The Higher Education (Amendment) Act Brings Diversity into Higher Education Sector – Dr. Chifwepa

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has stated that the Higher Education (Amendment) Act No. 23 of 2021, which was assented on 19th May, 2021, has brought diversity into the higher education sector

Speaking during the 6th Meeting of Quality Assurance Agencies and Awarding Bodies, HEA Director – Quality Assurance, Dr. Vitalicy Chifwepa, stated that the key amendments and implications of the Higher Education (Amendment) Act will greatly diversify the higher education sector.

“(The (Amendment) Act) has been introduced as a way of diversifying the higher education sector, to cater for the weakness of limited definition of what is higher education,” Dr. Chifwepa said, adding that strictly speaking, higher education should be everything post-secondary education.

The Director – Quality Assurance explained that certain Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) did not fall under the purview of HEA.

“Certain HEIs like Colleges of Education, which are Higher Education Institutions, had remained under (the Ministry of) General Education but the Amendment Act has harmonised this,” he said, adding, “with the implication being that all HEIs, for purposes of oversight in certain aspects, have been brought under higher education.”

Dr. Chifwepa explained that the implications of all HEIs being brought under higher education are that HEA has accreditation oversight over all Learning Programmes (LPs) in all HEIs except TEVET programmes, and that HEA will register all private HEIs except TEVET institutions.

“Professional bodies will, therefore, only play an approving/recommendation role in the accreditation process as HEA will also be accrediting professional training programmes to sit on the Zambia Qualifications Framework,” Dr. Chifwepa stated.

The Director – Quality Assurance further stated that through the Higher Education (Amendment) Act there was now an introduction of new categories of HEIs which will compound on the diversification of higher education by increasing on the type of HEIs.

“The categories now include Colleges, University Colleges, Technical University Colleges, Universities, Technical Universities, Institutes for research, Institutions established by any other written law, and Institutions for specialised training of professionals in specialised fields,” he said.

Dr. Chifwepa, thus, clarified that this meant that no new institution would be registered as a university at first registration.

“The implications of this are that at first registration, an HEI shall be registered as a College or University College or Technical University College and would have to operate for 5 years as College or University College or Technical University College before being eligible for registration as a University or Technical University,” Dr. Chifwepa said, noting that a University College or Technical University College will not offer postgraduate education.

The Director – Quality Assurance clarified that this would apply to existing HEIs as well and the HEIs will be re-assessed and regraded as either University or University college.

HEA will soon rollout, in conjunction with the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), a nationwide sensitisation campaign to educate all its stakeholders and the general public on the implications of the Higher Education (Amendment) Act No. 23 of 2021.

Dr. Chifwepa

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