Reaccreditation: NWU Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme
The Council on Higher Education (CHE) has informed the North-West University (NWU) that the accreditation outcome of the review of the LLB programme has been revised from ‘Notice of withdrawal of Accreditation’ to ‘Reaccreditation subject to meeting specified conditions.’
In reaction, the vice-chancellor of the NWU, Prof Dan Kgwadi, has expressed his satisfaction with this outcome. He also thanked all persons involved in the process, especially staff from the faculty of law.
“From the onset we had a dedicated team addressing the identified shortcomings. I am confident that the NWU will through addressing the issues as identified by the CHE, ensure that we deliver an even better LLB degree, not only to the benefit of our students, but also to that of the country.”
“Our position has always been that the strategy that we are now implementing is poised to address the concerns raised by the CHE - a strategy of positioning the NWU as a unitary institution of superior academic excellence, with a commitment to social justice.”
The CHE’s response was in reaction to the submission of an improvement plan and strategy on 6 October this year. This plan also included progress made since the review panel site visit in 2016.
During the Higher Education Quality Committee’s (HEQC) meeting on 9 November 2017, the university’s improvement plan together with other relevant documentation submitted, was reviewed. The HEQC was satisfied that the plan addressed the concerns expressed towards full accreditation, and some shortcomings within the capacity of the institution that can be remedied within a reasonable period were identified.
The HEQC requires the submission of a progress report by 30 October 2018, after which a follow-up site visit will be conducted on a date to be determined by the CHE and the institution.
The CHE states in its feedback that it is apparent from the evidence presented in the university improvement plan that most of the concerns which dealt mainly with the inequity between campuses, lack of substantive integration and low admission requirements coupled with inadequate student support, are already being addressed.
“The plan is detailed, and is supported by extensive evidence. There is also commitment to further investigate more avenues to address these concerns in the near future. It appears that the institution engaged with all the relevant stakeholders when dealing with these concerns and recommendations,” the CHE states.
The feedback further commends the efforts made by the faculty of law to hold key workshops, to review some of its law modules, to add other key modules as recommended by the HEQC, to consult its key stakeholders extensively across all campuses and to seek the necessary approval and commitment from the executive management.
The CHE also indicated that although the improvement plan commits to address issues of students and staff diversity and equity with targets and projections, the university is encouraged to explore further innovative equity strategies to fast-track attainment of the aspirations as reflected in the improvement plan.
“A detailed strategy with clear timeframes, allocation of responsibilities and resources will expedite implementation of the plan. This is however a long-term condition, as most of the impact of the interventions will only be felt in the medium to long-term period,” the CHE says.