Publication release: Draft Qualification Standards Statement for the Diploma in Emergency Care for public comment
Friday, July 16, 2021

The CHE announces the publication of a draft qualification standard statement for the Diploma in Emergency Care for p

Publication release: Draft Qualification Standards Statement for the Diploma in Emergency Care for public comment
Friday, July 16, 2021

The CHE announces the publication of a draft qualification standard statement for the Diploma in Emergency Care for p

Dr Bongani Mayosi Memorial
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Please find details of the memorial service of the late Prof Bongani Mayosi to be held at Sefako Makgatho Health Scie

Focus Areas

The Quality Enhancement Project (QEP) is a national project that aims to improve student success, defined as:

Enhanced student learning with a view to increasing the number of graduates with attributes that are personally, professionally and socially valuable.

 The approach used in the QEP is inductive in that what is learnt in one part of the process informs later parts of the process.  It is iterative in that there are two phases.  In each phase, focus areas are selected with which all institutions are asked to engage. In Phase 1 (2014-2015) there are four focus areas:

  1. Enhancing academics as teachers
  2. Enhancing student support and development
  3. Enhancing the learning environment
  4. Enhancing course and programme enrolment management.

 The QEP has been designed to promote collaboration in the higher education sector and to support the sharing of information and insights on what helps and hinders student success. The expected outcomes of the QEP are:

Benchmarks and codes of good practice for quality undergraduate provision

  • Policy recommendations
  • Tools and resources for improving student success
  • Research
  • Communities of practice

These will raise the bar for what can be expected of institutions in promoting student success in future. The broad goals of the QEP are:

  1. Enhancement of the quality of undergraduate provision
  2. Enhancement of the quality of graduates
  3. A higher education system that is improving continuously as members of the higher education community collaborate to share good practice and solve shared problems.



2007 Higher Education Data

The CHE has been engaged with collecting and analysing data on the higher education sector and makes this information available through publications and its website. In order to continually adapt to the changing educational environment, the CHE is in the process of developing a theoretically and empirically well-informed set of indicators for the monitoring of the higher education system. This will involve the analysis of national policy in a changing higher education landscape to establish to what extent national goals are identifiable and can be used to inform an organising framework for the collection of data and production of performance indicators.


In 2007*:

  • the public higher education institutions employed 41 383 academic staff and 108 687 staff in total
  • the public higher education institutions enrolled:
    • 761 090 students in total
    • 624 977 undergraduate students
    • 110 418 postgraduate students
  • the public higher education institutions awarded:
    • 126 641 qualifications at all levels
    • 31 064 qualifications in business and commerce
    • 36 429 qualifications in science and technology
    • 59 148 qualifications in the human and social sciences
  • the public higher education institutions produced:
    • 7 516 master's degrees
    • 1 274 doctoral degrees

*This information is collected from higher education institutions during and at the end of each academic year. Once it has been collected, it is verified and audited and discrepancies are resolved. For this reason, the audited figures for 2008 will only become available in the second half of 2009.

The Council on Higher Education is responsible for the accreditation of public and private higher education institutions' learning programmes leading to qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and registered by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The Accreditation Directorate carries out this work by developing and operating the HEQC-online system through which institutions submit programmes for accreditation. As well as new programmes, these include programmes to which significant changes have been made.

The Directorate is supported in its work by an Accreditation Committee.

The CHE is mandated to provide independent, research-based advice to the Minister of Higher Education and Training on matters relating to higher education, either at the request of the Minister or proactively.

Reactive advice is only made public after the Minister has had the opportunity to respond to this advice. The CHE has provided advice on the following issues:

Proactive advice has been provided on the following issues:

The CHE also responds to requests for public comment on relevant higher education policy:

Between 2004 and 2011 all public HEIs and 11 private HEIs underwent institutional audits. The last institutional audit reports were completed in 2011.

It has taken several years to close off all of the audits owing to specific circumstances at some institutions, but it is hoped that the first cycle of audits will be completed by the end of 2017.

