A national review is a rigorous process that can take up to 24 months to complete. It is an evidence-based exercise where participating departments put together a self-evaluation report according the accreditation criteria established by experts from the programme. This evidence is then corroborated on site by a review-panel that includes programme experts and appropriate staff from the National Reviews Directorate.
The next step involves the verification of reports submitted by the on-site review panels. This is done by the National Reviews Committee made up of senior academics with expertise in programme accreditation among others. They check the reports for use of evidence and consistency in judgements within and across reports. Their recommendations which can range from commend to suggestions to close the programme are presented to the HEQC. The HEQC is empowered to make re-accreditation decisions based on the reports of the review-panel and recommendation/s of the National Reviews Committee.
The final step in the process is the preparation of a national report that maps the programme onto the national higher education landscape and provides an in-depth analysis of the programme’s performance. It will identify good practices as well as highlight areas that need further consideration.
National reviews are not ranking exercises nor are they punitive. The aim is to enhance and improve the quality of a programme. It is not a name and shame exercise.