The Namibia Qualification Authorities (NQA) is planning to introduce a law that will only allow accredited institutions of higher learning to register prospective students to further their studies in the quest for formal academic qualifications.
Speaking to The Villager at Ongwediva last week NQA’s Public Relations Officer, Catherine Shipushu, said the accreditation body is inundated with scores of students who find themselves in a predicament after realising they have wasted money and time studying at bogus institutions.
Some of these institutions fraudulently lure students to register using the logo of NQA claiming to be accredited, Shipushu warned.A recognised higher education institution in Namibia is an institution, or branch, that is registered with the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and whose academic programmes are accredited by the NQA.
Shipushu said the current legislation governing the NQA does not allow the qualifications regulatory body powers to shut down bogus colleges as the Act does not make it compaulsory for institutions of higher learning to be registered with the body.
The NQA can, thus, only inform the public about the risk of registering with bogus unaccredited institutions.
Shipushu has warned prospective students and their families to ensure that higher learning institutions they are enrolling in are accredited institutions with accredited courses of studies.
‘’We cannot close down any unaccredited institutions because the law does not allow us to do so. People should be informed they should come to us before they enrol because once they have already enrolled there is nothing more we can do for them unfortunately. We will no longer be in a position to assist them. It is heart breaking when people find themselves in this predicament looking at the time and resources that are wasted,’’ said Shipushu.
She said the NQA evaluates about 7 000 qualifications each year and a large number of those receive negative evaluation reports.
Shipushu indicated that unaccredited academic and training institutions have a negative impact on the education sector as well as graduates for the job market.
She, therefore, cautioned employers, students and the general public to consult and check institutions certificates and accreditation statuses.
Shipushu advised that the same caution be taken on foreign institutions that are not credible. She said NQA does not recognise any foreign institutions that are not recognised by their own governments either.
‘’People should know that bogus institutions are everywhere in the world as well. They shouldn’t just think that because they are studying in a foreign country, in Europe or Africa they would automatically be accredited,’’ warned Shipushu.
‘’Accreditation is confirmation by the NQA that an institution has the capacity to provide specified courses and asses performances of persons enrolled for that course. All training providers offering courses that lead to a qualification should apply for accreditation,’’ Shipushu said.