Is The Institute registered by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and why does that matter?
Yes, The Independent Institute of Education is
registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training. To legally
offer higher education qualifications in South Africa you need to be registered
with the Department and your qualifications need to be accredited by the Higher
Education Quality Committee and registered on the NQF.
South Africa has only one quality assurance,
accreditation and registration system that applies equally to all higher
education institutions – private and public – so being sure about registration
and accreditation are important for you as it helps you make wise decisions
about this very important investment of your time and money.
The details of registration and accreditation
can be confusing and some providers may use that to misrepresent their
status. In these frequently asked questions we hope to simplify this for you
and empower you to make an informed choice. The institution that you
speak to should be able to provide you with details in relation to the three
requirements below for each of the qualifications they offer - you are advised
to be cautious if you are not able to get this information easily.
Remember these three things about the legal
requirement in South Africa to offer higher education
Is the qualification I am studying for or want to study for registered? What is Higher Education?
A higher education qualification is one that has been accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). Once it is accredited it can be registered by SAQA on the NQF (National Qualifications Framework). Only registered and accredited qualifications can be offered as higher education qualifications. They can also only be offered by the conferring institution to which they are registered and on registered campuses (or through distance education) of that institution.
You can find a list of current registered qualifications on the SAQA website.
How do I do this?
Visit www.saqa.org.za, click on 'Qualifications and Part-Qualifications and unit standards' on the right-hand side. Search for the qualification and the conferring body, for example The Independent Institute of Education, UNISA. If you cannot find the registration details on the website ask the institution for proof of accreditation. This should not be difficult to provide.
Some courses are advertised as programmes and others as qualifications. What is the difference? What is the difference between a qualification and a short learning programme?
This is important as some institutions use
this language to mislead. A qualification is only a qualification if it is
registered on the NQF, accredited by the HEQC (if it is higher education) and
registered for that institution by the Department. It can only be those things
if it meets the requirements of all three – that means it is at least a full
year of study (120 credits) and is in the format that is required.
Any course of study less than 120 credits
(normally a year) is a programme (sometimes called a short learning programme)
– these are not accredited and cannot be registered. If what you need is a
particular skill for a particular reason (like promotion or upgrade of legal
knowledge) a programme may be the right course of study for you – it is just
important to know that it is not a qualification and cannot usually be used to
gain access to further study at a higher level.
A National qualification or South
African qualification then has to be registered and accredited here – by the
Higher Education Quality Committee and it needs to be on the NQF.
In terms of non-South African
qualifications this can be a little more complicated – most other countries
also have an accreditation system and a qualifications framework and sometimes
qualifications are registered on these frameworks but tuition is available here
in South Africa. Sometimes these are exactly the right things for you to study
and meet your career and academic aspirations – just make sure you know which
qualifications framework a qualification is registered on and what that means
for future study in South Africa.
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What is the Council on Higher Education (CHE) / Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC)?
In order to ensure that all South African qualifications – offered by private and public institutions – are of the same standard the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) is the body established by law to accredit (quality assure and approve) all higher education qualifications. The SETA's and Umalusi do the same for further education and training. The HEQC is a subcommittee of the Council on Higher Education which is a body established by the government to oversee higher education – particularly its quality.
The HEQC does not keep a register you can access – once a qualification is accredited it needs to be registered by the institution on the NQF so the ways to check the accreditation status of a qualification are:
Again there is a delay in getting items onto the certificate so proof of accreditation for brand new qualifications is the absolute minimum you should require and the others should be available to you within nine months of accreditation.
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How do I check the legitimacy of a foreign qualification?
You need to check the registration of the qualification and the institution in its country of origin.
You can also approach SAQA to ask them if a particular qualification would be recognised for further study in South Africa and if so at which level – they may need you to get quite a bit of detail from the other institution to do this. They will not be able to do this for you if the other qualification or institution is not registered or accredited by a recognised body in its country of origin.
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What is the difference between the conferring body or institution, and the institution providing tuition (tuition centre) and a brand of an institution?
The conferring body or institution is the organisation that confers or awards the final qualification when all requirements have been met. At Higher Education level that is always the institution registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training. At other levels that could be the QTO or Umalusi. In our case, it is The Independent Institute of Education.
Some institutions have only one campus and others have many more. A campus of an institution is a registered space at which contact sessions such as lectures are given and where you will find facilities such as libraries or student support. Some institutions also have other centres which are not full campuses where support is given to distance students – these are known as support or tuition centres.
In the case of The Independent Institute of Education our campuses are where students get their teaching and learning if they are contact students and where distance students can also get support. In our case, campuses therefore double up as support centres.
Campuses can be grouped according to something they have in common or one campus can have a specific name because it has a specific function. For instance the business school of the University of Pretoria is better known as GIBS and it has its own campus in Sandton. The Michaelis School of Arts is a campus of UCT and so on. In the case of The Independent Institute of Education our campuses are grouped in to what we call "brands" – these are Varsity College, Vega and Rosebank College. The IIE is the conferring institution and the campuses that are called by the brand names are campuses of The Independent Institute of Education.
You will therefore not find any of these brands on the register of private higher education institutions just like you will not find GIBS on any list public Universities. All the qualifications and campuses are registered to The Independent Institute of Education and this is what you need to look up.
What is the difference between a public and a private Higher Education provider/ institution?
The conferring body or institution is the organisation that confers or awards the final qualification, should all the exams and standards have been passed. This is the institution that is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.
If an institution has a qualification registered as a distance qualification this means that you may not get your teaching (tuition) from the conferring body but you may register for lectures and student support with a tuition centre.
Some registered institutions (such as The Independent Institute of Education) work through groups of campuses organised under brand names – for instance name of brand and campuses and which campuses are registered under The Independent Institute of Education. (Be sure to check the register for the institution name and not the brand name – and if you are not sure and cannot find your brand on the register check that you are searching for the right thing! You will not find name of brand on the registers as it is a brand of the largest, most accredited private provider being The Independent Institute of Education.)
Please note: Not only do registration and accreditation meet legal requirements but they also provide you, as the student, access to redress mechanisms – including the CHE and the HEQC and the DHET and SAQA – should concerns arise.
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How are The brands and The Independent Institute of Education connected?
Rosebank College, Varsity College
and Vega are educational brands of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE)
which is the largest, most highly accredited private higher education
institution in South Africa. This means that these brands and their campuses
are the registered sites on which the qualifications of The Independent
Institute of Education are offered - they are grouped according to the target
market they serve, the qualifications available on their sites and the range of
additional services and experiences they offer which are tailor made for their
students. This means that each of these brands is able to offer its
students a student focused educational experience that meets the needs of its
particular students backed with all the support and stability of being part of
The Independent Institute of Education.