CEQUAM Announces Accreditation of UNAM Programmes
The Centre for Quality Assurance and Management (CEQUAM) announced that UNAM received positive accreditation reports from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). Three qualifications were accredited during the first phase of UNAM’s programme accreditation which ended late last year. Dr. Ngepathimo Kadhila, Director of CEQUAM, reported that three UNAM programmes have been accredited, namely, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (HONS) (NQF level 8), Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering (HONS) (NQF level 8) and the Bachelor of Laws (HONS) (NQF level 8). The latter received accreditation with certain changes to be implemented before full accreditation is accorded, while the other two programmes received full accreditation for the cycle of 5 years. This positive outcome came about as a result of efforts by all stakeholders involved, such as faculties housing these programmes and unwaivering support from the University management. “Receiving independent validation that your programmes meet international standards, is a major accomplishment for any University”, remarked a delighted Dr. Kadhila. He further explained that the accreditation of programmes at public institutions is something new, a mandate which the NCHE only recently began to embark on. “In the past, public institutions like UNAM, did not need accreditation to offer programmes, because they were established by an Act of Parliament. These institutions were self-accredited and allowed to offer programmes without external accreditation. It is only private higher education institutions that were required by law to have accreditation before they offer educational services to the public”, he added. The status quo has now changed due to developments in the higher education sector, such as massification, globalisation and internationalization of education, which necessitated the demand for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. The creation of External Quality Assurance agencies enabled the system to regulate Higher Education Institutions. It is against this background that NCHE was created and consequently introduced a compulsory accreditation system for both public and private higher education institutions in Namibia. This accreditation is the first of its kind for the University, and is expected to take a while before all programmes are accredited. “We are quite concerned with the length of time it takes for accreditation. We hope that NCHE will address this, because the demand for accreditation is high”, explained Dr. Kadhila. The accreditation process is facilitated by NCHE, who arrange for a review panel consisting of subject experts, industry representatives, quality experts, students and members of the NCHE Secretariat. Together, they validate the Self Evaluation Report of the programmes being accredited, interviewing staff and reviewing curriculum, teaching and learning policies, as well as, procedures and various other programme related documents. It is envisaged that about 17 UNAM programmes will go through the NCHE accreditation exercise, during the course of the 2016 academic year.