Institutional and programme accreditation are currently critical in higher education to such an extent that there is no higher education institution that can be allowed to operate without being subjected to accreditation globally. Accreditation assures the institution, the general public, and other agencies or organizations that an institution has the following critical issues: clearly defined and educationally appropriate goals, maintains conditions under which their achievement can be reasonably expected, the organization is accomplishing its goals substantially and can be expected to continue to do so.
Overview of the Process
The process begins with internal system of structures, processes and tools that the programme puts in place in order to provide an assurance to itself and stakeholders that a high quality programme is being offered. The practice of accreditation is new at the National University of Lesotho. The internal self-review is mainly guided by minimum standards developed by the Lesotho Council on Higher Education (CHE). All programmes of the university are currently going through the self-review process and producing reports which will be submitted to the Lesotho Council on Higher Education for verification and suggestions for improvement areas.
Reasons for Programme Accreditation
Accreditation is done to protect beneficiaries of higher education; to ensure students recognition, ability to transfer credits to other accredited institutions; value for money; provide integrity to the programmes and institutions; to determine programmes and institutions eligible for funding and to provide a basis for institutional planning and improvement.
The accreditation process has been mandated by the Lesotho Higher Education Act 2004. All institution offering Tertiary Education must be accredited by the Lesotho Council on Higher Education (CHE).
Selected Programmes for Accreditation
The Lesotho Council on Higher Education as a regulatory body, in consultation with the National University of Lesotho, selected three programmes for accreditation. Self-evaluation reports for these programmes have been submitted to CHE. These programmes are Bachelor of Science Education, Bachelor of Science Pharmacy and Bachelor of Economics. The Professional Panelists for review of the programmes have been identified and dates for site visitation set for the three programmes. The University has been duly consulted so that for approval of the proposed Panelists.
The three programmes have submitted their self-evaluation reports to CHE, and are preparing for site visits by CHE experts. Other programmes which have not been selected for accreditation are still expected to continue working on self-evaluation and self-improvement plans in readiness for submission to CHE.
A major element of the site visit schedule will be interviews with key informants including University management, academic staff, administrative and support staff, students and alumni. The purpose of the interviews is to validate the information provided in the self-evaluation reports. The staff and students are expected to cooperate with the site visit experts, to participate in scheduled interviews during the visit and to provide genuine responses on the programme for quality results of the process.
The NUL Accreditation Team
The following constitute the team whose major responsibility is facilitative.
Associate Professor Ntimo-Makara, Team Leader
Dr. Thabiso Nyabanyaba, Deputy Team Leader
Dr. Lifelile Matsoso
Mrs. Vuyelwa Ntoi
Mrs. Mamotebang Molise
Mrs. Palesa Peko
Dr. Julia Chere-Masupha
Dr. Samuel Motlomelo Site Visit Coordinator