Department Introduces New Types Of Colleges

Through a proposed policy change, two new categories of institutions of higher learning might be introduced, which might force current universities to conform to the department’s new standards for achieving higher status. So far, higher education experts have been accepting of the choice.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) wants to strengthen the legal framework that governs how the nation’s public universities are run. This is especially relevant to the standards for eligibility that schools must meet in order to transfer from universities.

The department has done this by introducing new draft rules that aim to further differentiate the types of higher learning institutions in the country. The amendments include the introduction of two types of universities: higher education colleges and university colleges.

These policy changes stipulate that existing universities must comply with certain requirements such as, offering a specified range of study programmes, contribute to their local community as well as having a strong research component. Failure to meet these requirements may result in such universities being downgraded to lower status.

At least 60% of the total qualifications must be at the higher education qualifications sub-framework (HEQSF) level.

Higher education colleges will, in accordance with the proposed criteria, either specialize in a field, such as business or nursing, or work in a “limited number of interconnected fields or domains,” such as those allied health sciences, such as nursing and emergency medical care, safety, security, policing, and military studies, or the arts, such as art, drama, film, and design.

A university college is also referred to as a university that is under the trusteeship of an established university that is intended to evolve into a university over time. This university may be public or private, and it may be supported either publicly or privately to achieve this purpose.

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While discussing the impact and merits of the DHET’s proposed policy, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Universities South Africa (USAf) welcomed the department’s decision and stated that it is less likely to negatively impact existing universities.

We welcome the draft regulations because it will bring coherence to the system. The public and private institutions will now have a classification and the public will clearly know what type of institution they or their children are studying at.

The same standards must be met by all three types of complete universities, regardless of whether they offer research or comprehensive-style instruction.

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