Quality Assurance Authority – Vacancy Notice – Executive Director

The Quality Assurance Authority is inviting applications from qualified candidates for appointment on a 3-year contract (renewable annually) to the post of Executive Director of the Authority

Background Information:

The Quality Assurance Authority was set up in January 2020 following the promulgation of the Higher Education Act 2017. This corporate body is responsible, inter-alia,

  1. to promote, maintain and enhance (i) quality assurance of higher education in line with international standards (ii) high quality standards in higher education through appropriate quality assurance mechanisms; and
  2. enhance and identify good practice in higher education.

The deadline for submission of application is Friday 12 April 2024 by 1600 hrs local time.

All relevant details pertaining to application procedure, duties and salary are available at https://qaa.ac.mu/vacancies

Note: Only the best qualified candidates will be called for interview. The Authority reserves the right not to make any appointment following this advertisement without incurring any liability towards any applicant.

1st Announcement – 6th SAQAN Conference 2024

David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa, Livingstone, Zambia
25th – 27th September 2024
Hosted by:
Higher Education Authority

Objectives of the SAQAN Conference

The main objective of the Annual SAQAN conference is to bring together quality assurance practitioners and researchers in the SADC region and beyond to share experiences, best practices and approaches towards promoting the culture of quality assurance in Higher Education. It is also intended to serve as a platform for exchanging research findings pertaining to quality assurance, promotion and development.

Theme of the 6th SAQAN Conference

Strengthening and harmonising quality assurance in the SADC region and beyond through sharing experiences and good practices. 

Quality assurance (QA) in higher education has become a global phenomenon. Its growth is due to several factors, such as the massification of Higher Education (HE), competition, privatisation, the emergence of several modes of HE delivery, such as open and distance learning, and an increase in cross-border education, which in some cases may have led to questionable standards of HE. As part of the global growth in QA, continental and global agencies have been set up, some of them as business enterprises and some of them as statutory national agencies. For example, European Union countries came together to establish the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG–QA) in 2005. More recently, in 2019, the African Union established the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance for Higher Education (ASG–QA). The ASG–QA are a set of standards and guidelines for internal and external quality assurance in higher education institutions in Africa. The rapid growth in the number of higher education institutions, including private higher education institutions and the establishment of quality assurance agencies has called for the need to strengthen and harmonise quality assurance systems nationally, regionally and globally. For example, the ASG-QA (2019) document maintains that harmonised QA systems in HE is imperative for Africa to realise the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent. The African Union (AU) has, at the highest level, called for the harmonisation and strengthening of the quality of higher education in Africa to make it both locally relevant and globally competitive.

The preceding is consistent with the AU’s Agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want” and is an essential instrument for facilitating the recently signed AU Continental Free Trade Area. These efforts culminate in Africa’s long-time desire for harmonised HE systems that can facilitate the mobility of trained people with accredited qualifications. The ASG document further notes that diverse HE systems on the continent have resulted in the challenges regarding mutual recognition of university qualifications, constraining academic integration and the mobility of students across the African continent. The mutual recognition of qualifications aligns with the Addis Ababa Convention of 2015 on the recognition of qualifications on the continent. The convention establishes a legal framework for a fair and transparent and non-discriminatory assessment/recognition of qualifications in Africa in order to facilitate cooperation and inter-institution exchanges through the mobility of students, researchers, and staff. It results from long-standing cooperation between UNESCO and the African Union to support the African Union’s Strategy for harmonisation of HE programmes. The Addis Ababa Convention creates a binding agreement around the norms and standards for formal procedures recognising foreign HE qualifications and those providing access to higher education institutions in Africa.

The Addis Ababa convention also seeks to enhance quality assurance systems in HE on the continent. Robust QA systems are critical in assessing qualifications for recognition. The bodies tasked to assess these qualifications should know the QA system of an institution where the qualification was obtained. The Addis Convention emphasises the need to strengthen higher education quality by enhancing internal and external quality assurance systems.

