SUMMARY OF CHE PROGRAMME ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS
(and DHET Registration)
(This is an April 2021 summary of the November 2004 CHE requirements, which are still in force)
Three processes run concurrently:
• Application to the Council on Higher Education (CHE) for accreditation of the programme(s) the institution plans to offer, based on evidence submitted of quality assurance systems, processes and procedures that will ensure quality programme delivery;
• Submission of the qualification the institution wants to offer, i.e. a new qualification that falls in the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework, which will be registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) – or application against a registered qualification;
• Application to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) for registration as a private higher education institution (using Form APX-01) to confirm that it is a legal and reputable entity and not a ‘fly-by-night’ institution. General comments:
• How long does it take for CHE approval? The application is dealt with by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the CHE, and it takes approximately 12 to 18 months for the application to be processed through all the HEQC and SAQA processes after the application is submitted through the HEQC online system.
• DHET registration:
The application must be submitted to DHET 18 months before commencement of operations.
• Thorough evaluation process:
The HEQC and SAQA processes are very thorough and a substantial percentage of applications are referred back to the applicant because the evidence provided in the submission is insufficient or not convincing. Applicants are then given a limited period to make improvements and to submit additional evidence in a Representation, following which the decision could be to not approve accreditation.
• Key areas:
The central pillar of the application for accreditation is the qualification and the learning programme based on the qualification, as well as all the processesrelating to the design, delivery, assessment, moderation and quality assurance of the programme. Ensure that these are developed by people with the necessary expertise.
• Nature of the HEQC process:
The HEQC process is very different from the SETA-ETQA accreditation process, and in many ways far more demanding. The applicant cannot simply submit ‘generic’ policy documents, but has to describe exactly what systems, processes and procedures will be established to ensure that quality and regulatory requirements are met, how these will be implemented, who will be responsible for their development, implementation and quality assurance and what qualifications and relevant experience they have, as well as how the different systems, processes and procedures relate to and support one another.
• How long does it take to prepare the submission?
Depending on what is already in place, the preparation can take more than six months (if the institution is newly established with very few