Master of Arts in African Studies

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. Every students gets the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programs compare the goals they have set themselves to the achieved results and adjust the policy accordingly. The portfolios constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp.

A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).

 

Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:

 

Assets of the study programme

  1. Languages ánd cultures: In the African Languages and Cultures programme you learn two African Languages (Swahili and Lingala) and you become introduced to the vast variety of languages that are typical of Africa. Furthermore you will become profoundly acquainted with Africa’s cultural diversity by means of courses on anthropology, history and literature. In addition to this you gain insight into the way in which language, culture and society are influenced by one another.
  2. Bridge by means of multidisciplinarity and multiperspectivism: In addition to the main part on Africa specific courses you can also opt for a minor which leaves open the door for broadening and/or joining a subsequent programme or the job market. You can choose from Arabic and Islam Studies, Archaeology, Literature, Economics and Business Management, Globalisation and Diversity. You will learn the competences required to set to work creatively and in a problem solving way.
  3. Internationalisation: To gain international experience both at home as abroad is one of our programme’s main points. A semester in Africa is structurally built into the programme and you may subscribe to your work placement abroad. In addition to a stay in Africa you are also granted the opportunity to study at another European university. At home the master in English strengthens your education’s international nature. Furthermore we regularly invite visiting lecturers and guest speakers from abroad. Both your linguistic competences and your social competences are sharpened.
  4. Talent development: In the programme methodology and research or practically oriented courses are evenly balanced. You are offered quite some freedom to compose your study programme according to your interests. You acquire a critical and scientific attitude.
  5. Widely employed: Our graduates do not only have an extensive knowledge of their field, but are also employed in other fields thanks to their broad methodological basis. Your master in English is a real asset in the job market both at home as abroad.

 

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. Motivated team of teachers: All of our teachers are very committed and combine education with international leading research. Teaching assistants are often (near) native speakers of the language instructed. Furthermore we dedicate ourselves to a direct and intensive personal contact between teachers and students. You are guided very well and closely observed in every aspect of your study.
  2. Internationalisation: You are free to attend summer courses in Africa from the beginning. From the third year onwards it is possible to stay for a longer period of time at one of our partner institutions during the academic year (in Tanzania, Kenia, Congo, South-Africa, Ethiopia, or another European university). You are also encouraged to undertake work placement during your stays abroad.
  3. Multiperspectivism and talent development: You have enrolled in a programme which joins a whole range of insights and points of view: this enables us to respond to the multiplicity of talents and students’ interests.
  4. Knowledge creation: Since education and research are closely knit in our programme, you learn to create scientific knowledge yourself. The programme offers you the opportunity to critical thinking and specialisation.
  5. Prospect of the future: At the end of your programme you are well prepared for national and international positions in both the public and the private sector thanks to the Africa semester, the work placement, the minor, and the master in English. The combination of a specific language and culture knowledge with broad academic competences prepares you for the job market or following studies unlike many other programmes.

 

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. Stakeholders’ involvement: We would like to have our students, alumni and the work placement contribute more to our striving for high-quality education. We want to obtain that goal by, for instance, (1) introducing prospective students to alumni, (2) continuing to motivate our students to attend meetings, reply to questionnaires, and take part in focus group interviews, and (3) staying connected with the local and international work field to guarantee a place in the job market.
  2. Effective communication: We have to keep ensuring the inflow’s quality and quantity and improving it if possible by spreading correct information to attract students. This can be done by means of university fairs (SID-ins), info sessions, brochures, and websites, but also by means of social media, online classes, try-out classes, the children’s university, series of lectures, and classes for secondary education… In doing so, we need to keep stressing the importance and impact of the African Languages an Cultures.
  3. Benchmarking: We need to dedicate ourselves more the comparison of our programme with similar programmes at home and abroad, and integrate good practices into the programme if possible.