Lesotho Council on Higher Education (CHE) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Ntoi Litšabako, says collaboration is crucial in strengthening quality assurance in higher education.
Speaking during a five-day benchmarking visit from 28 February to 4 March 2022, Dr Ntoi said the challenges faced by the CHE Lesotho were similar to those faced by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) and other regional higher education quality assurance agencies.
“One of the things I have found so far is that the challenges that I thought were facing Lesotho alone are actually some of the challenges that you have here … The issue of financing, If you have an institution that is highly dependent on government subvention, it’s not a plus because then it becomes very difficult for you to expand and be able to effectively carry out your mandate, and that is a similar problem that we have in Lesotho”, she said.
Dr Ntoi said there is a need for quality assurance bodies to find ways of mobilising third stream income to complement government funding. She noted that it is possible to overcome universal challenges such as funding and heavy workloads through collaborative benchmarking and sharing experiences.
“I think it is very necessary for us to collaborate and that collaboration must be underpinned by sharing strategy, expertise and even standards in quality assurance.”
The CHE Lesotho CEO also applauded the direction of Zimbabwe’s higher education system informed by the Heritage Based Education 5.0 Doctrine and driven by the incisive and highly competent leadership of the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor dr Amon Murwira.
“There are a lot of things that I am taking home. I have been very impressed with the quality assurance processes and mechanisms employed in this country and the understanding that professionals in the institutions of higher learning have with regards to quality assurance”.
“One of the most impressive things about Zimbabwe is that its education is highly coordinated, the Education 5.0 policy is remarkable, to have such direction shows leadership at its best … it is something to emulate … when you look at its centrality on heritage, and then you look at its pillars which include innovation, industrialisation, teaching and learning, you can see that this is what should be embedded in our curriculum design from preschool to university… it is power, and this is something that I am taking with me”, said the CEO.
Dr Ntoi’s visit to Zimbabwe was an opportunity for the CHE Lesotho and the ZIMCHE to exchange notes on a wide range of topical issues in quality assurance in higher education, including best practices and quality assurance standards, particularly in the face of rapidly digitalising higher education systems. The CHE Lesotho and ZIMCHE have enjoyed mutual cooperation over the years. At one point, students from Lesotho came to Zimbabwe to complete their medical studies at the University of Zimbabwe. The two agencies also have common membership of several regional and international quality assurance bodies.
Dr Ntoi is a seasoned educationist and administrator with a wealth of experience in curriculum design and evaluation. She holds a PhD in Curriculum Evaluation (science education) from the University of Western Cape, South Africa. She was appointed the CHE Lesotho CEO in 2020, and before that, she was CEO of the Examinations Council of Lesotho. Her experience in education spans over three and a half decades.