Download: Framework for Programme Accreditation, 2004

The Accreditation Framework sets out a common accreditation policy framework for all programmes and qualifications that fall within the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework (HEQSF) and within the jurisdiction of the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) and which are offered by higher education institutions. It recognises further that professional bodies establish the criteria for licensing candidates to practice in their respective professions, and that in so doing they may play a role in the quality assurance of programmes or qualifications that form part of the requirements for such licensing.

The framework affirms the principles and processes for programme accreditation, and in many ways consolidates what was already in place. The main difference in this revised framework is the introduction of a new process of institutional assessment that seeks to align programme accreditation with the quality assurance of institutional arrangements such that the achievement of minimal external accreditation processes for qualifying institutions can be facilitated. This process is envisaged to be implemented post the HEQSF-alignment process; thus not before 2015.

Features of the framework

  • provides guidance on managing concerns with quality in programmes that appear after accreditation has been granted, outlines a process for the review of accreditation, its suspension or withdrawal
  • sets out the mechanisms for dealing with disputes and for dealing with complaints about the quality of particular offerings
  • linking programme and institutional assessment, and in linking accreditation to the alignment of programmes with the HEQSF, it addresses the lack of formal accreditation processes for existing programmes in public higher education in particular
  • sets out streamlined process for re-accreditation in relation to the requirements for the renewal of registration of private providers with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
  • sets out the relationship of programme accreditation processes with other external quality assurance processes carried out by the HEQC
  • sets out the relationshio of programme accreditation processes with other external quality assurance processes carried out by the HEQC

Aims of the framework

  • Continue to provide the framework for accrediting programmes based on shared and standard criteria that focus on input, process and output aspects of programmes
  • Provide for the recognition of institutional type, history and performance in implementing these standards
  • Synergise more effectively with other quality assurance processes such as institutional reviews, and 
  • create a meaningful system for assessing quality that is also practical and pragmatic while furthering the goals of improving quality in teaching and learning in the South African higher education system.


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