Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has revealed that five courses offered by the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) are unaccredited.

These are the advanced diploma in internal auditing, advanced diploma in journalism, BSc Honours in zoology, Master of Medicine in obstetrics and gynaecology and the postgraduate diploma in chemical pathology.

Nzimande responded on Friday to a parliamentary question asked by DA MP Chantel King last month.

King asked Nzimande to list the unaccredited courses offered by WSU and detail the outcomes of deliberations on the issue between the institution and the Council on Higher Education (CHE). She also asked if other institutions were facing similar accreditation challenges.

In his response, Nzimande said the five courses were “continuations of legacy qualifications which were formally accredited as aligned to the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF)”.

“It should be noted that 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,” Nzimande said.

He said new student registrations for the legacy qualifications could only be accepted until the end of 2019. After that,  “the programmes had to be taught out or a new programme put in place that enabled continued offering in the area”.

The five courses fall within this category and “should be in teach-out until new replacement programmes are accredited and registered”.

But WSU registered students for the courses after the cut-off date, Nzimande said. He said the postgraduate diploma in library and information services, which also has legacy roots, had not been offered since 2019.

The CHE had recommended the appointment of an evaluator to review the HEQSF alignment processes for the five courses.

“Once the report of the evaluator has been compiled, the HEQC will consider the report and recommendations. This process is under way,” said Nzimande.

 “A full audit of all the programmes WSU is offering will be undertaken to confirm that all programmes being offered meet the compliance requirements of the three regulatory bodies, ie department, CHE and SA Qualifications Authority. This process has also already commenced.”

He said no similar cases had come to his department’s and the CHE’s attention.

“A data validation project is under way by the CHE which is intended to validate the HEQSF alignment data to ensure the accreditation record at the CHE is an accurate reflection of what the institutions can offer.

If/when discrepancies are identified, the CHE will deal with them in a similar manner to the processes described above,” he said.


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