university: An application is submitted to the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education together with a draft charter of the University. The charter is the legal document that spells out the name and objects of the University, its establishment, functions and governance.

19 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) In considering the application, the Council makes an investigation and/or inspection of the proposed institution it deems fit before making its recommendation to the President through the Minister. If it is found that the establishment of the concerned institution will further the development of higher education in Zimbabwe the President will grant a charter by proclamation in a Statutory Instrument.

20 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) Each University Act or Charter provides for a Senate which is the academic authority of the University as well as other structures some of which are concerned with quality assurance matters.

21 Legal Acts governing Higher Education in Zimbabwe (Cont.) The Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act, Chapter 25:27, of 2006: repealed and replaced the National Council for Higher Education Act, Chapter 25:08 of 1990 provides for a Council whose mandate is to promote and co-ordinate education provided by institutions of higher education and to act as a regulator in the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examinations, academic qualifications and research institutions of higher education.

22 3.WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE Formal higher education first introduced to Zimbabwe, then Southern Rhodesia, with the establishment of the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (RHONYA) under the auspices of the then Federation of the three territories of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Nyasaland (now Malawi). The University College, which had a Special Relationship with the University of London, welcomed its first intake of 58 students in 1957 though it had been granted royal charter in 1955.

23 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) After the breakup of the Federation in 1963 and Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in November 1965, the College became the University College of Rhodesia (UCR) in 1965 and later in 1970 the University of Rhodesia (UR). The special relationship with the University of London ended and the University became autonomous. This meant that London was no longer the guardian of standards.

24 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) When Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe after the liberation war in 1980 the University changed its name to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). It should be noted that during the time of the relationship with the University of London, the Medical School was also established with a Special Relationship with the University of Birmingham.

25 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) Both relationships were intended to guarantee the currency of degrees offered by the institution and to ensure that the standards and quality of its qualifications were acceptable throughout the world.

26 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) With the experience gained from the Special Relationships period, the University was able to carry on producing graduates and postgraduates of very high standard. The phenomenal expansion of educational provision embarked upon by the new government from 1980 eventually led to massive expansion at the university which was done by way of increasing enrolments and introduction of new faculties, departments and programmes required to meet the socio-economic needs of the new nation.

27 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) 1987 the Government of Zimbabwe appointed a Commission of Inquiry into the establishment of a second university in the country chaired by Professor Williams. Result: Establishment in 1991 of a second university, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), in Bulawayo.

28 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) Approach to Government by some private players involved in the provision of education, which included church organisations, for permission to establish their own higher education institutions. Result: Establishment of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) by Act of Parliament.

29 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) Main mandate of NCHE: To receive and consider applications from would- be higher education private providers and make recommendations to the Minister for possible approval of Private University Charters.

30 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) Period 1999 – 2004: Phenomenal establishment of higher education institutions, five more State universities and three private. Issues of quality assurance brought to the fore. The need to establish a new Council in Zimbabwe became apparent, which would advise the Minister on all relevant issues related to quality control, the monitoring and evaluation of the performance of higher education providers, standardization of higher education qualifications and accreditation of new higher education provisions.

31 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) During 2003 to 2005 study tours carried out to Kenya, Tanzania, China and South Africa to look at models of quality assurance in higher education in those countries. April 2004 a symposium on quality assurance in university education in Zimbabwe was held at Nyanga where higher education experts from Zimbabwe and the region presented papers.

32 WHY ESTABLISHING ZIMCHE(Cont.) Resolution: To have the then National Council for Higher Education revamped in order to have a body that would guarantee and sustain quality in university education in Zimbabwe. Promulgation of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act, Chapter 25:27, of 2006 which repealed and replaced the National Council for Higher Education Act.

33 4.THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) Established to register and accredit all higher education institutions in Zimbabwe ZIMCHE mandate: To promote and co-ordinate education provided by institutions of higher education and to act as a regulator in the determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examinations, academic qualifications and research institutions of higher education.

34 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) Part V of the Act provides for Institutional Standards and Accreditation. Specifically section 18 provides for the publication of institutional quality assurance standards and evaluation of institutions. Quoting from the relevant section it says:

35 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) 18 (1) The Minister may, on recommendation of the Council, prescribe the institutional quality assurance standards that will govern the performance, operations and general conduct of all institutions of higher education.

36 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) (2) The Council shall evaluate the performance of institutions regularly in the light of the institutional quality assurance standards prescribed in terms of subsection (1) and accredit institutions.

37 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) (3) After the evaluation in terms of subsection (2), the Council shall issue or refuse to issue an accreditation certificate to the institution. (4) The Council shall publish the results of the accreditation process carried out in terms of subsection (2).

38 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) (5) After the completion of the evaluation process, the Council shall indicate in writing the specific steps to be taken by the institution concerned towards the attainment of the standards referred to in subsection(1).

39 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) Section 19 provides for the basis of accreditation. In subsection (2) it goes to spell out the aspects that may be taken into account for the accreditation of each programme offered by an institution of higher education.

40 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) Section 20 provides for the effect of accreditation. What that means is that qualifications awarded in respect of programmes of instruction offered by an accredited institution of higher education shall be recognised as comparable and of equivalent merit to similar qualification awarded in respect of programmes offered by all t he other accredited institutions in Zimbabwe.

41 THE ZIMBABWE COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION (ZIMCHE) (Cont.) Section 21 compels every higher education institution to prepare and submit to the Council an annual report of its activities and a detailed assessment of steps taken to achieve the aims and objectives for which it was established.

42 6.IMPLICATIONS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION Effective national management and regulation of the higher education system Rational allocation of national resources in the higher education sector

43 IMPLICATIONS OF THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION (Cont.) Allows for quick detection of weakness and problems and therefore creates opportunities for prompt corrective measures Provision of legal recourse in the event of a higher education failing to uphold the dictates of the higher education quality assurance system

44 7.Conclusion The establishment of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education with its enhanced role is a timely development. In order to successfully guarantee and sustain quality assurance in higher education full understanding and appreciation of the instruments governing quality assurance is necessary. All higher education stakeholders, higher education institutions included, are called upon to take an active interest in the operations and activities of ZIMCHE.


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