Walter Sisulu University (WSU) has been partly cleared after claims that dozens of courses were not accredited.
The Council on Higher Education (CHE), which accredits qualifications and programmes, said on Friday it had reviewed WSU’s courses with the SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa) and the higher education and training department (DHE).
The CHE issued a list of programmes mentioned in an internal WSU document and “referenced in media articles”, saying they “meet all requirements”.
This meant they were part of the DHE-funded programme-qualification mix, and they were registered by Saqa on the National Qualifications Framework. The programmes are:
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Senior Phase and Further Education and Training Phase Teaching, including the PGCE in Senior Phase and Further Education (Humanities);
- PGCE in Senior Phase and Further Education (Languages);
- PGCE in Senior Phase and Further Education (Science);
- Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery;
- Bachelor of Social Science;
- Bachelor of Social Sciences;
- Bachelor of Social Science Extended (ECP);
- Bachelor of Social Science (ECP);
- Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours;
- Bachelor of Social Science (Honours);
- Bachelor of Social Work;
- BSc Honours in Computer Science;
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science;
- Bachelor of Computer Science (ECP);
- Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Sciences;
- Master of Medicine in Diagnostic Radiology;
- Master of Medicine in Family Medicine;
- Master of Medicine in Orthopaedic Surgery;
- Master of Medicine in Paediatrics and Child Health;
- Master of Medicine in Psychiatry;
- Master of Medicine in Paediatric Surgery;
- Master of Science in Chemical Pathology;
- Master of Science in Physiological Sciences; and
- Master of Science in Medical Microbiology.
However, the CHE said WSU still offers five one-year programmes “which are continuations of legacy qualifications which were formally accredited as aligned to the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF)”:
- Advanced Diploma in Internal Auditing;
- Advanced Diploma in Journalism;
- BSc Honours in Zoology;
- Master of Medicine in Obstetrics and Gynaecology; and
- Postgraduate Diploma in Chemical Pathology.
A statement by CEO Whitfield Green said: “In 2013, a revised Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) was gazetted as policy, replacing the HEQF, and all higher education institutions had to align their legacy qualifications to the HEQSF.
“New student registrations could be taken into the legacy qualifications until December 31 2019, after which the programmes had to be taught out or a new programme put in place that enabled continued offering in the area.
“The five qualifications listed above fall within this category and should be in teach-out until new replacement programmes are accredited and registered.”
The remaining programme cited in media reports about WSU, the Postgraduate Diploma in Library and Information Services, “also has legacy roots [but] has not been offered since 2019″, said Green.
He said the CHE is also undertaking a full institutional audit at WSU “as part of a national round of institutional audits that is under way”.
It would also do “a full audit of the qualifications and programmes being offered by the university to ensure full compliance with regulatory requirements. The institution has already initiated processes that will support the CHE audit of programmes and qualifications.”
WSU vice-chancellor Professor Rushiella Songca said the university would “continue to co-operate fully with the accreditation body”.
She added: “We will continue engaging in our reciprocal relationship with the regulatory authorities to ensure the continuation of these programmes and the offering of quality tuition.
“Ours is a pursuit of excellence. As such, we will continue to work with the relevant authorities to ensure that all our programmes remain world class, and supportive of student and industry requirements.”