Perceived Overlapping Functions Of Namibia’s External Quality Assurance Bodies And Their Effect On Higher Education Institutions

Anneley Willemse FINAL thesis

An upsurge in the quest for quality higher education caused many countries to establish external quality assurance (EQA) bodies globally. This move gave birth to multiple EQA bodies in Namibia viz. the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) and National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), including numerous professional bodies. All these bodies were mandated to assure the quality of Namibia’s higher education system. The latter resulted in a perception that the functions of these bodies overlap, especially regarding programme accreditation. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the seemingly overlapping programme accreditation functions of the NQA, NCHE, Health Professions Council of Namibia, and Engineering Council of Namibia. The literature review focused on various conceptual frameworks used in EQA in higher education and the effects of EQA on higher education institutions.
An interpretive research paradigm underpinned the study, complemented by a qualitative research design, to gain insight into the participants’ perspectives about the perceived overlapping programme accreditation functions. Purposive sampling was used, and interview guides were designed to collect data through semi-structured individual interviews from a sample of twenty participants: thirteen academics from one public and one private university, and seven Quality Assurance (QA) and Accreditation Officers from three EQA bodies. Document analysis was also
used as a way of triangulating the data and increasing the trustworthiness of the findings. The data were analysed deductively and inductively and presented thematically.
The main findings confirmed the perceived overlaps in programme accreditation regarding the processes followed and the criteria used. The biggest overlaps appeared to be between the NQA and NCHE. Positive effects ranging from improved internal QA systems to increased stakeholder trust; and negative effects, such as demands of accreditation and difficulties with review panels, were reported. A major challenge underscored was difficulties in harmonising the overlaps.
The researcher proposed an action plan that could assist the EQA bodies and government authorities to thresh out the overlaps to reduce the burden on institutions. Finally, the small sample size of this study provides an opportunity for the scope of the research to be expanded to strengthen the results and make it more generalisable.

Item Type: 
Doctoral thesis
Unicaf University - Zambia
frameworks, higher education
Depositing User: 
Anneley Marita Willemse
Date Deposited: 
11 June 2024 00:00