Programme Accreditation Standards

Providers should use the following pointers as a guide for the self-study report preparation:

Standard 1

Mission and Objectives

Criterion Statement

The programme maintains a clear and publicly stated philosophy and specific educational objectives that are consistent with the provider’s mission and objectives and are appropriate to post-secondary or tertiary education and training.

Standard 1.1

The programme is congruent with the provider’s mission, objectives and educational goals.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       The programme’s objectives and learning outcomes are aligned with the provider’s mission and objectives.
  2.       The programme’s objectives and learning outcomes are consistent with post-secondary/tertiary educational goals.
  3.       The needs of the stakeholders are reflected in the learning outcomes of the programmes.
  4.       There is evidence of stakeholder input in curriculum development.
  5.       There is consistency between the institution’s mission and programme objectives e.g. target population, guiding principles, priorities, etc.

Standard 1.2

The programme’s objectives, content and assessment are documented and communicated to the relevant stakeholders.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       The programme’s objectives, learning outcomes and content are documented in the student handbook, faculty handbook, catalogues, manuals and other publications.
  2.       Programme information is available in hard and electronic formats to afford easy access by interested stakeholders.
  3.       Clearly defined policies and procedures for programme implementation and assessment are available.
  4.       The philosophy, goals and objectives of the programme are clearly communicated, available and consistent in all documents and publications.
  5.       Student handbook is clear and embodies the rules and regulations governing the programmes.

Standard 2

Governance and Administration

Criterion Statement

The programme is supported by appropriate structures for effective policy-making and implementation and the necessary human, physical and financial resources to achieve its objectives and educational outcomes.

Standard 2.1

The programme’s governance and administrative structures and practices are congruent with the mission and objectives of the provider.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       There are clearly defined policies, processes and procedures for programme design, development, implementation and evaluation.
  2.       There is evidence to show that the programme was approved by the provider’s appropriate authority.
  3.       There is a programme committee to ensure that the programme is delivered in accordance with the objectives and mission of the provider.
  4.       The members of the programme committee are appropriately qualified to carry out their designated responsibilities.
  5.       There is a structure of governance/leadership and administration that formulates general policies and exercises authority over the programmes to ensure that they are delivered in accordance with the objectives and mission of the provider.
  6.       The Minutes/Agendas/decisions of meetings are recorded and can be retrieved.
  7.       The effectiveness of the programme’s governance and administrative practices are periodically reviewed and improved.

Standard 2.2

The provider’s resource base adequately supports its educational programme offerings.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       The strategic/business plan makes provisions for programme development.
  2.       The provider’s resources are adequate for the achievement of the goals of the programme.
  3.       Adequate and appropriately qualified faculty members are allocated.
  4.       Adequate and appropriately qualified faculty members are available to deliver the programme.

Standard 2.3

The provider has the financial capacity to sustain its planned educational programme.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       Financial documents e.g. statements of income and expenditure and audited accounts are available, where applicable.
  2.       Financial projections for the programme(s) are available.
  3.       Appropriate financial management systems for each programme are available.

Standard 3

Teaching and Learning

Criterion Statement

The programme is successful in achieving student learning outcomes and faculty effectiveness that demonstrate that it is achieving its educational purposes and can continue to do so.

Standard 3.1

The provider has formal mechanisms and/or procedures to undertake the planning and evaluation of educational programme objectives.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       A programme/curriculum/advisory committee operates as part of the institution’s structure.
  2.       Policies for programme planning, design, development, implementation and evaluation exist.
  3.       The Minutes/Agendas/decisions of meetings are recorded and can be retrieved.
  4.       The programme is informed by and provides feedback to the strategic plan for the provider.

Standard 3.2

The provider clearly specifies and publishes the educational objectives and requirements for the programme.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       Programme objectives and requirements are stated in relevant documents e.g. catalogues and handbooks.
  2.       Programme documents are easily available to all stakeholders.
  3.       Programme documents are user friendly and revised periodically.

Standard 3.3

Effective teaching is valued and promoted in the programme.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       Faculty members are appropriately qualified.
  2.       Faculty are encouraged to become members of professional organisations relevant to the disciplines they teach.
  3.       Faculty members participate in current and relevant professional development activities.
  4.       Instruments exist for periodically evaluating teaching staff by stakeholders.
  5.       Instruments exist for evaluating training consultants.
  6.       Faculty members are encouraged to engage in relevant research.
  7.       Policy and procedures exist for recruiting and inducting new staff.
  8.       Mechanisms exist for identifying and rewarding effective teaching. 

Standard 3.4

The programmes are carefully designed with mechanisms and procedures for assessment and evaluation of student learning.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       An assessment/evaluation committee exists as part of the programme’s structure.
  2.       There is a structured and rigorous evaluation process, which assists in the attainment of certification.
  3.       The course outline incorporates appropriate procedures for the assessment of learners at each level of the programme.
  4.       Mechanisms exist to supply the relevant stakeholders with assessment data.
  5.       Mechanisms exist for the data from assessment activities to inform teaching and learning.
  6.       A variety of assessment methods and tracking systems are utilised to cater for the needs of the diverse student population.

