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Quality assurance issues of common interest and concern Statutory Professional Bodies Forum Council on Higher Education Ahmed Essop, Chief Executive Officer.

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Presentation on theme: "Quality assurance issues of common interest and concern Statutory Professional Bodies Forum Council on Higher Education Ahmed Essop, Chief Executive Officer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality assurance issues of common interest and concern Statutory Professional Bodies Forum Council on Higher Education Ahmed Essop, Chief Executive Officer Mark Hay, ED: Quality Assurance 25 August 2011

2 Question  What does your Council or Board understand as your mandate with respect to the offering of professional programmes at higher education institutions for which you register graduates?

3 Outline  History of collaboration with statutory professional bodies  NQF Act No 67 of 2008 section 28  Role of the HEQC of the CHE  Areas of collaboration  Constraints  Challenges and discussion

4 History of collaboration  Has been underway since 2002-2003  Is a contested and challenging area Legislative mandates Agreement on the approach to and criteria for programme accreditation Transformation challenges Capacity by professional bodies to meet HEQC requirements (for example in teaching and learning expertise)  Some limited success with collaboration (eg ECSA, SAICA, HPCSA)  Delegation by the HEQC

5 National Qualifications Framework Act No 67 of 2008  The NQF Act established the CHE as a quality council.  Section 28. Despite the provisions of any other Act, a professional body must co-operate with the relevant QCs in respect of qualifications and quality assurance in its occupational field.  CHE received legal opinion in late 2010 that the HEQC may not delegate its quality assurance decision-making functions.

6 Role of the CHE – 1  Facilitate a shared understanding and approach quality assurance and promotion. HEQC Founding Document: Develop an approach to quality and quality assurance Establish principles and values  “Forming appropriate relationships with higher education institutions as well as partnerships with national and regional higher education organisations, professional councils, SETAs, and other relevant stakeholders with quality assurance interests. This will also include liaison with quality assurance structures in the Further Education and Training band.” (FD, 10.1)

7 Role of the CHE – 2  Facilitate a common interpretation of quality assurance policy, ie accreditation criteria.  Agree on procedures and collaboration on accreditation and other activities  Provide a platform for regular discussion on quality assurance issues.

8 Areas of collaboration The CHE/HEQC and professional bodies could collaborate in  Training evaluators and their use in accreditation and reviews  Information sharing on programmes and providers (the nature and level of information sharing to be decided)  Dealing with programmes that are problematic and require intervention  Development of qualification standards with professional councils in their respective disciplines.

9 Constraints  It is time-consuming as there are jurisdictional challenges  Difficulty of scheduling visits as each council has its own schedule  Unevenness of accreditation practices and their rigour  Cost implications for HEIs  Burden on the providers  Dual accreditation systems  Effective collaboration with a range of government ministries.

10  The HEQC, professional bodies and HE providers play different roles. As they all have an interest in the academic programmes, their responsibilities are separate but complementary. One system: different parts HEIs Professional Bodies HEQC How do they each do their parts which they do well and are good at and are interested in? As they all have an interest in the academic programmes, their responsibilities are separate but complementary

11 Complementary, but separate  To function optimally and at the highest possible quality of education and intellectual development, the three interested institutions must recognise that their roles and responsibilities are  complementary, in the sense that they determine together the objectives towards which they work in the public interest, for example, in determining of attributes of graduates entering a profession;  separate, in that they have separate functions, objectives and competencies.

12 Complementary, but separate  In achieving the shared objective of an excellent quality higher education system, it is essential that the three interested institutions recognise, acknowledge and respect each other’s responsibility and competence. Indeed, it is here that democratic process is best served in the way that different structures of society engage on issues of shared interest.

13 HEIs – 1  While it is an important feature of what they do, the purpose of an HEI is more than producing graduates who are skilled and ready for the workplace.  The discussion between a professional body and an HEI is principally about the competence and attributes of graduates as they leave the HEI and enter the professional training programme as determined by the professional body.  It is important to recognise that the attributes of a graduate are not only developed in the classroom or other formal aspects of the curriculum. Students draw much of their learning from the institutional culture of the HEI – the so-called “second curriculum”.

14 HEIs – 2  The competence and attributes of graduates at the exit level from a qualification programme at an HEI is an integration of the admissions policy, the curriculum structure, the pedagogy used to support the curriculum and the exit “standards” expected by the lecturing staff. Each of these aspects lie in the competence of the HEI and, while professional bodies have an interest in each of these areas, their influence can, at most, be advisory.

15 Professional body – 1  The professional body is obliged to develop a well articulated conception of the outcome competencies of graduates at the point of entry into the profession, and must retain the duty to withhold accreditation from an HEI that is considered not to achieve these outcomes – in the normal course of these processes as determined by the prof body.  In its turn, the professional body can only structure the professional training programme for entering graduates if it has confidence that the agreed level and extent of education and training at the exit level from the HEI has indeed been achieved.

16 Professional body – 2  Nevertheless, the professional body also recognises that there is a wide range of teaching and learning paths by which the outcomes can be achieved.  The right of the HEI to choose the teaching and learning path must not only be protected but also defended by the HEQC and the professional bodies.  Upon entry into the profession, the preparation of graduates for the demands of professional practice is primarily in the competence of professional bodies. There are occasions when exposure to professional practice is required during undergraduate studies at the HEI, for example, in the health sciences and teacher education programmes.

17 HEQC  At the formal level the HEQC (as the quality assurance arm of the CHE) has an interest and mandate over the process of developing graduates in HEI’s that goes beyond the interest of the professional bodies. As examples: the HEQC must turn its gaze to the full range of qualifications from a professional department at an HEI, whereas the professional body is primarily concerned with the qualification that gives graduates entry into the profession; the HEQC must pay far more attention to institutional culture issues that would be of interest to the professional body.

18 Critically engaged  While the three institutions (HEIs, HEQC and professional bodies) have separate but complementary interests and mandates with respect to the nature and quality of graduates that emerge from an HEI, there are principles with which all three must be both critically engaged and united in defence.  Examples: the international comparability of our qualifications the importance of developing graduates who are to be engaged citizens within their disciplines equitable race, class and gender diversity of our graduates and professionals protecting institutional autonomy and academic freedom; and the highest standards of ethics in professional practice.

19 The future?  Individual agreements between the CHE and the statutory professional bodies, taking into account principles of collaboration.  Agreement on principles and procedures if there is a breakdown in relationships (to whom would there be “appeal”)  Possible joint processes (HEQC and the professional body) for ‘risky’ programmes?  Periodic forum for engagement with and between professional bodies and the CHE, facilitated by the CHE?

20 Conclusion

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