Collective endorsement of harmonisation and mutual recognition presupposes increased attention to quality and quality assurance in higher education. The rapid growth in the number of students and higher education institutions and the increased focus on employability have also highlighted the importance of quality and quality assurance. If Africa’s investment in the education of its youth is to reap demographic dividends, quality and quality assurance in higher education and training are essential. In view of the foregoing, sharing experiences and good practices in QA is critical for Africa to strengthen and harmonise its quality assurance systems. Indeed, sharing best practices and experiences in quality assurance in higher education is a collaborative and collective effort that benefits institutions, professionals, and students alike and is one way of facilitating harmonisation. It promotes a culture of continuous improvement, collaboration, and accountability, leading to quality higher education and better student outcomes


  1. External quality assurance of blended and online programmes and qualifications, including fields where most of the work is of a practical nature.
  2. Internal quality assurance of blended and online programs and qualifications, including in fields where most of the work is of a practical nature.
  3. Impact of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence on Quality Assurance in higher education.
  4. Quality Assurance in Open and Distance Learning.
  5. Experiences and proposals for internalising the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ASG-QA) and the Continental Qualifications Framework.
  6. Experiences and proposals for using African Open Educational Resources (OERs) and microcredentials.
  7. The role in of data, and data analytics (for example through implementation of graduate tracer studies) in Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
  8. Contextualising Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

2024 Conference Paper Options

Long Papers

Word Count:

  • Abstract: 100-150 words
  • Full Long Paper: up to 6000 words, excluding abstract but including references

Submission deadline by: 29th March 2024 Email to: saqan.conference@hea.org.zm

Final Submission date for re-worked papers: 31st July 2024. Email to saqan.conference@hea.org.zm

Format: Similar to articles/papers required by journals, i.e., abstract, introduction, literature review/conceptual framework, theoretical framework, methodology, findings, discussion and conclusion. Please indicate the corresponding author if there is more than one author.

Reviewing Process

  1. Long papers are reviewed by at least two qualified peer reviewers. On completion the corresponding author is advised of the outcome.
  2. If the paper is accepted with modifications, the re-worked paper(s) must be submitted as noted above to saqan.conference@hea.org.zm by 04 June 2024.
  3. The Review Panel presumes that: the paper is original; permission has been granted by all authors to have the paper presented at the 6th SAQAN conference.
  4. At least one of the authors is registered and attends the conference to present the accepted paper.
  5. The author’s details shall be removed before submission to reviewers by the Organising Committee.
  6. Long papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in the first edition of the SAQAN Journal for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, which will be launched at the conference.

Presentation of Accepted paper, Programme Requirements

  1. By 15 July 2024, author(s) with accepted short papers are required to prepare and submit:
    • Paper PowerPoint presentation slides
    • Present the short paper during the thematic programme sessions. Authors are expected to briefly introduce themselves to the delegates and present their paper and respond to questions from the floor during the Q and A session.

Poster Papers

Word Count:

  • Abstract: 100-150 words
  • Full Poster: 1 500 words

Submission deadline by: 29th March 2024 Email to: saqan.conference@hea.org.zm

Final Submission date for re-worked papers: 31st July 2024. Email to: saqan.conference@hea.org.zm

Poster Paper Content: A word document providing an outline of the content of the poster. Corresponding author details must be indicated if there is more than one author.

  1. Reviewing Process: Reviewers look for interesting topics for further research with content that illustrates the main features of the research. 
  2. The author’s details shall be removed before submission to reviewers by the Organising Committee.

Presentation Requirements:

  1. Presenters are required to bring a standard poster to the conference.
  2. A session for poster presentation shall be allocated during the Conference programme.
  3. Presenters are required to be present to present their posters and interact with delegates.


SADC and International ParticipantsUSD350-00
Local ParticipantsUSD200-00

Request for an invoice from: finance@hea.org.zm

For further information call or email:

HEA Office +260 211 227 084

Mr. Birbal Musoba +260 975 002 649 / birbal.musoba@hea.org.zm

Mr. Francis Kawesha +260 979 264 810 / francis.kawesha@hea.org.zm

Fifth INQAAHE Talks webinar on November 16

A joint webinar of INQAAHE and the Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) 

This joint webinar session with the Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) will focus on issues surrounding quality assurance of online and blended higher education within the Southern African context. As online and blended education becomes a more prevalent mode of delivery to support access and opportunity for a wide range of students across the region, issues surrounding quality become paramount. The need to share regional and international experiences of online and blended learning and the quality assurance thereof is opportune as we emerge from a time of significant change and now settle into planning of the future.  

