The Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) communications and public relations manager, Selwana Pilatwe has encouraged local educational and training providers and other stakeholders to affiliate with Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN).
SAQAN was launched in Botswana last year and key to its existence is to transform higher education quality and allow members access to global best practices through interaction.
Its secretariat is currently the BQA, with Zimbabwe Higher Education Council being the chairperson. BQA CEO, Abel Modungwa, is in the Executive Committee as the vice president.
Speaking on her return trip from the third SAQAN regional conference in South Africa, Pilatwe told The Monitor that the conference realised there remains need for capacity building for both the officers in the Quality Assurance Authorities (QAA) and the education and training providers (ETPs.) in the southern Africa region. The conference brought together participants from Southern African countries from the national quality assurance agencies/bodies, ministries responsible for higher and tertiary education, higher education institutions, Southern Africa Regional Universities Association (SARUA), academic associations, universities students associations, employers’ associations and other stakeholders. Botswana was represented by BQA and private education and training providers. Countries that attended included Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, South-Africa, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The conference highlighted the need for collaboration, networking and alignment to ensure regionally and internationally competitive qualifications/graduands. The theme of the conference was, ‘Quality Promotion and Capacity Development in Higher Education in Southern Africa- Concepts, Perceptive and Practices’. The SAQAN conference among others noted that there is a need to have data bases of experts or peer reviewers accessible for all to
The SAQAN conference also encouraged collaborations among quality assurance and qualifications authorities, and encouraged them to continually avail and share databases of good practices.
BQA encourages training institutions and consultancies to join the regional body in order to benefit from the many opportunities that SAQAN provides.
According to Pilatwe, BQA intends to host a meeting with local ETPs to share the SAQAN conference experiences and encourage local institutions and trainers to affiliate. She thanked local institutions that attended.
Membership of SAQAN is open to all Southern African countries from the national quality assurance agencies/bodies, ministries responsible for higher and tertiary education, higher education institutions, SARUA, academic associations, universities students associations, employers’ associations and other interested stakeholders, according to Pilatwe.
“Botswana ETPS and trainers can benefit from joining SAQAN by sharing and exchange of experiences, best practices and promising approaches and strategies for addressing quality in higher education and overcoming barriers to regional harmonisation,” said Pilatwe.
She noted that being a member of a quality assurance network opens doors to the world of quality assurance as SAQAN has access to other international bodies.