Map showing Sierra Leone

Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone is bringing together higher education institutions across Sierra Leone to improve quality management in higher education and support the introduction and implementation of outcome-based education. It aims to bring about a student-centred focus within higher education across the country, leading to a more responsive and capable national workforce.

The challenge

Sierra Leone’s higher education system has been negatively affected by poor financing, limited staff training opportunities, ailing research infrastructure and the lack of an effective quality management system. This has led to teachers at the higher education level being unable to align course content with the needs of the job market and the aspirations of the growing number of students.

The solution

The partnership is creating an enabling environment for the introduction of outcome-based education by establishing a National Qualifications Framework and complementary assurance systems. It is supporting the implementation of outcome-based education by helping to realign curricula, building the capacity of staff and introducing innovative teaching and learning systems across higher education institutions. In this way, the partnership will lay the foundation for introducing innovative teaching and learning systems and ensuring lecturers can utilise emerging IT opportunities to create a rich mix of classroom experiences for students.

Highlights

As of January 2021:

  • 123 modules have been revised across four undergraduate degree programmes in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), Health, Management and Agriculture. The programme content and pedagogical approaches of these modules are now aligning with employer needs.
  • 27 programmes across the seven higher education institutions participating in the project are independently revising their curricula using templates and support from AQHEd-SL staff and systems.
  • A Skills Development Network representing employers from key sectors in Sierra Leone has been set up and is working with AQHEd-SL to advise on degree programme content and curriculum design.
  • 136 staff have been trained in new pedagogical techniques and critical thinking, plus gender, diversity and equity best practice.
  • A Teaching, Learning and Assessment manual providing guidance on how to improve quality management systems has been produced and disseminated to all internal quality assurance units established at every higher education institution in Sierra Leone.
  • A postgraduate diploma in quality assurance has been developed and 18 quality assurance champions have so far graduated.
  • In September 2020, a High-Level Task Force including government officials, universities and businesses was launched to implement AQHEd- SL’s reforms across Sierra Leone, and to scale up the project’s work on employer engagement, quality assurance and staff training nationally.

The partners

The Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone partnership is led by the University of Sierra Leone, working with partners from Sierra Leone - Njala University, the University of Makeni, Tertiary Education Commission, Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers, the 50/50 Group, Eastern Polytechnic, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology, Freetown Teacher’s College and Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology – plus King’s College London and INASP from the UK, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from the US.

See also