In the exercise of its mandate the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) is supported by teams of peer experts from the higher education sector. Peer reviewers are identified through a public call for expression of interest to be a reviewer. In principle, a reviewer is a person who is an expert in a particular area of concern to the Council.
Upon receipt of expressions of interest the Secretariat reviews each application to identify eligible reviewers. The criteria includes:
Attainment of Master’s Degree
Five years’ experience post Master’s qualification
Knowledge of higher education within or outside Malawi
For academic reviewers, senior lecturer in a reputable higher education institution with clearly defined criteria for promotion
Based on the criteria the Council has developed a database of reviewers.
The reviewers have been offered training in quality assurance processes focusing on the mandate as provided in the NCHE Act. Initially, the Council provided brief orientation to teams of reviewers selected for specific assignments.
The Council organised training sessions in Blantyre, for reviewers based in higher education institutions in the southern region and in Salima for reviewers in the central and northern regions. Further trainings are envisaged for the future as new experts will be identified and added to the database.
The National Council for Higher Education Areas of focus during trainings of reviewers are:
The registration process
Tools used in the registration process (assessment forms for institutions, ODL and satellite campus)
- Minimum Standards
- Accreditation, Accreditation Tools
- Peer Review Process
- Sharing of peer reviewer experiences
- Reviewer’s guidelines
- Institutional annual reports
- Institutional audits
Reviewers expressed satisfaction with the design and conduct of the trainings. The trainings served as an eye opener on the mandate of the Council and its functions. Experienced and new reviewers requested that there should be a code of conduct for reviewers to guide assessments which is available now.