As a national quality assurance and regulatory agency for the country’s higher education sector, the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (ZIMCHE) has been conducting physical assessments of facilities and related resources as part of its programme accreditation process.
Programme accreditation is one of the ZIMCHE’s key functions, which aims to ensure that all higher education academic programmes meet the minimum quality assurance standards defined in the Council’s assessment criteria or instrument. The accreditation process is conducted through various experts or peer reviewers who are seasoned academics and industry experts convened by the ZIMCHE as determined by the proposed programme(s). While programme accreditation includes evaluation of the programme design or regulations, lecturer-to-student ratios, and staff qualifications, another critical aspect involves the physical or virtual assessment of facilities and related resources.
Working with peer reviewers, the ZIMCHE will determine if facilities such as lecture rooms, ICT facilities, library resources, and laboratories or workshops are appropriate and safe for a proposed new programme.
To this end, a delegation led by the ZIMCHE and comprising various peer reviewers and professional experts, among them members of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and the Council for Legal Education (CLE), recently conducted a physical assessment of facilities and resources at Africa University (AU) in Mutare, for the accreditation of the institution’s two proposed new programmes. The delegation was met by the AU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Mageto and his team, who took them through the physical assessment.
In the same vein, the ZIMCHE delegation, with the aid of another team of peer reviewers, also visited Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences (MSUAS), where they conducted a physical assessment of facilities and resources for the accreditation of the institution’s two proposed new programmes. The delegation was met by the MSUAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Albert Chawanda and his team, who also took them through the physical assessment.
As universities continue to introduce new programmes in line with the heritage-based Education 5.0 philosophy, which seeks to foster higher education outputs that result in the creation of goods and services, it is expected that the ZIMCHE will continue to undertake physical assessments to facilitate the introduction of new, quality-assured, and Education 5.0 complaint programmes.