INQAAHE’s Immediate Past President, Dr. Susanna Karakhanyan, supported a system wide stakeholder consultation in Namibian higher education as the country develops minimum standards allowable in the system in the promotion of inclusion and access to quality education.
During her visit, Dr. Karakhanyan along with the staff of the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) under the leadership of Prof. Samuel John (Chairperson of the Board), Mr. Hannu Shipena (Executive Director) and Ms. Sylvia Demas (Deputy Executive Director) had a series of meetings with policymakers, regulators, professional associations (subject matter accreditors) and higher education key stakeholders as the second version of the minimum standards was rationalized in preparation for a validation phase. Within the frames of the visit to Windhoek, Namibia, Dr. Karakhanyan delivered a public lecture on Enhancing HE Performance and Efficiency through Minimum Standards on the 9th of March, which brought together 110+ participants (regulators, policymakers, educationalists, and HE providers) locally (face-to-face) and internationally via ZOOM. The lecture was supported by the Ministry of HE, Technology & Innovation and its HE Executive Director Dr Alfred van Kent.
Close to the end of 2022, the NCHE, an INQAAHE long-time dedicated and proud member, approached the INQAAHE for support in providing an expert opinion on the first draft of the minimum standards developed locally based on the needs of the HE system identified throughout the years of operations. Dr. Karakhanyan was nominated for the mission and after a rigorous selection procedure, NCHE Board invited Dr. Karakhanyan to conduct the expertise of the first draft of standards. The current new standards lay firm grounds for ensuring equal access to quality education, safeguarding students, promoting trust & credibility of HE through consistency, reliability and validity in external evaluations of higher education providers and provisions, enhancing potentials for recognition of qualifications, and last, but not least, ensure the Namibian HE system sets robust grounds for greater international comparability and competitiveness.
The new minimum standards complement and supplement the existing QA mechanisms by providing measurable metrices that matter most for the system enhancement and have found initial approval from the national regulators and key stakeholders. Followed by a second round of stakeholder consultation, calibration and hence validation, the new standards will become effective and open a new page for HE development in the country.
The recording of the session is available here.
Prof Jairos Kangira, professor of English at the University of Namibia, participated in the Namibian stakeholder consultation and attended the Public Lecture. He has shared his reflection on NCHE improving higher education trough minimum standards, claiming that "the NCHE has contributed hugely to the quality and growth of higher education in this country. The lecture, titled ‘Enhancing Higher Education System Performance Through Minimum Standards’ and delivered by Susanna Karakhanyan, generated live debates on the overarching topic of minimum standards for quality assurance in higher education. Karakhanyan brought a wealth of experience of quality assurance in higher education, having served as the seventh president of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). What carried the day for everyone was that constructive comments and discussions on the status of higher education added to the huge success of the NCHE’s 11th lecture."
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