Accreditation: Who, What and When

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By Toivo Mvula

Accreditation of Institutions in Namibia by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) in the Ministry of Education

1. What is accreditation?
Accreditation is confirmation by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) that an institution or organization has the capacity to provide a specified course, or courses, and assess the performance of persons enrolled in such a course, or courses. An accreditation decision is made when agreed quality requirements, specified as the Accreditation Standard, have been met.

2. What must an institution do to be accredited?
An application form has to be submitted, accompanied by supporting information and documents. The applicant must complete a form of self evaluation to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standard before they apply.

3. Who conducts the accreditation of the institutions?
Accreditation is conferred by the Council of the Namibia Qualifications Authority following in-depth analysis of the application by the NQA staff in conjunction with professional bodies, subject experts and awarding bodies. The analysis is supported by a site visit to verify that claims made in the application are factual and accurate.

4. Why are institutions not accredited by the NQA operating in the country?
The legal mandate for the NQA to accredit institutions was confirmed by the gazetting of Regulations in late August 2006. These Regulations specified the form in which applications must be made and the criteria against which applications would be judged and decisions on accreditation made.

Since these Regulations were gazetted, the NQA has received 30 applications. Three institutions had their applications for accreditation confirmed before the end of 2006, and a number of others are at an advanced stage of consideration.

The quality checks made by the NQA and its quality partners take time as the NQA and its partners must be confident that appropriate courses have been designed and that these are being taught and assessed in appropriate ways by appropriately qualified people. The NQA must be confident that quality is sustainable before it is able to offer assurances to Namibians wishing to enrol in specified courses at particular institutions.

5. Which institutions are accredited?
The NQA is required to publish its accreditation decisions in the Government Gazette. It is also required to keep a register of accredited institutions and the courses for which they have been accredited to offer. The NQA invites anyone interested in studying at an institution to check the status of the institution and any specific course with the NQA before completing their enrolment. Request forms for such information are available from the NQA office, telephone (061)??????’??

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