Welcome to the National Reviews Directorate
National reviews are a specialised type of accreditation exercise focusing on existing learning programmes in a particular disciplinary or subject area. This re-accreditation exercise is carried out using specific criteria developed by specialists and peers, and commented on by stakeholders and institutions offering the programmes.
In 2003, all Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes were reviewed; in 2005, the Master in Education programmes; and through 2006 and 2007, the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE), Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and Bachelor in Education (B Ed) programmes were reviewed.
National reviews have three main stages:
Institutions submit their self-evaluation on the extent to which their programmes meet the agreed criteria and minimum standards.
A panel of peers and experts visits the institution. Each panel studies relevant documents, and interviews are held with representatives from management, academic staff, students and alumni. Taking into account the self-evaluation and the outcomes of the visit to the institution, the panel makes recommendations to a specialist Accreditation Committee on the accreditation status of each programme. This Committee submits its recommendations to the HEQC Board.
An analytical report to the institution on the outcome of the re-accreditation process provides a quantitative, qualitative and contextual analysis of the programmes submitted for re-accreditation. The analysis follows lines of enquiry derived from the results of the re-accreditation process, and looks into issues of quality of provision taking into account local and international developments in the specific discipline or programme.
For more information on completed reviews, see Education programmes review
and MBA programmes review
Accreditation Outcomes and Procedures
16 May 2013
The national review of the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) programme is the first national review (NR) project to go online.
The NRonline system is currently under construction, a link will soon be provided which will take you to a splash page which
provides access to all the documents required to complete the SER.
National Reviews will notify you by email as soon as the NRonline system is ready to go live, which should be well before the 30 June deadline.
(reference: National Reviews: Accreditation Outcomes and Procedures following HEQC National Reviews
The regulatory framework of National Reviews
The Higher Education Act (No. 101 of 1997) sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and its permanent committee, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), with regard to policy and quality assurance related matters in the higher education sector. In terms of their respective mandates, the CHE advises the Minister of Education on matters relating to higher education and the HEQC manages the quality assurance activities of all public and private providers operating in the higher education band.
In terms of its mission and vision, the HEQC supports the development, maintenance and enhancement of the quality of public and private higher education provision in order to enable a range of stakeholders to benefit from effective higher education and training. The HEQC performs its quality assurance duties also in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority Act (SAQA), 1995, (Act No 58 of 1995)1
and the SAQA Regulations of 19982
. As the Education and Training Quality Assurance body (ETQA) for higher education, the HEQC is responsible for the accreditation of public and private institutions and their learning programmes.
The underlying objective of the HEQC with regard to quality assurance is:
...to ensure that institutions effectively and efficiently deliver education, training, research and community service which are of high quality and which produce socially useful and enriching knowledge as well as a relevant range of graduate skills and competencies necessary for social and economic progress.3
The quality assurance framework and criteria of the HEQC are based on a multi-faceted definition of quality4
Fitness of purpose based on national goals, priorities and targets.
Fitness for purpose in relation to a specified mission within a national framework that encompasses differentiation and diversity.
Value for money judged in relation to the full range of higher education purposes set out in the White Paper on Higher Education. Judgements about the effectiveness and efficiency of provision include but are not confined to labour market responsiveness and cost recovery.
Transformation, in the sense of developing the capabilities of individual learners for personal enrichment, as well as the requirements of social development and economic and employment growth.
The specific functions of the HEQC are to:
promote quality assurance in higher education
audit the quality assurance mechanisms of institutions of higher education
accredit programmes of higher education
The essence of the complex regulatory framework of which the CHE/HEQC is part can be briefly stated as:
The DoE approves the programme and qualification mixes (PQMs) of public higher education institutions. It funds programmes of these institutions that are accredited by the HEQC, and it registers all private higher education institutions for the specific programmes before they are permitted to operate.
SAQA registers each qualification on the NQF.
The HEQC accredits programmes leading to NQF-registered qualifications of higher education institutions. In relevant cases, this is done in co-operation with statutory professional councils and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
Final responsibility for accreditation decisions rests with the HEQC.
The South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995, (Act No 58 of 1995), Section 5(1)(a)(ii).
Regulations under the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995, (Act No 58 of 1995).
CHE, Quality Assurance in Higher Education, p 2 (Pretoria: 2001) (reference: Quality Assurance in Higher Education: The Role and Approach of Professional Bodies and SETAs to Quality Assurance)
HEQC, Accreditation Framework (Pretoria: 2004) (reference: HEQC: Programme Accreditation Framework)