Windhoek-The Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) says it is unable to determine the number of unaccredited institutions operating in Namibia, due to the fact that bogus institutions usually operate in the shadows.
NQA chief executive officer Franz Gertze said in an interview that since phony institutions tend to operate in obscurity, it is impossible to keep records of the exact number and whereabouts of fake institutions.
Gertze was responding to queries regarding the mushrooming of private educational institutions in the country and called for wider cooperation from the public to identify these institutions and bring them to order.
NQA has once again issued a stern warnings to institutions operating without accreditation. Gertze cautioned that NQA would not compromise on quality in education and training, as its primary objective is to ensure that the courses offered in Namibia meet national standards.
Asked whether NQA had managed to close down any bogus institutions yet, he said the institutions that were found to be operating without accreditation status have been engaged with a view to understand their intentions, challenges and explain the accreditation process and requirements in detail.
Gertze advised prospective learners not to apply to unaccredited institutions, as the qualifications obtained such institutions would not be recognised by NQA. Moreover, he advised that prospective learners and the public should actively use the NQA’s advisory service to make informed decisions before they register.
Gertze further implored institutions operating without accreditation to do the right thing and apply for accreditation immediately. “The NQA strongly believes in working together to build a sustainable and quality assured higher education sector and therefore encourages institutions to seek guidance and assistance from the NQA,” he noted.
Further, he said the NQA was informed about unaccredited institutions operating in Namibia and continues to regularly host 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 maintained prospective training providers are encouraged to seek accreditation from the NQA in order to protect the learners as consumers of their services. Asked how many institutions had been accredited to date, he said the NQA has 44 Namibian institutions accredited, with ten more in the process of acquiring accreditation.
He said the list of accredited institutions can be found online at www.namqa.org or an updated copy of the booklet can be collected at NQA offices.
Asked whether the NQA hotline is still active and if they are getting any reports on bogus institutions, he confirmed the NQA fraud hotline that it is.
“The hotline is used to report unethical behaviour pertaining to qualifications and can be used to report bogus institutions. Numerous complaints of unaccredited institutions have been received through the fraud hotline and the NQA is pulling all its efforts together to attend to these complaints,” he said.
He said the NQA fraud hotline (number 0800 411 411) is independently managed by the Deloitte auditing firm and reports can be anonymously made 24-hours a day using the hotline (number 0800 411 411) or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.