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CHE > Media and Publications > Accreditation and National Reviews > MBA Re-accreditation Manual
January, 2003

Brief background information

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) has responsibility for quality assurance in higher education, which responsibility it discharges through the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). The HEQC is mandated by the Higher Education Act to promote and support the development, maintenance and enhancement of quality in public and private higher education provision, to audit the quality assurance mechanisms of higher education institutions and to accredit programmes of higher education.

In addition to the above key functions identified in the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997), the National Plan for Higher Education has assigned the following specific quality assurance task to the HEQC:

"The Ministry will request the Higher Education Quality Committee to prioritise the review of the quality of postgraduate programmes."

(NPHE, 2001: section 4.7.1)

The Minister of Education has also indicated to the CHE his concern about the proliferation of MBAs in the system. In the light of the above, the HEQC Board made a decision to undertake a formal evaluation of all MBAs being offered by public and registered private higher education institutions in South Africa (about 24 registered private and public higher Institutions; 6 registered privates; 5 Technikons and 13 Universities). The main components of the re-accreditation task are as follows:

  1. To undertake a comprehensive evaluation of MBAs on offer at public and registered private higher education institutions in South Africa in order to establish the extent, scope and quality of provision.
  2. To re-accredit all existing MBAs in both public and registered private institutions in order to ensure a common framework for quality.

The underlying purpose of the re-accreditation process is to determine whether the quality of MBAs in the system meet the basic requirements of the HEQC in relation to postgraduate provision.

Preparations for the MBA re-accreditation process commenced in April 2002. During this time, a meeting between the HEQC and individuals involved in MBA provision was held where the following issues were discussed:

  1. How best to evaluate MBA programmes, both existing and new.
  2. What to do about substandard MBAs already in the system.
  3. What terms of reference the HEQC should use for reviewing MBA programmes -in relation to methodology, process and criteria.

After extensive discussion of issues pertaining to the HEQC and providers in developing and implementing the HEQC's evaluation and accreditation role, the meeting agreed to focus on two issues:

  1. The scope of a review of the MBA
  2. Criteria to be used in evaluating or accrediting the MBA

The meeting also agreed on a draft schedule of activities for the review/re-accreditation process.

Based on the above, the HEQC sent questionnaires to institutions offering the MBA with the objective of gathering baseline information on all MBA programmes. Responses were received (during January 2003). Draft criteria were also circulated. In developing the criteria for the re-accreditation process, the HEQC had a briefing session by a focus group on 20 February 2003 with a view to outline the process, make explicit the criteria and discuss relevant issues pertaining to the evaluation. Following from the meeting of 20 February 2003 (focus group meeting) the draft criteria has been mailed to all institutions offering accredited and registered MBA for comments. These input/comments formed part of the integration process that fed into the finalisation of the criteria document and the development of instruments for the re-accreditation process.

Prior to the finalisation of the criteria document, the HEQC had a Focus Group meeting on the 14thMarch 2003. The objectives of the above meeting were as follows:

  1. Brief talk about the development of instruments for the re-accreditation of the MBA
  2. Identify suitable evaluators and training of evaluators
  3. Suggesting evaluators for different institutions
  4. Developing an International reference group
  5. Developing a plan for the re-accreditation activity

The next steps will entail:

  1. Submission of a self-evaluation document by providers using an instrument and criteria currently being developed by the HEQC.
  2. An evaluation of provider submissions by relevant experts.
  3. A site visit by a panel of peers and experts.
  4. A re-accreditation decision by the HEQC.
  5. The development of a public report on the state of MBA provision in South Africa.

In addition there will be a call, selection and training of evaluators prior to site visits. It is planned that site visits will commence in July and end in at the end of 2003.

Recommendations from these site visits will be tabled at the HEQC Board for decisions. Outcomes will be communicated to institutions at the end of the year (2003). Information from the re-accreditation process will feed into a report on the state of the quality of MBAs in South African Higher Education.

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