As the year 2020 is coming to the end, I would like to take note of the strides we have made, together with the support of the Higher Education Institutions, in the accreditation of Learning Programmes. We take note of the total of 929 Learning Programmes that have so far been submitted to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for accreditation and subsequent registration as qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework. Out of the total submissions, 362 have been accredited whilst 328 have been rejected for failing to meet the minimum accreditation standards. The rest are still being processed for accreditation.
Further, only 45% of Higher Education Institutions have 50% of their Learning Programmes accredited, representing 28 of the 62 Higher Education Institutions. This underperformance is attributed to the challenges that the Higher Education Institutions in the country are facing such as inadequately qualified teaching staff, inadequate teaching and learning facilities, and inadequate capacity to develop robust curriculum content.
However, it has also come to my attention that, despite conceited calls by HEA, some Higher Education Institutions have not submitted some or any of the Learning Programmes that they are offering. HEA estimates show that 1,365 programmes were currently being offered by the 62 Higher Education Institutions and that 929 have so far been submitted for accreditation. This is of great concern as it does not assure the Government of the Republic of Zambia and its people of the quality of the Learning Programmes and the graduates thereof. Further, this is causing challenges for graduates that want their qualifications to be verified and validated by the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZAQA) in the absence of the Learning Programmes being registered as qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework.
Based on the above-described negative scenario, I direct as follows:
- All Higher Education Institutions that are offering Learning Programmes that have not been accredited should submit such Learning Programmes by the end of February 2021; and
- No Higher Education Institution shall offer unaccredited Learning Programmes beyond June 2021.
In order to achieve the above directive, HEA shall ensure efficiency in the processing of submitted Learning Programmes.
This article was written by Hon. Eng. Dr Brian Mushimba, MP, Minister of Higher Education, on 21st December, 2020.
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