Education Accreditation and Quality Assurance in South Africa

Accreditation is a process of self-evaluation and external quality evaluation that inspects higher education institutions and educational programmes for quality assurance and quality improvement. 

In South Africa, all higher education institutions are required to register with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and all qualifications are registered by the South African Qualifications Authority in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). All programmes provided by South African higher education institutions must be accredited.

The quality assurance in education is mainly the responsibility of three state-run authorities- 
  • Council of Higher Education
  • Higher Education Quality Committee
  • South African Qualifications Authority

Council on Higher Education (CHE)

The Council on Higher Education (CHE), established in May 1988, is in charge for public and private higher education institutions accreditation and maintenance of quality assurance within higher education sector. It is also responsible for programmes accreditation and evaluation, institutional audits and quality promotion. The CHE provides strategic advice on higher education matters to the minister of education. 

Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC)

The Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) is a permanent sub-committee of the CHE and is in charge of promoting quality assurance in higher education, auditing the quality assurance mechanisms of higher education institutions, and accrediting programmes of higher education.

South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is composed of 12 members appointed by the ministers of higher education and training. The South African Qualifications Authority accredits all higher education degrees and qualifications based on the standards and guidelines established in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Other Statutory Bodies in South Africa

Department of Education

The Department of Education oversees the primary and secondary education in South Africa. It encourages the educational policies and plans of the government and provides a national framework for their execution.

Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

The Department of Higher Education and Training is the department of the South African government which administers and supervises universities and other post-secondary education in South Africa.

Higher Education South Africa (HESA)

The Higher Education South Africa, established in May, 2005, is the umbrella body for South African Public Higher Education Institutions. It encourages collaboration and support among universities and government, industry and other divisions of society in South Africa.

Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (UMALUSI)

The UMALUSI is a statutory Council that ensures the education and training providers, mainly General and Further Education and Training bands, possess the ability to provide and evaluate qualification and programmes as per the standards set in the National Qualification Framework (NQF). It is also responsible for issuance of certificates. 

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NAFAS) is in charge of granting loans and bursaries, develops standards and conditions for awarding loans, raising funds, recovering loans and advising the Minister on related matters.

To know about the Contact Details of these accrediting authorities and other statutory bodies go to website
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