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ACCREDITATION

The generally accepted accrediting principles in the USA regard a foreign University to be considered as having the equivalent of recognized accreditation in the USA if it falls under one or more of the following six items (even if the word "accredited" is not ascribed to it):

1. Accredited by an agency recognized by the US Dept. of Education.

2. Accredited by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

3. Listed in the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, an international directory providing authoritative information on more than 600 Universities in 36 Commonwealth countries. [http://pollux.acu.ac.uk/pandi/cuyinfo.html]

4. Included in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), which vouches for the quality of Australia's education and training providers.  In their Country Education Profiles, they have described the education systems of over 90 countries and provide guidelines on the assessment of educational credentials from these countries.

5. Listed in the International Handbook of Universities (IHU), published by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  The IHU is officially verified by the International Association of Universities.

6. Listed in the World Education Series, published by the Project in International Education Research consortium (PIER), which provides information on institutions, admission and program requirements, grading system, credentials awarded, etc. 

The University of South Africa, UNISA, meets two of the above criteria: UNISA is listed in the Commonwealth Universities Handbook of 1999, number three above. UNISA is also listed in the International Handbook of Universities of 1998, number 5 above. 

On 12 January 2002 the University of South Africa was accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) in the United States. UNISA has not renewed this contract with DETC  since 2004.

"Accreditation is sometimes mistaken for governmental certification, but it is not an official designation. Accreditation is essentially recognized by the Federal Government as a mechanism for the authorization to distribute government educational funds…Degrees granted or issued in conformance with cited statutes…are all equally legal under the law. Judgments of value and applicability of a certain degree are not made by the law or by the State. The appropriateness of a degree or the applicability of a degree to a job or the transfer of education credit is decided by those who must render such evaluations for those specific purposes."

UNISA is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities since South Africa's readmission to the Commonwealth and is recognized as such by those institutions. Since each University is evaluated individually before affiliation to the Association, one would assume that all such institutions comply with the standards of the Association.

Irrespective of any accreditation that the University may enjoy, the eventual recognition of whatever qualification(s) the student may obtain from us rests with the authorities where the student intends to apply for employment or to further his/her studies. As a student, you should be advised to study the syllabi of any courses you wish to pursue with us to make sure that it complies with the specific needs of any other institution - irrespective of the purpose for which it is intended.

The government of Canada only accredits their own Canadian public universities. No other foreign university was accredited by the government of CANADA. From the above you should DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSION (Dec 2008).

LAST,

Unisa operates in accordance with the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, as amended.  It is recognised by the South African Department of Education (DoE), accredited by the South African Council on Higher Education (CHE) and all its qualifications are registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Since Unisa operates in accordance with the Higher Education Act, 1997, it does not have a registration number at the Department of Education.

International Accreditation of Unisa’s qualifications

One way for the accreditation of Unisa’s qualifications in foreign countries with an established Qualifications Authority, is for the two qualification authorities involved to negotiate the mutual recognition and accreditation of each other’s qualifications. 

In other cases the publication of an institutions name in specific authoritative publications, forms the basis of accreditation. Unisa is inter alia listed in the International Handbook of Universities published by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and officially verified by the International Association of Universities.

Students must however enquire from the specific foreign country/university whether Unisa’s qualifications are accredited/recognised.

Dr. Michael Esselen
IACI President
 

Should you wish to read more, please link to UNISA website on this matter.  This will assure un updated accreditation issue if information changes.  You will note that  UNISA no longer appear in the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook (May 31, 2010).