Reports from the first cycle of audits, together with a detailed analysis of student throughput rates, showed that a system-wide focus on teaching and learning at higher education institutions was needed. In 2014 the CHE launched the Quality Enhancement Project in order to improve student success across the higher education system through both individual institutional and collaborative activities and interventions across the sector and with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

As the QEP is drawing to a close, in 2016 the Institutional Audits Review Working Group was created to conceptualise a new approach to assessing institutional quality assurance. The Working Group is drawing on what has been learnt from the first audit cycle and the QEP and taking cognisance of the current context of higher education in South Africa, as well as global developments in quality assurance. It is envisaged that the new approach will be piloted in 2017 and rolled out in 2018.

The CHE hosts seminars and workshops on a variety of topics, with the aim of promoting an ongoing conversation about quality improvement in higher education.

These events provide the opportunity to consider and debate issues in higher education policy, the effects of programme accreditation and institutional audits, and other issues of interest to higher education institutions and to the HEQC. 

Forums hosted previously: 

Background and How to Participate

Higher Education Quality Committee Information System (HEQCIS)

The HEQCIS is a CHE information system that stores information about the qualifications that private higher education institutions may offer, and the learner enrolments and achievements against them.

The HEQCIS in turn serves as a tool to populate the National Learners' Records Database (NLRD) held and maintained by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The CHE is required to submit this information to the NLRD for all higher education institutions.

Contact: or 012 431 5036



Clarity on FTEs


There are three steps to the HEQCIS data collection process

Follow these easy steps to comply. It will take you more or less 3 months to complete the full process. It is difficult to determine beforehand precisely how long each individual step will take. Therefore the indicated timeframe (in brackets) should be taken as an estimation that may be shorter or longer depending on your specific case. You can download the documentation required per step beforehand to speed up the process.

After each step we will give you feedback before you continue to the next step.

For any enquires, email:



New version of Edu.Dex must be installed: Edu.Dex version 2.15



The HEQSF Implementation webpage is dedicated to providing all public and private higher education institutions with sufficient information and tools to guide them as they undertake the process of aligning their programmes with the HEQSF, and explaining the process whereby programmes will be captured nationally in as efficient and effective manner as possible to ensure a smooth transition to the new framework.

Information on this webpage can be distributed to a large number of individuals within the higher education sector to support capacity development and information sharing.

On this page, institutions are able access updated and archived versions of working documents such as the HEQSF Implementation Handbook, policy documents such as the HEQSF, and other useful publications such as the CHE-HEQSF 1, Joint Communiqués 1 - 4, SAQA Level Descriptors and Classification of Educational Subject Matter (CESM).

The HEQSF-Online is a web-based application system that allows public and private higher education providers to submit applications for the HEQSF-alignment of programmes online. Institutions will be able to upload and submit applications from 04 April - 30 September 2011. In addition, as the HEQSF Implementation process will be taking place in both the offline and online environments, institutions are able to download the HEQSF Implementation Template from this page as well as access the HEQSF-Online system directly.

Contact Details: E-mail: Tel: 012 349 3920


The CHE is mandated to ‘provide relevant, timely and independent advice on matters concerning the condition and development of higher education’ in order to assess the health of the system. In order to fulfil its mandate the CHE focuses on regular monitoring of the higher education sector and analysis of achievements and challenges within the sector. To complement on-going monitoring, the CHE also engages in more in-depth research projects focused on specific areas of concern.

For more information on current activities, refer to the discussion of the specific monitoring projects.

Monitoring information is also used to support the work being undertaken in other directorates. 

The National Reviews are about re- accrediting existing programmes offered at higher education institutions and form part of the CHE's quality assurance system. One of its aims is to increase public confidence in higher education programmes and qualifications.

This Framework sets out the evaluation and re-accreditation policy for programmes identified for national review. Since approval of an original framework for national review in September 2012, there have been two major developments affecting the approach to national reviews. One is the implementation of the HEQSF gazetted in October 2014. The other is progress by the CHE in development of standards for higher education qualifications. Qualification standards serve an important function as part of the national review process, in that the standard provides a benchmark for the purpose of the qualification and the graduate attributes that manifest it. This Framework replaces the original Framework approved in September 2012.

