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Mid-term Evaluation of Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone (AQHEd-SL) SPHEIR project

Mid-term 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 Assurance I Employability


Sierra Leone


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


Concluded (2020)



_ AQHEd-SL aimed to transform the quality, relevance, access and affordability of higher education in Sierra Leone. The partnership was led by the University of Sierra Leone, working with seven other national higher education institutes (degree programmes in health, STEM, agriculture and management), the Sierra Leone Tertiary Education Commission and two international partners.

_ In the first 1.5 years, the project struggled to pick up the necessary speed to operationalise its ambitious project outputs that involved numerous partners.

_ Paeradigms was commissioned to carry out a midterm evaluation of the project, identify blockages and make recommendations how to move forward.


_ The AQHEd-SL mid-term review involved several steps: (a) a baseline 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.

_ Paeradigms carried out a thorough evaluation of AQHEd-SL curriculum reform, evaluating structures, processes, substance and quality of the project with respect to project objectives. Results were validated by the means of triangulation and a workshop with partners.

_ Paeradigms went far beyond SPHEIR/AQHEd-SL, providing an in-depth analysis of the project's barriers and enablers. Recommendations were picked up and operationalised which resulted in excellent project outcomes by the end of the project phase (December 2021).


_ 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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