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Q&A with Dr. Victoria Fontan, American University of Afghanistan

The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) has obtained HPass Certified Status.
We talked to Dr. Victoria Fontan, Vice President of Academic Affairs at AUAF, about what this means for the University.

Why did the American University of Afghanistan decide to get involved with HPass?

The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) decided to get involved with HPass as soon as it became live in January 2019, this for three main reasons. First the Learning Standards fit the University’s mission to serve the higher and professional education needs of Afghanistan through the world-class standards by the sector, for the sector. AUAF sees quality assurance as a continuous improvement process that keeps nurturing its learning ecosystem. Being part of HPass enables AUAF to belong to a wider community of humanitarian action learning providers. The second reason is to initiate its digital badging mechanism. The third reason is to enable its students, faculty and staff to access the myHPass platform in order to enhance their networking and professional profiles.

AUAF has recently become an HPass Certified Learning Provider. What does it mean for your organisation?

This HPass Certified Status provides a recognition for AUAF’s efforts to provide world quality education in Afghanistan. It also allows academic affairs and the professional development institute to work hand in hand in a continuous improvement of their learning provision operations. The HPass certification allows for AUAF to continuously improve its practices, nurture an internal reflection on quality and accountability and learning provision, and be part of an international network of certified learning providers for humanitarian action.

Are you planning to develop and use digital badges to recognise skills and learning?

We are planning to develop the use of digital badges so that our students’ achievements can be recognised, and for them to showcase their knowledge, skills, and competencies to employers nationally, regionally and worldwide. The badges will also enable AUAF’s academic and professional development learning offers to be marketed throughout humanitarian professional markets, thus enhancing its visibility and opportunities for future growth.

In your opinion, what are the benefits to the sector of an increased focus on humanitarian professional development and learning?

The sector can only benefit from the professionalisation of development and learning. This professionalisation will enhance the specialisation of knowledge within the sector, quality and accountability towards beneficiaries, and credibility with donors.

Would you recommend HPass to other organisations?

Of course we would recommend HPass to other organisations. Being part of the HPass network opens a whole new world to AUAF in terms of collaborations, exposure of its programs to the humanitarian community worldwide, and also enhanced quality of programs. HPass places AUAF on the humanitarian map.