Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone (SPHEIR)

Review of the process and substance an ongoing curriculum review (CR) of multiple undergraduate degree programmes in Sierra Leone to assess the quality of the CR process and approach taken by partners.



British Council


Higher Education


Evaluation & Monitoring I Curriculum Review I Quality I Employability


Sierra Leone


UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) - formerly DFID





_ The British Council leads the project ‘Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform’ (SPHEIR) aiming to transform the quality, relevance, access and affordability of higher education.

_ The SPHEIR project in Sierra Leone aims to catalyse a transition to outcome-based education that actively involves quality assurance (QA) by universities and the national QA body. The partnership is led by the University of Sierra Leone, working with three other national higher education institutes, the Sierra Leone Tertiary Education Commission and two international partners.

_ Paeradigms was commissioned to carry out a midterm evaluation of the curriculum review process and substance of four degree programmes (health, STEM, agriculture, and management) in different universities with different US and UK technical partners.


_ The curriculum review involved several steps: (a) a base line audit of project documentation and analysis of data generated through in-depth interviews and field observations during the field visit in Sierra Leone; (b) review of teaching and assessment methodology; (c) development of templates to document course-level design through a cyclical model of curriculum review.

_ After a thorough evaluation of the curriculum reform, evaluating structures, processes, substance and quality of the project, Paeradigms went beyond programme indicators, providing an in-depth analysis of the barriers and enablers.

_ Analysed the structures and processes that emerged from the curriculum review to synthesise results with respect to project objectives with cross verification through triangulation and a validation workshop to confirm findings.


_ Each of the four degree programmes were documented in terms of their adherence to the substance of the curriculum review and the transformational effects in the target country, with additional considerations provided beyond the scope of the base-line curriculum review.

_ The evaluation identified risks for the next phase and current gaps in making the programme exemplify quality-assured outcome-based education design and delivery.

_ Concrete recommendations were elaborated detailing focus areas for the remaining project phase to ensure that the mechanisms for achieving outcome-based education with QA measures are exemplified in the Sierra Leone programmes.

_ The full report outlines focus area, specific actions and potential risks for embedding curriculum review capacity in national universities such that this capacity can cascade to other departments and institutions.


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