Invited speakers will share findings from a survey report on how students accessed and used learning materials during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will further hear about the quality assurance of online learning from the Southern African perspective, and views on student-teacher experiences in online learning in Lesotho. Finally, they will share their insights on academic integrity and quality assurance of online and blended learning and will consider the global trends and best practices surrounding online and distance education.

Join us on November 16 (Wednesday) at 14:00 UTC (16:00 Johannesburg time) to learn more about the insights and expertise from:

Dr Whitfield Green

Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Higher Education, an organisation mandated to conduct research on higher education, monitor trends in higher education, provide advice to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, and the apex organization for quality assurance of higher education in South Africa. 

Prof Richard Siaciwena

Vice Chancellor of the Zambian Open University (ZAOU) where he previously served as the Director of the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Extension Services

Dr Paballo Mokenela

Lecturer and Head of the Adult Education Department at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). She is responsible for the management and administration of the Diploma, Degree and Masters in Adult Education programmes which are delivered through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. 

Dr Godson Gatsha

Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Services at Botswana Open University (BOU). He is responsible for student support services and regional operations at BOU’s five regional campuses spread across Botswana.

Dr Deb Adair

President of INQAAHE and Executive Director of Quality Matters, an international non-profit organization providing a scalable quality assurance system for digital learning. 

This session will be chaired by:

Mary Catharine Lennon

Board Director of INQAAHE and Senior Policy Advisor at the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board of Ontario (PEQAB) and Research Associate with the Centre for Canadian and International Higher Education (CIHE).

Press Release

The Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN)
Announces the New Executive Committee

SAQAN is pleased to announce the new Executive Committee. At its April 26, 2022, biennial general assembly, the Network elected:

PresidentProf. Stephen Simukanga, Director General Higher Education Authority: Zambia
Vice- PresidentDr Lits’abako Ntoi, Chief Executive Officer Council on Higher Education: Lesotho
TreasurerDr Whitfield Green, Chief Executive Officer Council on Higher Education: South Africa
Executive SecretaryMs Sylvia Demas, Deputy Executive Director National Council for Higher Education: Namibia
Additional MemberDr. Hardson Kwandayi, Director for Academic & Institutional Audits: Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education

The Executive Committee is, among others, responsible for implementing the Strategic Plan, the bi-annual plans and policies as approved by the General Assembly.

The Committee members began their four-year term effective 26 April 2022 and may be eligible for re-election for one more term only.

SAQAN was founded in 2015 as a voluntary and non-profit organisation made up of membership from quality assurance agencies, higher education institutions and professional bodies in the SADC region.

Issued by the Executive Secretary

Click to Here Download Press Release

SAQAN mourns Prof. Narend Baijnath

It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden passing of Prof. Narend Baijnath, which occurred on 01 May 2022. Prof. Baijnath was the former CEO of the Council on Higher Education, South Africa, and was a founding member of the Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN).

Narend was a scholar and an organic intellectual of note with theoretical depth, rigour, and breadth in understanding and articulating critical issues in higher education and quality assurance in our region. His understanding of transformation issues in higher education was unparalleled, as was his knowledge of, and engagement with government departments and other higher education stakeholders. He was an outstanding university manager and leader.

He served as a member of the SAQAN Executive Committee from 2015 to 2020 and as acting president between December 2017 and November 2018. Prof. Baijnath contributed excellently to strengthening the SAQAN family and in many areas in higher education in South Africa, the region and globally.

In South Africa, his last senior university position was as Pro. Vice Chancellor at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Upon leaving the South African Council on Higher Education, he worked with the University of Johannesburg’s SARChI in Higher Education Teaching and Learning. He was also on the Board of the Commonwealth of Learning where he championed the cause of higher education in Africa

We extend our deepest condolences to his wife, children, family and the higher education community in South Africa, and the Southern African region where he was revered and respected as a leading theoretician and practitioner in higher education. The fraternity of higher education in the Southern African region will miss his counsel and leadership on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

May his soul rest in peace!

Prof. Stephen Simukanga

SAQAN President