An Assessment of the Implementation of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Private Higher Education Institutions in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This study was concerned with implementation of quality assurance and accreditation system in private higher education institutions in Ethiopia being delimited to nine institutions found in Addis Ababa, and to identifY the outcome as well as the problems encountered in translating it into practice. It was also aimed at suggesting alternative solutions. In order to achieve this end, the descriptive survey approach was employed. Questionnaires were distributed to instructors and department heads in the nine private higher education institutions, and interviews were conducted with officials of the same institutions and that of HERQA on the issue under consideration. The data obtained were, then, analyzed using various statistical techniques such as percentages and chi-square tests. The findings of the study suggested that, in most cases, certain variables which were assumed to be program quality indicators like objectives, contents, organization, and didactic concept of a program were considered to be significantly adequate. However, other components of program quality such as staff quality, student quality, facilities and in/i'astructure, quality assurance system, student evaluation mechanisms, curriculum deSign, staff development activities, feedback /i'om stakeholders, and out put quality were found to be very low. Apart from this, the fact that some of the expected institution quality indicators like clarity of mission statements, policy plan, jUnding status, educational activities, and human resources in aggregate stipulations were regarded as adequate. Other variables for instance, institutional achievement, management system, stakeholder satisfaction, research activities, contribution to society, and subject benchmarking were found to be significantly low in many private higher education institutions. In line with this, the data obtained revealed that the implementation status of the sole regulatory organ of quality assurance and accreditation system (i.e., HERQA) was also jiJund to be weak in general. On top of that, government support to the institutions in the private sector in areas of access to incentives, provision of short-term training, provision of technical support, and fostering public-private partnership was extremely low. To this effect, the implementation practice of quality assurance and accreditation system in many private higher education institutions in Ethiopia has been seriously impaired in contrary to the expected policy directions. Thus, it is recommended that all concerned bodies (private institutions, the regulatolY body - HERQA, and the government) have to take immediate measures. Accordingly, private higher education institutions should develop mechanisms so as to have adequate resources qualitatively and quantitatively pertinent to quality assurance and accreditation. Researches have to be conducted in such a way that the principles of quality of program as well as institution in the higher education system of the private sector would be translated into practice. HERQA should also strengthen its overall capacity in the area of discharging the expected duties and responsibilities and it should be empowered to "stand on its legs ". Moreover, the government should support private higher education institutions in terms of incentives, training, and the like based on the policy directions on the issue under consideration.