Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU)
MANAGEMENT, INSPECTION AND
SUPERVISION FOR EFFECTIVE
DELIVERY OF QUALITY HIGHER
Dr. Christine Hongoke
Thematic paper for the Annual Joint
Education Sector Review 2010
29th September 2010
What is TCU?
Established under the Universities Act Cap.346
to harmonize higher education system in
Tanzanian the main functions being to:
• Recognize, approve, register and accredit
university institutions and programs to operate in
• Coordinate the proper functioning of all university
institutions in Tanzania
• Oversee institutional management processes in all
universities in Tanzania as governed by the
Roles of TCU
Regulatory- TCU regulates systems, processes
and quality of universities
Supportive (QA advocacy, etc)-TCU supports
universities and advocates for quality matters
Advisory- Advises Government and stakeholders on
matters of university education.
Common Terminologies in HE
“inspection” and “supervision” : not
commonly used in HE.
common terms are, technical evaluation,
regulation, accreditation and quality assurance.
regulation of university education, is the
prerogative of the Tanzania Commission for
Registration : is preceded by a technical
evaluation on the basis of which the institution is
granted the deserved registration certificate.
What is accreditation?
A continuous process involving technical
evaluation and assessment of an institution
its systems, programmes, inputs ,
environment, and processes.
Recognition of attainment of institutional
status adhering to set quality benchmark
A continuous quality assurance process and
compliance with benchmark standards as set
by the regulatory agency (i.e. TCU, NACTE,
VETA in TZ).
Is a ‘barometer’ used to measure the status
and credibility of an institution.
is both a process and ultimate proof of
credibility through certification granted to
TCU accreditation systems
a) Institutional accreditation or evaluation for
purposes of institutional registration
b) Program accreditation or validation of previously
c) Accreditation of academic awards, and
validation and recognition of foreign awards (to
be integrated into the National Qualifications
Important aspects of the National
TCU is coordinating the task of establishing a
National Qualifications Framework. The
proposed NQF will:
Harmonize education and training at
Have ten levels of qualifications
Link the four education and training
categories currently in operation
The NQF will…….
Have qualifications descriptors
Consider Recognition of Prior Learning
Determine qualifications equivalences
Portability of qualifications through
recognized credit award system
Pre-requisites for institutional
accreditation in TZ
Every university and university college is
prepare a draft Charter with rules and
statutes as legal instruments for the
establishment and running of the
prepare internal academic, general and
special regulations, including internal
quality assessment procedures;
get Senate clearance before submitting
documents to TCU for validation and
Registration and accreditation of
Procedure is stipulated in the Universities
(Chartering, registration and Accreditation
procedures) Regulation, 2006
All public universities established before
2005 were re-registered, reaccredited and
chartered in 2008.
Registration involves institutions
established under any of the following
- Existing universities at the level of
accreditation, e.g. UDSM,SUA,OUT;
- established through transformation of non-
university institutions eg. SUZA & Mzumbe
- transformed Constituent Colleges into full-
fledged universities e.g. from MUCHS to
MUHAS and UCLAS to Ardhi University.
An institution is required to conduct a self-
assessment study and submit the resulting
report as a basis for TCU to conduct an
External evaluation for re-accreditation of
public universities was conducted in 2006
by experts from Kenya, Uganda, Lesotho
Importance of Technical visitations
or site visits
Site visits play a critical role as they provide
opportunities for :
external reviewers to confirm, expand and
elaborate on facts and figures submitted by the
institutions in their self-assessment reports.
peer reviewers to meet with administrators, staff
and students as well as tour facilities in order to
place in context the materials already provided.
Determining the institution’s
Stage 1: Provisional Registration–may admit
students. Granted Certificate of
Provisional Registration (CPR).
Stage 2: Certificate of Full Registration– can
conduct graduations and offer awards
Stage 3: Accreditation stage–fully
operational institution, granted Certificate
Programme validation and
Universities are responsible for designing
and implementing their programmes.
All universities are required by law to ensure
that programmes and matching awards:
- are relevant to the full development of
the holders’ potentials,
-respond to stakeholders’ needs and
-may be achieved by through different
Institutions are expected to adhere to TCU
guidelines and to allocate the necessary
resources and to ensure the achievement of
Principles of Accreditation
Participatory-approach involving universities
in developing criteria and procedures for QA
a mix of institutional self-evaluation and
external or independent assessment;
Principles that focus on improvement not on
Request for institutional feedback on the
objectivity of the report.
Quality in Higher Education
Like other systems, Higher Education
identifies with quality and quantity of
inputs and outputs.
Inputs: include infrastructural,
teaching and learning facilities,
students, staff and financial resources;
Outputs: include graduates from the
QA in Higher Education
Quality refers to fitness for purpose. In the
context of this paper, it extends to take care
of teaching-learning process and research
Quality Assurance: A systematic,
structured and continuous attention to
maintain and improve the effectiveness of
the system or the delivery process and its
Importance of quality assurance in
higher education provision
Globalization requires our institutions to be
linked with international quality assurance
systems for the following reasons:
the demand for greater accountability and
efficiency in respect of public financing.
Trends towards mass participation in the
face of shrinking resources.
Greater stakeholder scrutiny of education,
training processes and outcomes.
Effective delivery of quality higher
External evaluations are expensive.
TCU experience has shown that institution-wide
assessments can have a larger impact in terms of
shifting the institutional culture.
Programmes exist within institutions therefore
chances are that institution-wide assessments can
indirectly lead to improved programmes.
TCU operational tools
In accordance with Section 62 of the Universities Act
No. 7 of 2005, TCU has various guidelines and
Regulations: Chartering, Registration and
Accreditation 2006, and Quality Assurance
Scheme of academic and professional qualifications
and academic titles in universities
Guidelines for admission of students in universities
Guidelines for self-study assessment
Quality Assurance Handbook as part of the IUCEA QA
TCU faces a number of challenges but three are worth
i) Dual role of Inspector and Regulator
TCU as an accreditation body operates as an
evaluator/inspector and regulator of quality. Plays
the role of Prosecutor and Judge. In other words
TCU sets rules and regulations and oversees their
implementation without being regulated itself.
ii) Systems limitations
Having the Universities Act under review means that
TCU continue to issue guidelines which may not
always be adhered to the letter by universities.
iii) Limited number of agreed Programme
TCU is yet to prepare benchmarks for quite a
number of programmes. Most of these benchmarks
need to be agreed by professional bodies before they
can be adopted by universities.
For effective delivery of higher education,
internal quality assurance and institutional
self assessments should be continuous,
uninterrupted processes and should be
conducted at any cost.
Thank you for your attention!