For Universities to be seen as serving the purpose for their establishment, there has been a renewed call for the establishment of Quality Assurance mechanism within the institutions. This call was made by Professor Olusola Oyewole, President of the Association of African Universities and Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

Professor Oyewole stated this, while delivering a lecture at the just-concluded African Leaders in Education Forum, held in Abuja with the theme, Strategic Policies and Structures for the Achievement of Quality Education. Represented by Dr. Olusegun Folorunso, Head, Webometrics Centre of FUNAAB, the Vice-Chancellor spoke on “Quality Assurance in African Universities: Challenges and Strategies”, as he traced the emergence of Quality Assurance in African institutions to the 1980s and the 1990s.

“Quality Assurance is for systematic planning, monitoring and evaluation of our Universities to sustain and improve on the standards of teaching, research and extension mandate as well as providing confidence in the University outputs (students), services and facilities”, Professor Oyewole stated. He noted that the key issues, which necessitated the emergence of QA were demand for efficiency and competitiveness in higher education, increased mobility, brain drain, globalization and cross-border recognition of qualifications and involvement of private interests and expansion in student enrolment.

The AAU President said when assessing quality, there was the need to look at the process of transferring input to output in terms of government policies, governance, leadership, teaching and learning process by giving importance to the review of major elements in the academic curriculum, to meet national development needs through the evaluation of teaching and study programmes, which should be documented in written reports by the Course Co-ordinator and Head of Department while quality enhancement will be further enhanced through the collection, analysis, reporting and taking of appropriate action on student, staff and stakeholder’s feedback.

Professor Oyewole’s detailed and well-illustrated paper advised that in a bid to establish QA mechanism, there should be an assessment of the current state of service provision and delivery, assessment of what needed to be done, as he called on academics to mentor the younger ones and to also create a platform that would allow students assess their lecturers, to bring about quality teaching. He concluded by calling for the sustenance and improvement in the standards of teaching, learning, research and extension services in the Nigerian Universities within the quality assurance framework. He equally solicited for adequate enlightenment on the need for QA in the realization of the aims and objectives of establishing the University.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Plenary Session panelists include Professor Adebiyi Daramola, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure; Professor Emmanuel Okoro, Professor of Medicine, University of Ilorin and Ms. Brittney Field of the Bridge International Academies. Professor Daramola charged education policy makers to shun sheer political consideration and always put in place, enduring and sustainable policies that would transform the sector positively, Professor Okoro gave the imperative of preparing managers of education “for a future of intense competition and shifting competitive advantages, a future of ever-increasing change where technologies are replaced at an increasing pace”, while Ms. Field enjoined educational institutions to be aligned to the mantra, “knowledge for all” by embracing the use of teachers’ tablet, as a compulsory instructional device.

Speaking at the Forum, which was organized by the Worldview International Initiative and the British Educational Suppliers Association, United Kingdom, Dominic Savage, OBE, Director-General of BESA, said the Forum was running simultaneously with the African Resources and Technology for Education Show because technology was imperative for the delivery of sound education. Savage noted that while teachers would always be the greatest educational resource, equipment, materials, books and technology on the other hand constituted the second greatest resource in the attainment of the greatest possible impact.

During the education commissioners’ Plenary Session on Regional Policies and Structures, which was meant to highlight the various challenges being faced by state commissioners of education in reaching out to students in achieving quality teaching and learning for optimizing education’s impact in line with national goals, the Benue State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Elizabeth Ugo spoke on, “The Impact of Policies and Structures on Actualizing Educational Development: The Case of Benue State”.