Evaluation of a quality assurance framework for promoting quality research, innovation and development in higher education institutions in Zimbabwe

by Evelyn Chiyevo Garwe, Juliet Thondhlana and Amani Saidi

01 Apr 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
32 (pp. 127-157)

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Abstract: In the spirit of quality assurance, this paper presents a self-evaluation and peer review of the external quality assurance framework for research implemented by the national quality assurance agency for Zimbabwe. Documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews were used to develop a self-evaluation report which was then subjected to international peer review as is the norm in quality assurance evaluations. The evidence from self-evaluation indicates that the quality assurance framework generated significant improvement in the quality and quantity of research with gaps identified in doctoral training and supportive structures for research. Peer review recommended the inclusion of a performance-based research funding arrangement akin to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) used in the United Kingdom whilst throwing caution on the contentious nature of the REF. The paper recommends the development, implementation, and review of quality assurance frameworks for research to guide institutions, enhance research, and to maintain consistency and harmony in the research system. These findings can be adapted by different national quality assurance agencies involved in the regulation, promotion, and enhancement of the quality of teaching, innovation, knowledge production, and engagement/outreach in higher education.

Keywords: Research, innovation, quality assurance framework, self-evaluation, peer review.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 1 (Repositioning of Africa in Knowledge Production: Shaking off Historical Stigmas).

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