The Council on Higher Education (CHE) is an independent statutory body established in May 1998 in terms of the Higher Education Act (Act No 101 of 1997), as amended and it functions as the Quality Council for Higher Education in terms of the National Qualifications Framework Act (Act No 67 0f 2008).
The functions of the CHE include the following:
- To provide advice to the Minister of Higher Education and Training on request or on its own initiative, on all aspects of higher education policy.
- To develop and implement a system of quality assurance for higher education, including programme accreditation, institutional audits, quality promotion and capacity development, standards development and the implementation of the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF).
- To monitor and report on the state of the higher education system, including assessing whether, how, to what extent and with what consequences the vision, policy goals and objectives for higher education are being realised.
- To contribute to the development of higher education through intellectual engagement with key national and systemic issues, including international trends, producing publications, holding conferences and conducting research to inform and contribute to addressing the short and long-term challenges facing higher education.
The CHE has executive responsibility for quality assurance and promotion and discharges this responsibility through the establishment of a permanent committee (as required by the Higher Education Act), the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC).
The functions of the CHE are given effect through the following organisational units:
- Office of the CEO - for the strategic direction of the CHE and for co-ordinating the advice function of the CHE.
- Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate - responsible for monitoring trends, reporting on the state of higher education, facilitating debate and researching issues in higher education.
- Standards Development Directorate - responsible for the development of policy, criteria and standards for higher education qualifications to inform and guide the development, registration and publication of qualifications.
- Institutional Audits Directorate - responsible for conducting audits of the quality assurance systems of higher education institutions.
- Programme Accreditation Directorate - responsible for the accreditation of new programmes submitted by public and private higher education institutions as well as the re-accreditation of existing programmes offered by private providers.
- National Reviews Directorate – responsible for the re-accreditation of existing programmes in specific subject fields and qualification levels.
- Corporate Services Directorate – responsible for the provision of administrative, financial, technical and professional services to support the discharge of the core mandate of the CHE.