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CHE > Media and Publications > Accreditation and National Reviews > Update on HEQC's merger project: 2005
January, 2005

2005 was a fruitful year for the HEQC's merger project.

Visits to initiate the merger project

The HEQC undertook visits in 2004 and 2005 to all merging and merged higher education institutions in order to initiate the project, and to ensure that quality issues are explicitly inserted into institutional planning. The following institutions were visited in 2005:

University of Limpopo (31 January 2005)
University of Johannesburg (18 February 2005)
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (24 February 2005)
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (25 February 2005)
Durban Institute of Technology (3 June 2005)
Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science (30 August 2005)

All merged institutions expressed their support for the project.

Follow-up meetings

The above visits were followed up with meetings with high-level staff at institutions regarding details of the project. The following meetings took place in 2005:

University of Johannesburg (31 May 2005)
University of KwaZulu-Natal (9 June 2005)
North West University (1 August 2005)
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (5 August 2005)
University of Limpopo (15 August 2005)
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (17 August 2005)
Tshwane University of Technology (18 August 2005)
Durban Institute of Technology (19 August 2005)
UNISA (25 August 2005)
Walter Sisulu University for Technology and Science (3 November 2005)

The HEQC met with about 90 staff from higher education institutions during these visits.

Guidelines for quality arrangements in merged institutions

Guidelines were developed by the HEQC in the course of 2004/5 to assist merged institutions in the development of new quality management systems, and to prepare for the HEQC's audit and accreditation requirements.1 The guidelines, titled Building new quality management systems in merged higher education institutions deal with the following:

  • Establishment of -
    • An institutional quality management system for the new institution.
    • Quality management arrangements for developing a new academic programme structure.
  • Ensuring quality provision for all students in existing programmes.
  • Preparing the merged institution for HEQC audits and programme accreditation.

The guidelines also suggest a number of developmental phases, which include the following:

  • Development of an institutional quality plan.
  • Diagnostic analysis and review of existing institutional quality management systems, and quality arrangements for academic programmes.
  • Development and implementation of a detailed implementation plan.

Institutional progress with implementation of the project

Institutional progress with implementation of the project varies considerably.

  • A few institutions have submitted their Quality Plans to the HEQC.
  • In a number of cases, diagnostic analyses and reviews of institutional quality management mechanisms and/or quality arrangements for programmes are underway.
  • Some institutions are still planning their activities in the project.
  • Most institutions are in the process of applying to the HEQC for funding. The closing date for applications is 30 November 2005.

Quality promotion and capacity development activities

The HEQC embarked in 2005 on a number of quality promotion and capacity development initiatives as part of the project.

The following national workshops were presented by the HEQC:

  • Workshop on pipeline students (TUT, 30 June, 2005). The presentations at the workshop have been reworked as full-length articles, and will be published by the HEQC as a manual early in 2006. The manual will also include an article by Prof Geoff Scott (Pro Vice-Chancellor: Quality) and colleagues of the University of Western Sydney in Australia, as well as a contribution by the Durban Institute of Technology.
  • Workshop on the development of a new academic organisational and programme structure for merged institutions (UNISA, 18-20 September 2005). The workshop was also attended by colleagues from Australia. The presentations are at present being reworked as full-length articles, and will be published by the HEQC as a manual early in 2006.

The HEQC also presented a number of institutional workshops at the invitation of institutions. The following workshops were presented on the HEQC's systems:

North West University (17 May 2005)
Tshwane University of Technology (13 June 2005)
University of Limpopo (28 June 2005)
University of South Africa (22 August 2005).
University of Zululand (4 October 2005)

All in all, workshops presented by the HEQC in 2005 as part of the merger project were attended by about 190 people.

The HEQC has also been invited to present institutional workshops in 2006 on a variety of topics. This includes evaluator training, as well as preparation for HEQC audits and programme accreditation.

Funding available to institutions as part of the project

Due to the wide variety of institutions in the project, differences in merger dates, as well as in the nature and pace of institutional development processes, the HEQC decided to adopt a flexible approach to the utilisation of the funding available to institutions, but within clearly defined parameters. The following are the criteria, conditions and approval mechanisms for funding:

  • The institution's proposal for funding should be aligned with the objectives of the merger project, as set out in the HEQC's guideline document for merged institutions.
  • Proposals should be detailled, with objectives, activities, time frames, outcomes, performance indicators and costs clearly indicated for each part of the proposal.
  • Proposals should be submitted for approval by the HEQC's Screening Committee.
  • A satisfactory progress report has to be submitted by the institution to the HEQC annually, before the next year's monies will be paid out.
  • Proof (for example, auditors' reports) has to be provided by the institution that the funds allocated had been spent for the purposes as set out in the institution's proposal to the HEQC.
  • Institutions should supply the HEQC with their banking details and name of the contact person, for the transfer of funds.

Planning Meeting

An evaluative and planning meeting took place with institutional contact persons for the merger project at Johannesburg International Airport on 16 November 2005 to reflect on activities in 2005 and to plan together for 2006.

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