Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between registration and accreditation?

Registration is the process or act of granting a higher education institution authority to operate as a higher education institution. For a programme, registration means the institution which is applying for the registration of the programme is permitted to offer that programme. In order for a higher education institution (HEI) to qualify for registration, it must meet the minimum standards for registration set by the Council. It is illegal for any institution to operate as a higher education institution without registering with the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE, hereinafter referred to as the Council). Institutions that are duly registered can continue to offer registered programmes even if they are not accredited for as long as they are working on attaining the accredited status.

Accreditation, on the other hand, is the process or act of recognising that a higher education institution, or a programme offered by such an institution, meets all formal requirements of academic excellence in terms of the physical, human, financial, teaching and learning resources; management and operational procedures and an acceptable standard of academic life focusing on teaching, research, community service and expert service in line with Section 28 of the NCHE Act. For an institution or programme to be accredited they must each meet national and international quality standards of the factors outlined in Section 28(2) of the NCHE Act.

Can an unaccredited institution’s programme be accredited?
Can an institution be accredited without having an accredited programme?
Can institutions that have failed continue offering higher education programmes or do you close them?
How do you carry out accreditation exercises?
Who are the reviewers?
What value do the qualifications issued by unaccredited institutions have?
Is accreditation permanent or does it have a validity period?
Is accreditation mandatory or can institutions opt out?
What is the value of accreditation?