The South African Council on Higher Education is an independent statutory body established by the Higher Education Act, No. 101 of 1997. The CHE as the Quality Council for Higher Education advises the Minister of Education on all higher education issues and is responsible for quality assurance and promotion through the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC).
The CHE was established in May 1998 in terms of the Higher Education Act, No 101 of 1997 (reference: Higher Education Act 101 of 1997
The responsibilities assigned to the CHE by the Higher Education Act and the Education White Paper 3 of 1997 (reference: Education White Paper 3: A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education
) can be grouped into four main areas of work:
advising the Minister of Education at his or her request, or proactively, on all policy matters related to higher education
assuming executive responsibility for quality assurance and quality promotion within higher education and training, including programme accreditation, institutional audits, programme evaluation, quality promotion and capacity building
monitoring and evaluating whether, how, to what extent and with what consequences the vision, policy goals and objectives for higher education are being realised, including reporting on the state of South African higher education
contributing to the development of higher education by taking initiatives to provide guidance on key national and systemic issues, producing publications, holding conferences and conducting research to inform government and stakeholders about immediate and long-term challenges of higher education
These areas of responsibility are reflected in the structure of the CHE's secretariat.
The Office of the CHE's Chief Executive Officer and the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate
are responsible for giving effect to the organisation's responsibilities in the areas of advice and monitoring, and the development of higher education.
The CHE has one permanent committee, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC)
. The HEQC has executive responsibility for quality promotion and quality assurance in higher education. It is led by an Executive Director, who is also responsible for coordinating the work of the HEQC with that of the higher education institutions and for relations with stakeholders in general.
The HEQC has three directorates:
Institutional Audits Directorate -
responsible for conducting audits of public and private higher education institutions' systems for ensuring good quality of provision in the three core functions of teaching and learning, research and community engagement.
National Reviews Directorate - responsible for re-accrediting existing programmes in specific disciplines and/or qualification areas.
Programme Accreditation Directorate - responsible for accrediting the learning programmes of public and private higher education institutions.