The National Review process is aligned with the programme accreditation system which evaluates new programmes and existing programmes. The fundamental aims of a national review are to ensure that minimum standards in programmes are met, that students are protected from programmes that do not meet minimum quality standards and that public confidence in higher education programmes is assured. To be re-accredited, programmes need to meet the national qualification standard and the programme-level criteria.


National Review Framework


To strengthen the monitoring and quality development functions of the CHE, the organisation also engages in research projects into higher education issues. Relevant issues are identified through activities such as on-going monitoring, or from policy debates that have arisen in the sector, or from requests for advice from the Minister or other relevant stakeholders. The emphasis in this set of activities is the proactive undertaking of relevant projects within a theoretical framework that defines the higher education landscape and the issues within it.

For more information on current activities, refer to the discussion of the specific research projects.

While the majority of research projects are undertaken by the Monitoring and Evaluation directorate, all CHE directorates engage in research related to their specific focus area. 

The Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) assigns to the CHE the responsibility for developing standards for all higher education qualifications. The CHE must ensure that such qualifications meet the criteria of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for registration on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in terms of section 1(f)(ii) of the Higher Education Act as amended.

The HEQSF requires that standards must have legitimacy, credibility and a common, well-understood meaning, and they must provide benchmarks to guide the development, implementation and quality assurance of programmes leading to qualifications.

The role of the CHE as the Quality Council for Higher Education means that its responsibility for standards should proceed alongside its other statutory responsibilities in the areas of quality assurance, including the accreditation and re-accreditation of programmes, institutional reviews, and national reviews. The co-existence of all these responsibilities in the same body puts the CHE in a privileged position to advance the objectives of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) within the higher education system.

One of the roles of the Directorate is to develop policy and a framework for qualification standards, including adapting the standards to qualification types, academic fields and disciplines, with the aim of informing and guiding the development, registration and publication of qualifications.

The CHE proposes a limited approach to standards development, focusing in the first instance on standards relating to the generic qualification types in the revised HEQSF and, secondly, on standards relating to the broad subject fields aligned with the Classification of Educational Subject Matter (CESM) categories that are used by the DHET for funding purposes.

The CHE will rely to a great extent on academic expertise in the relevant fields or disciplines, since the focus is on the purpose, outcomes and graduate attributes that characterize specific knowledge fields and disciplines. The Directorate will engage experts groups in the development of qualification standards. The CHE will establish a Standards Advisory Committee, comprising representatives of the higher education sector, to advise the CHE on the coordination of the standards development project, and to provide advice on the validity, consistency and compatibility of the standards developed by various expert groups.

Emphasis is also placed on the need for standards development at a national level to recognize and accommodate the need for institutional autonomy in respect of the design, delivery, assessment and evaluation of institutional programmes leading to qualifications on the HEQSF.


CHE>Focus Areas>Standards Development> Framework

 To give effect to its mandate, the CHE has developed a Framework for Qualification Standards in Higher Education. A first draft of the Framework was sent to all parties in the higher education sector on December 2011, with an invitation for the submission of comments. A Summary of Submissions and CHE Responses was subsequently circulated. Institutional and other comments, concerns and recommendation were taken into account in the preparation of a second draft of the Framework, which was endorsed by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) on February 2013 and approved by the Council in March 2013.

  Framework for Qualification Standards in Higher Education

 Qualification Standards

CHE>Focus Areas>Standards Development> Qualification Standards

 The expanded CHE mandate includes the development of standards for qualifications in higher education. A qualification standard is a generic statement of the learning domains, the level of achievement and the graduate attributes that characterise, and are required for the award of the qualification. They set out expectations about standards of qualifications in a range of fields of study, describing what gives a discipline its distinctiveness. National qualification standards provide both compliance benchmarks and developmental indicators for qualification types as awarded in particular fields of study or disciplines.

 Qualification Standards final version: 


Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Bachelor of Engineering/ Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Diploma in Engineering

Bachelor of Commerce

Bachelor of Libray and Information Science

Bachelor of Sports Coaching




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