UKZN Professor Addresses AAU Webinar on Quality Assurance and Digitalisation
Professor Vannie Naidoo from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance was invited to be a resource speaker at the Association of African Universities (AAU) East Africa Regional Office virtual workshop on Quality Assurance and Digitalisation on 1 April this month.
The AAU is the voice of Higher Education in Africa and serves as a consultative forum that aims to improve the quality of Higher Education on the continent. It is also the technical implementing arm of the African Union Commission on Higher Education.
Distinguished speakers from universities in a variety of countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Sudan shared their insights and experiences on How to Maintain Quality Assurance during COVID-19.
Naidoo’s presentation was titled, Ensuring Quality Assurance Protocols are followed during COVID-19. She noted that, ‘Quality assurance is an important yardstick to ensure that the modules, degrees’ or programmes are in line with National Qualifications Framework (NQF) standards and international standards.’ During COVID-19, University leadership and staff worked tirelessly to uphold high levels of quality assurance in UKZN’s various programmes, with new guidelines and policies to embrace the new normal in Higher Education brought about by COVID-19. Module templates and curricula needed to be re-organised to take into account the continuous assessment that became part of Online- learning.
Naidoo stated that “quality is everyone’s concern” and offered the following recommendations to ensure Quality Assurance is upheld by African Universities during COVID-19:
- Universities should adopt strong policies to support Online- learning and Quality Assurance of such
- There is a need for transformative university leadership that leads the debate on and implementation of sound Quality Assurance
- Government and other stakeholders within the university must buy-in to the online policy governing its Quality Assurance pillars
- Staff and students should be trained to use the new technology so that they become accustomed to Online -learning systems
- Staff requires continuous training, as Online- learning systems are constantly changing. On-the job training should be considered
- Systems need to be put in place to enable students to access library services, accommodation, etc during COVID-19. The Disability Unit should ensure that differently-abled students are not left behind in the University’s migration to a virtual platform.