Windhoek-Despite the growing number of bogus institutions, the Namibia Qualification Authority (NQA) says closing down bogus institutions is a process and has far-reaching implications, particularly for learners, and is thus the absolute last resort, NQA chief executive officer (CEO) Franz Gertze said this week.
Gertze told New Era on Monday that the NQA is cognisant of government’s objective to enhance wider access to education and thus opted to take a developmental approach.
With this approach, he explained, the NQA first engages the unaccredited training providers to understand their intentions, challenges and to explain the accreditation process and requirements in detail before offering advice on how to gain accreditation.
“In the event that these efforts do not work and the training providers remain non-committal to obtaining accreditation, the NQA then approaches the relevant authority for the law to take its course,” he said.
Additionally, he said, the NQA continually educates the public about the dangers and consequences of studying at unaccredited institutions.
“The NQA will not compromise on quality in the education and training sector, as its primary objective remains to ensure that the education offered in Namibia meets the national standard, “he said.
Gertze says the impact of unaccredited institution on the Namibian nation cannot be overemphasised and, as such, they have long been the concern of the NQA. Therefore, he said, the NQA continues to make extensive efforts to ensure the public does not fall prey to these sham institutions.
Gertze says as a pre-emptive measure, the NQA regularly hosts stakeholder engagement sessions with accredited and prospective providers to share information on the accreditation process, as well as the value and benefit of quality assurance.
At these sessions, he explained, prospective training providers are encouraged to seek accreditation from the NQA, in order to protect the learners as consumers of their services.
Gertze says the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation together with the NQA, the Namibia Training Authority and the National Council for Higher Education have joined forces to put an end to the mushrooming of unaccredited training providers.
This, he said, means there is imminent transformation to take place in the training and the education sector, which will significantly change the operating landscape.
He said of importance is the amendment of the NQA Act, which will effectively empower the NQA to shut down any institution found to be operating outside of the provision of the law, or falling short of the national quality standard.
Gertze says while waiting for these amendments to come into force, the NQA implores all institutions currently operating without accreditation to do the right thing and secure accreditation immediately.
“We advise prospective learners to make use of the latest list of accredited institutions in order for them to make informed decisions before they register,” he said.