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
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
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.
renewed this contract with DETC since 2004.
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
Accreditation of Unisa as an institution
Unisa operates in accordance with the
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
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
Dr. Michael Esselen