The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has begun developing core elements for all Learning Programmes (LPs) offered in Zambia.
The core elements being developed will be mechanisms within an LP which that particular LP would need to have in order to ensure that the LP meets minimum standards to lead to a qualification in that particular field.
HEA began this process when it held a Seminar on the Development of Core Elements with a group of Academic Experts on 3rd, 4th and 7th December, 2020, at Mika Convention Centre.
These Experts had developed working documents with core elements in Bachelor of Science (Nursing), Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Master’s by Research, and Doctoral Programmes. These documents were being presented to HEA for discussion and refinement, before the documents were presented to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other stakeholders for validation.
Speaking when he gave the opening remarks for the Seminar, HEA Director – Quality Assurance, Dr. Vitalicy Chifwepa, noted the past reliance on HEI Senates to develop LPs and the global trend for minimum content development.
“With the opening up of university education to the private sector, we have had similar LPs being offered at various universities but with differences in content as we relied on the Senates of the various universities to come up with various LPs and content based on their perceptions of what the needs are,” Dr. Chifwepa said.
The Director, however, stated that there is a trend globally for all LPs to have minimum content prescribed that would lead to a particular qualification.
“This is happening at a global level as UNESCO is coordinating the recognition of qualifications,” he said, continuing, “when we come to specific jurisdictions, it is important that there are certain set of standards.”
Dr. Chifwepa further stated strongly that it was not the intention of HEA for every HEI to teach the same things but only to ensure that certain core requirements were present in each LP.
“We don’t standardise so that everyone is teaching the same things but so that certain core requirements are present in each LP in order for there to be comparability of the particular LPs within the country and across borders,” Dr. Chifwepa stated.
Of the task that has been laid before the Experts, Dr. Chifwepa stated that the Experts comprised of the first teams of experts that HEA would engage.
“It is very important that we rely on experts based on their qualifications and experience to develop standards in our LPs which would ultimately lead to qualifications that will be recognised in the country and across the borders of Zambia,” he said.
The Director pointed out that Zambia was not the first country to endeavour to set these standards, as South Africa had begun the process but is yet to complete it.
“The process will show that we have benchmarked these standards against what is out there,” Dr. Chifwepa said, adding, “in some cases, we might just be the ones leading the way as it should not look like we are always conforming to what is already out there.”
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