Standard 3.5

The programme’s resources support student learning and effective teaching

Examples of Evidence

  1.       Physical structures – classrooms, labs, studios etc. – are conducive to the teaching/learning process.
  2.       Appropriate physical resources are available and equitably allocated e.g. computers, library, laboratory, equipment, tools.
  3.       An inventory of learning resources is maintained for the programme.
  4.       Human resources are adequate and timetabled to provide an effective teaching and learning process.

Standard 4

Curriculum Effectiveness

Criterion Statement

The programme is effectively designed to ensure relevance and to maintain certification requirements that conform to accepted standards in that profession or field of study.

Standard 4.1

The learning outcomes and content are clearly stated and are appropriate to the programme level.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       The programme objectives and content fit the level for which the programme is intended.
  2.       The programme content and learning outcomes are clearly articulated and consistent in all official documents.

Standard 4.2

The programme incorporates assessment strategies that are appropriate to the requisite learning outcomes.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       Appropriate assessment methods are employed to appropriately assess student learning.
  2.       Assessment method is appropriate to the level and nature of the programme(s) being offered.
  3.       Assessment activities reflect adequate sampling of content covered and are in alignment with the learning outcomes.
  4.       Data on student assessment, including rates of graduation, transfer, attrition and placement, are easily available to the relevant stakeholders.

Standard 4.3

The effectiveness of the curricula is evaluated periodically to ensure its appropriateness to the external environment.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       A mechanism exists for the curriculum to be periodically reviewed.
  2.       Faculty members have input in defining expected learning outcomes and determining if they were achieved.
  3.       Where applicable, general education is integrated into the programmes to develop attitudes and skills needed for lifelong learning in a diverse society.
  4.       The programme is reviewed periodically to ensure its relevance to current and future needs.  

Standard 4.4

Programme content and outcomes demonstrate that certification and other applicable standards are achieved.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       A qualifications committee exists as part of the institution’s structure.
  2.       The content and outcomes are congruent with the level of certification being awarded.

Standard 4.5

The provider values and supports effective learning and student achievement

Examples of Evidence

  1.       Mechanisms are in place to publicly recognise and reward effective learning – access to scholarship/bursaries and awards for outstanding performance.
  2.       The institution applies fair and consistent processes for credit transfer, recognition of prior learning and recognition of current competency.
  3.       Learning activities and resources cater to the diversity that exists among the student body.
  4.       Enhancement of effective learning is catered for in the departmental/programme budget to include expenditure on modern learning technologies.
  5.       Design and development of the curriculum takes into consideration the diversity that exists among the student body.
Standard 5

Quality Enhancement

Criterion Statement

The programme maintains a systematic approach to assessing educational quality in order to improve educational and other outcomes.

Standard 5.1

The programme has formal mechanisms and/or procedures to strategically evaluate the achievement of the mission and educational objectives of the provider.

Examples of Evidence

  1.      Policy, procedures and processes exist for evaluating the programme in context of the vision, mission and educational objectives of the provider.
  2.      Schedules, records and other reports demonstrate planning, monitoring and evaluation strategies.
  3.      Programme evaluation and student assessment records are available and easily accessible.

Standard 5.2

The programme is allocated sufficient physical and other resources to be effectively planned, implemented and evaluated on a continuous basis.

Examples of Evidence

  1.       A budget related to the programme is available.
  2.       Records justify the allocation of resources.
  3.       The system for resource allocation addresses current and future needs.
  4.       Performance appraisal reports reflect the continued competence of the staff for the programmes they deliver.

Standard 5.3

The programme is informed by timely, realistic analyses of the internal and external environment, which enhances programme effectiveness.

Examples of Evidence

  1.     There is a plan to subject the programme(s) to timely self-studies/SWOT analyses.
  2.     The programme coordinators use results of need analyses/market surveys to inform programme development and review.
  3.     The data collected is used to inform the strategic and staff development plans.
  4.     There are existing records of evaluation processes to provide information on levels of performance in meeting stated goals/objectives for programme relevance and effectiveness.

Standard 5.4

The programme is subject to short, medium and long term planning consistent with the mission and objectives of the provider.

Examples of Evidence

  1.     The provider has a strategic/business plan that includes new programme development.
  2.      Short, medium and long term plans are documented and readily available.
  3.     Strategic planning processes are sufficiently flexible to accommodate revision in response to environmental changes.


Standard 5.5

The institution provides opportunities to enhance the capabilities of its faculty, administrative and other staff to efficiently and effectively deliver a quality programme.

Examples of Evidence

  1.     The provider has a plan for monitoring and review staff development.
  2.     The provider maintains a database on the staff’s training records, skills and abilities for each programme area.
  3.     The provider’s strategic plan considers the regular review of the programmes, their relevance, demand, affordability and accessibility.

 Download the Programme Accreditation Standards