The Bachelor of education (B. Ed) programme in the University of Zululand could be declared invalid for having most of its courses not approved by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), Nehawu reported.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) at the University said this during a Parliamentary briefing pointing out that most courses taken by the education department are yet to be approved by the council.
The union’s deputy secretary Hlakaniphani Jamile accused the varsity’s vice-chancellor Xoliswa Mtose of removing certain courses from what was then an accredited degree and replacing them with unaccredited ones while he was still the dean of education in 2013.
Addressing members of the parliament in his 13-page submission, Jamile said Mtose collaborated with her faculty executives to clean out the “prospectus” of the education faculty by removing modules from the B Ed programme which were deemed unnecessary.
Nehawu’s Jamile further explained that students completing their fourth year of study in 2014 were following the previous bachelor of education qualification that had 43 modules, while the new one introduced in 2014 had 36 modules.
“The altered programmes were never submitted to the department of higher education and training for approval,” He said, adding that a new qualification had to be approved by the faculty board, senate and the CHE.
“The programmes developed by Professor Mtose have never been approved in any structure of the university.”
Nehawu expressed fear that the B. Ed qualification from the university may not be recognized by employers. “The department of basic education, which is the main employer of teachers, may decide not to employ graduates of Unizulu should they find out that the institution is not offering accredited teacher qualifications,” Jamile added.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of the CHE, Professor Narend Baijnath revealed that the council is currently evaluating the B.Ed programmes for accreditation
“At this stage, it is not possible to indicate what the outcome of the evaluation process will be,” he said, pointing out that the earlier agreed to submit its new B Ed programmes to the CHE last year – but the newly-aligned qualifications were only submitted in June this year.
“As per an agreement between the university, CHE and department of higher education, it was resolved that UniZulu would not enroll any first-year student in 2016 education programmes, except for programmes that would have been accredited for the minimum requirements for teacher education qualification,” he said.
Baijnath, however, warned that if any institution for higher education offers a non-accredited programme, the certificate given to the students will not be valid and if the programme isn’t accredited, then it means we had wasted our time studying for it.