As the country gears up for the 2021 academic year, Grade 11 and 12 learners who qualified for progression to institutions of higher learning and other prospective students will start registering for programmes of their choice at various institutions.
With these developments, the Namibian Qualifications Authority (NQA) would like to caution the public about the existence of bogus or unaccredited institutions of higher learning operating in Namibia and elsewhere in the world.
NQA spoke spe r son Catherine Shipushu yesterday said accreditation refers to confirmation by the NQA that an institution has the capacity to provide specified courses and assess the performance of persons enrolled in such courses.
In the case of unaccredited institutions, she said due to the fact that these institutions have not been quality assured, it is impossible to validate the quality of educational outcomes and thus the employability of graduates from such institutions.
Shipushu reasoned the value of studying at an accredited institution is that it provides assurance to students that the institution has met the required national quality standards and that the qualifications obtained will be recognised by employers and other training providers.
Additionally, she noted students are able to move freely between accredited institutions and have their learning recognised or crosscredited.
Conversely, Shipushu warned that studying at bogus or unaccredited institutions has severe consequences for students, primarily any qualifications obtained will not be recognised for any purpose, be it for employment or further studies. "Essentially, these students would have nvested time and money in qual i f i cations that hold absolutely no value.
It is therefore critical for prospective students to always verify the accreditation status of both the institution and the course or programme they wish to enrol for," she maintained. NQA emphasised that it's important to note that it is possible for an accredited institution to offer courses that have not been quality assured and therefore do not form part of its scope of accreditation.
"This means that, even though the institution is accredited, if it offers courses outside its accreditation scope, then such qualifications will still not be recognised for any purpose. Both the institution and the course must be accredited in order for a qualification to be recognised," she explained.
The NQA offers a free service to assist prospective students and funding institutions to verify the accreditation status of any institution or course anywhere in the world. This process takes a maximum of seven working days and the public is called upon to download the 'Request for accreditation status of an institution form' from the NQA website and email it to advice@ namqa.org. The NQA has also compiled a list of all accredited Namibian institutions and the courses they are authorised to offer, which is available on its website.
Moreover, the NQA appeals to all institutions that are currently unaccredited to apply for accreditation in order for their programmes to be recognised.
This, Shipushu says will ensure that students, funding institutions and families that invest their hard-earned money in the education of their loved ones get a return on their investments.