The Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) last week on Friday held an Orientation Workshop for Programme Accreditation Evaluators at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka so that it can effectively accredit more Learning Programmes (LPs) in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country.
In its continued efforts to increase its database of Programme Accreditation Evaluators it uses to accredit LPs in HEIs, HEA oriented 42 Evaluators, bringing the total number of Evaluators in its database to 420.
With 1,256 LPs already submitted for accreditation, and with the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) estimating that there are over 2,000 LPs being offered in Zambia, to fulfil its mandate to accredit LPs as stipulated in Statutory Instrument No. 25 of 2016, HEA relies on a committee of experts drawn from academic institutions and industry to accredit the LPs.
Thus, Programme Accreditation Evaluators in the following fields, amongst others, were oriented and added to the database: Psychology, Medical Diagnostic Radiography, Insurance and Pension Management, Applied Linguistics, Physiotherapy, Geology, Metallurgy, Pathology, Medicine and Surgery, and, Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop, HEA Acting Director General, Dr. Vitalicy Chifwepa, stated that the workshop aimed at imparting the skillset necessary for the Programme Accreditation Evaluators to effectively evaluate LPs in HEIs.
“This workshop will expose you to tools and models used in the evaluation of LPs so that you can help us enhance the quality in the higher education sector by supporting the development of quality LPs,” he said.
The Acting Director General stated that this will mean that, after the workshop, the Programme Accreditation Evaluators will be able to evaluate an LP from its inception stage to its termination stage, assessing its content, adequacy, delivery, teaching and learning provisions, and infrastructure in order to determine whether the LP has enough content and the HEI has the capacity to offer the LP to lead to a qualification.
Mrs. Hamvumba delivering the overview of the accreditation process.
Speaking during the presentation of the Overview of the Accreditation Process and Criteria, HEA Manager – Programme Accreditation, Mrs. Elizabeth Hamvumba, warned that the Programme Accreditation Evaluators must ensure that the process of accreditation remained collegial.
“Too often accreditation cycles resemble ‘cops and robbers’ games, which makes the process lose its main purpose of programme improvement because the Programme Accreditation Evaluators and programme principals at HEIs become adversaries,” Mrs. Hamvumba stated.
The Manager – Programme Accreditation added that the collegial process, which is based on self- and peer assessment, allows for better public accountability and improvement of academic quality, which is the goal of the accreditation process.
Mrs. Hamvumba further warned the against the misuse of the accreditation process through the Programme Accreditation Evaluators’ taking disciplinary action on the HEI or the use of the process as a way of controlling the HEI.
“The accreditation process is not intended to homogenise higher education and, thus, control competition amongst the HEIs,” she stated. “It is intended to ensure that quality exists and is adhered to in higher education, thus, bolstering confidence in employers of the graduates coming out of our HEIs.”
Mr. Martin Mushumba, Senior Programme Accreditation Officer, presents on accreditation tools and report writing.
Mr. Musoba facilitates the question and answer portion of the workshop.