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Harmonisation of Higher Education in Africa

© European Union
© European Union

Contributing to and supporting the harmonisation of higher education programmes, and the creation of a distinctive, attractive and globally competitive African educational landscape.

The experience undertaken in Europe through the Bologna Process has underlined the importance of harmonisation mechanisms to ensure comparable standards and quality of higher-education qualifications between countries. Convinced of the interest and benefits linked to the portability of qualifications for students and higher education institutions, African universities have undertaken a similar process with support from the EU. This project is funded under the Annual Action Programme 2014 of the DCI Pan-African Programme.


The first specific objective is to scale up the harmonisation and tuning pilot initiative, which took place during the period 2011-2013, from 60 to 120 universities and from five to a minimum of seven subject areas. Proposals include the establishment of new degree programmes, improving teaching, learning and assessment methods and defining joint agreements in subject areas.

The second specific objective is to enhance the quality and accreditation of higher education, in order to facilitate mutual recognition of academic qualifications across the continent and enhance intra-Africa mobility of students and academics. It also contributes to enhanced competiveness of African universities in the global arena.

Under the first component - the 'Tuning Africa' initiative - study programmes as well as teaching, learning and assessment methods are revised in order to better reflect the competences and skills that are required for a given discipline. The initiative covers eight subject areas (agriculture, applied geology, civil engineering, economics, higher education management, mechanical engineering, medicine and teacher education) and involves 120 universities from 41 countries, as well as regional bodies responsible for higher education and students.

Under the second component – 'Harmonisation, quality assurance and accreditation' (HAQAA) - the aim is to develop a harmonised quality assurance and accreditation system in Africa, with a view to facilitating mutual recognition of academic qualifications across the continent, and enhancing the mobility of students and academics. With the support from European counterparts, a group of African representatives from academia and the bodies in charge of managing quality and accreditation in higher education will develop a common understanding and African standards on quality accreditation. They will also consolidate a quality culture in Africa to ensure that African universities are more competitive on the international stage.