Mali: Quality Assurance Agency established and in operationalization
The Malian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and Research (AMAQ-Sup) was established with the support of the UNESCO-Shenzhen Funds-in-Trust Project on “Strengthening Quality Assurance in Higher Education in Africa”. Following its establishment in 2018, the AMAQ-Sup has made progressive efforts in operationalizing quality assurance activities, including an awareness raising campaign, benchmarking in quality assurance, capacity building of quality assurance professionals, elaboration of an institutional evaluation framework, and more recently, the state-of-the-art study on quality assurance finalized in September 2018.
To disseminate the result of the state-of-the-art study, the AMAQ-Sup organized a workshop on 12 February 2019 with the participation of key stakeholders in higher education. Participants included government officials from the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Innovation and Scientific Research of Mali, rectors of higher education institutions, and quality assurance specialists. The workshop not only shared updates on the status of quality assurance in higher education in Mali, but also provided recommendations for the operationalization of the AMAQ-Sup and internal quality assurance units in higher education institutions.
The higher education reform of Mali, currently underway, aims to improve the performances and quality of higher education and research system. In Mali, the regulation of quality represents a primary challenge given the increasing academic mobility, massification and privatization of higher education, as state by Dr. Abdel Kader KEITA, Director of the Malian Directorate-General of Higher Education and Scientific Research, national focal point of the UNESCO-Shenzhen Project.
At both global and continental levels, evaluation practices are being consolidated, while at national levels, countries are putting in place quality assurance procedures to assure the quality of higher education and research. In the case of Mali, the creation of an autonomous quality assurance agency, in the form of a public scientific and technological institution, is indispensable to the reform of the Malian higher education system.
UNESCO is thus committed to support the reform process by providing technical backstopping to the establishment of the AMAQ-Sup in close collaborations with implementation partners and national stakeholders within the framework of the UNESCO-Shenzhen project. Since the inception of the project in March 2017, Mali has made significant progress in the establishment and operationalization of its national quality assurance agency.
Following the promulgation of the law in establishment of the AMAQ-Sup on June 27, 2018, the decree establishing its organization and operating procedures was adopted on September 21, 2018. While putting in place the instrumental instruments, Mali also developed the institutional evaluation framework for quality assurance in July 2018, which was piloted in the University of Segou. Awareness raising and capacity building in quality assurance has also been conducted in Mali with the support of the UNESCO-Shenzhen project and other international partners.
With the operationalization of a national quality assurance agency, Mali is progressing towards establishing a credible national quality assurance system, which is crucial to assure the quality of higher education and the building of a knowledge-based society.