The West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI), which is one of the 22 African Centers of Excellence under the World Bank funded ACE project, has received International Accreditation for its postgraduate Programmes from AQAS, Germany.
The Agency for Quality Assurance through Accreditation of Study Programs (AQAS), a German- based institution noted for accreditation of excelling Higher Education Institutions has accredited two of WACCI’s post graduate Programmes – PhD in Plant Breeding and MPhil in Seed Science and Technology.
The International Accreditation was granted following a thorough evaluation conducted on WACCI, using the standards and guidelines for quality assurance approved by the European Association for Quality Assurance, European Students Union and the European University Association, among others.
Additionally, a panel of experts made up of Prof. Robert Hänsch, Technical University of Braunschweig, Gemany; Prof. Dr. Michael Kruse, University of Hohenheim, Germany; Dr. Victor Afari-Sefa, World Vegetable Center, Benin; Jorge Moreno Herrero, University of Mainz; Doris Herrmann and Dr. Dorothee Groeger, AQAS, visited the Centre from March 12-16, 2018 to inspect facilities and hold discussions with the Management and stakeholders of WACCI, following an assessment of a Self-Evaluation Report submitted by WACCI to AQAS.
Based on the report of the expert panel and the discussions of the Accreditation Commission at its 71st meeting, the Commission decided that the programmes, Seed Science and Technology (MPhil) and Plant Breeding (PhD) offered by the Centre were accredited. This was confirmed in a letter to WACCI, signed by Dr. Dorothee Groeger of AQAS. The accreditation is valid until September 2024.
Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Director of WACCI has said that this accreditation will pave way for strategic collaborations with institutions in Europe and also increase the Centre’s capacity to boost research and help ensure food security in the sub-region. He noted, “We are currently restructuring with a focus on research for impact. This international accreditation should attract strategic partners from Europe and beyond to work with us in product development using modern science for the efficient and effective development of game-changing products for the inclusive transformation of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa,”
He added, that in order to facilitate the “Ghana and Africa beyond aid” agenda, there should be increased investments in research “We see our work impacting food and nutrition security in Ghana and beyond in the next few years. We believe the Ghana and Africa beyond aid agenda would not be a mirage if governments invest heavily in the food value chains. Innovation should be a high priority. Let’s put some funds in the home for innovations, our universities, and let’s challenge our scientists to deliver,” he said.
The Team Leader of the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence Project, Mr. Andreas Blom also added that, this is an “an indisputable testament to the quality of WACCI’s education”
WACCI currently runs one of the largest PhD educational programme in Africa with 62 students at various stages of training. It has also evolved into a top-tier plant breeding education institution globally and a leader in maize improvement in West and Central Africa.