The Higher Education Act, No. 101 of 1997 (reference: Higher Education Act 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.
To comply with the rules stipulated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
, all learning programmes offered by South African higher education institutions must be accredited.
It is the responsibility of the CHE to put in place and operate this accreditation system. It does so through its Programme Accreditation process
, its Programme Accreditation Directorate
and through the work of its Accreditation Committee
, which is a sub-committee of the HEQC Board.
The HEQC's work in programme accreditation aligns with that of the other key role players as follows:
The Department of Education (DoE) approves the programme and qualification mixes (PQMs) of public higher education institutions. The DoE funds programmes of these institutions that are accredited by the HEQC, and it registers private higher education institutions for specific programmes before they are permitted to operate.
SAQA registers each qualification on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
The HEQC accredits programmes leading to NQF-registered qualifications of higher education institutions. Where relevant, this is done in co-operation with the statutory professional councils and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
Public and private higher education institutions apply for accreditation of programmes through the HEQC-online accreditation system