Framework for Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement


The following concepts or phrases in connection with quality assurance (QA) are adapted in compliance with the terms and provisions in the BPR developed by the Addis Ababa University.

Academic Standards: are the expected levels of academic attainment used to describe and measure the academic requirements and performance of students at all levels and in all the programs of the University

Quality: the totality of the University’s effectiveness in its core processes and functions to satisfy stakeholder’s needs, priorities, and requirements (fitness for purpose); to fulfill requirements of relevance in transforming learners; and to be responsive for accountability purposes.

Quality Assessment: A periodic review and evaluation of programs, courses, instructional materials, teaching learning, and outcomes based on the BPR (Business Process Re-engineering) requirements.

Quality Assurance: planned systematic, structured, continuous review and evaluation of all programs, courses, instructional materials, teaching, learning, assessment at the University with the purpose of maintaining and improving these through continuous quality care efforts; and confirming the conditions are in place for students to achieve the standards set by the University and relevant national bodies (MoE/HERQA). It comprises all the systems, procedures, and processes directed at ensuring the enhancement of the quality and standards of the program course, instructional materials, teaching and learning effectiveness.

Quality Audit: A process of review of the University’s core process by HERQA or other agency to check that quality and relevance of the programs, curricula, staff infrastructure, and other elements meet the stated objectives and aims of the University and to   determine the level of the University’s system of quality care and accountability.

Quality care: the University’s system to ensure that all its core processes are sound enough to enhance quality teaching and learning, research, and service delivery through permanent maintenance mechanisms.

Purpose and scope

In compliance with BPR requirements of the University, the policy provides, defines, and guides the function, role, and responsibilities of all stakeholders with regard to supporting the University quality improvement efforts by drawing attention to the applicable guidelines, procedures, instruments on program development and review, assessment and evaluation of student teaching and course evaluation, and accreditation. It thus enhances the realization of the ideals of reform as encapsulated in the University’s Strategic Plan and the BPR.

The policy applies to all three levels ((undergraduate, masters, and PhD) and program across university in terms of program development and review; assessment and evaluation of student work; teaching and course evaluation and accreditation procedures

Policy statements

The following are the major elements of AAU’s policy on Quality Assurance:

Efficiency and purposefulness

AAU espouses the principle of ‘’less is more’’ where academic programs will be purposefully and efficiently organized to produce more value less time and resources giving more attention to national priorities.

Quality core processes

AAU aspires for quality programs, courses of study, instructional materials, teaching, learning, research and continuous improvement as core values. These values are intrinsic to the work of all faculty and staff, the leadership, and other stakeholders who undertake or support teaching and the promotion of learning and research.

Evidence-based approaches

The University believes in the central importance of evaluating its core process against appropriate national and international benchmarks. Its quality assurance methods are evidence-based, where outcomes and feedback from stakeholders (including students, staff, employers and alumni) will provide the basis for analyses and conclusions on which improvements are planned.

Rigorous and continuous monitoring and evaluation

The University commits itself to rigorously and continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of its work processes and quality assurance procedures to ensure that they are operating in accordance with good practices in the best interests of all stakeholders and the maintenance of academic excellence which the university aspires to.


Evaluations (formative as well as summative) of programs, courses, instructional materials, teaching and learning effectiveness will be transparent and participatory.


This Policy aligns with the University’s mission, vision, and values which have been defined in the University’s Strategic Plan (2015).

Reasons for the policy

Addis Ababa University (AAU) is entrusted with the task of producing graduates of very high quality for the country in general and the expanding tertiary education in particular. In addition to this high responsibility vested in the University as a leading national institution, the changing landscape of higher education nationally and internationally has added urgency to the need to transform its core academic and support processes. Cognizant of these, AAU has entered into a process of radical transformation gearing all its efforts to assure quality teaching, learning, research, and service delivery through regular review and improvement process.

As one of its major transformation agenda, AAU is currently entering the implementation phase of the reform envisaged in its Strategic Plan (SP) and Business Process Re-engineering (BPR).

The reform transforms all the major functions of the university: teaching learning, research, and community services.

Responsible Bodies

Office for Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement

The primary purpose of the Office for Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement  is to provide leadership in the coordination of university-wide efforts to improve student learning and enhance institutional effectiveness. The following are some of the specific responsibilities to be articulated in its vision, mission and objective statements.

  • Coordinate and direct the development of strategies, policies and procedures directing quality assurance and enhancement to ensure that these are maintained, reviewed and enhanced.
  • Support Schools/Faculties, Departments, Program Units in quality care matters.
  • Work in consultation with the campus community to establish, coordinate, and monitor the University’s assessment programs.
  • Provide assistance for assessment conducted by academic departments as part of Academic Program Review.
  • Coordinate and direct testing and assessment services.
  • Provide assistance for assessment conducted by administrative units as part of the Support Unit Review processes.
  • Establish and maintain a set of procedures which allow the University to respond in a systemic and transparent manner to the external requirements of External Audit Agencies.
  • Ensure compliance with the University’s quality framework to meet required standards
  • Ensure that a robust external examiner system is in place and clear procedures of examination and thesis defense are in place for all programs.
  • Work with Faculties/Schools/Departments to provide professional advice and guidance on quality assurance and enhancement matters.
  • Support enhancement of quality of education.
  • Serve as a resource for the University community in its collective commitment to high level quality.

Implementation of the policy

Implementation of the policy includes critical self-evaluation; internal peer review; involvement of external disciplinary expertise; involvement of other external expertise/advice; involvement of students; involvement of faculties/schools/institutes; involvement of institutional leadership; involvement of alumni; assessment of interdisciplinary programs; and accreditation of all the programs. Consequently, each program, course, instructional materials, teaching and learning effectiveness is subject to periodic (formative) and summative evaluation and accreditations.

Stakeholders: join us and advise us on!!

  • Areas that need intervention in terms of quality enhancement in AAU!
  • Best approaches to introduce to AAU’s context to maintain academic standards and higher education quality!
  • Areas that are prone to academic corruption and thus to deteriorating quality!
  • Strategies that would help us cope up with growing challenges to maintaining AAU’s educational quality and keep them up to the level of best practices!
  • Our journey towards meeting international academic standards and thereby international accreditations, and by so doing this achieving excellence in higher education quality!