Every programme that a Higher Education Institution (HEI) would want to offer must be accredited by ZIMCHE. It is important to note that any changes to any existing programme must also be accredited. The purpose of programme accreditation is to ensure the quality of all degrees offered by all HEIs in Zimbabwe.
- The HEI submits to ZIMCHE hard and electronic copies of an application to introduce a new programme. Attached to the application letter should be the hard and electronic copies of the general academic and programme regulations as well as other documentation to include:-
- Name of the programme;
- entry requirements;
- course outlines for each course to be taught in the programme, which should address the following; Rationale, Aims, Course objectives, Course content, Teaching approaches, Assessment Criteria/procedures and Reading list;
- staffing positions with details of names of staff, their qualifications, awarding institutions and the courses they are to teach;
- evidence of stakeholder consultation and support,
- evidence of institutional support in the form of a supporting letter from the Registrar and letter from the Bursar indicating institutional budget allocation for the proposed programme;
- proposed student enrolment for the programme;
- size and quality of library resources and equipment available for the programme;
- ICT infrastructure and resources available to support the programme; and
- Infrastructural resources available at the disposal of the institution for use by the programme.
- Scrutiny of documents by Secretariat staff;
- Three appropriately qualified and experienced peer reviewers who are selected from the academia of other HEIs as well as from the relevant professional fields scrutinize the documents and express an opinion on the programme in terms of soundness of the programme in relation to:-
- name of programme;
- entry requirements for the programme;
- duration of the programme;
- structure of the programme;
- number of courses;
- combination of courses;
- reference to the Minimum Body of Knowledge (MBK) for the particular academic discipline;
- Number of credits or contact hours;
- appropriateness of course title and course content, assessment procedures and reading resources for each course;
- relation to institutional mandate.
Peer reviewers are expected to be persons who hold at least a Master’s Degree in the relevant discipline and have at least five years working experience as an academic lecturer in HEIs, for experts drawn from professional bodies the condition of work as an academic lecturer may be waivered.
- Peer reviewers submit a report in soft and hard copy format which should detail their observations on the programme and make suggestions to improve the programme if necessary.
- ZIMCHE Secretariat synthesizes the comments and compiles a peer reviewers’ report for despatch to the applying institution.
- Revised copies of the documents are sent back to ZIMCHE, whereupon they are sent to the same peer reviewers for further review.
- While the above process is on course, the ZIMCHE Secretariat in the company of Peer Reviewers and possibly one or two members of Council or HEQAC visit the institution to ascertain the readiness of the institution to start offering the proposed programme, in terms of the infrastructural resources, library resources, ICT resources, human resources etc.
- Constant submission of status reports to HEQAC and Council until all are satisfied that the institution is ready to offer the programme.
- Accreditation of the programme is granted.
- A letter granting accreditation is written by the Chairperson of Council, a copy of which is kept in the Directorate of Registration and Accreditation.
- The letter is used to feed the data base of accredited programmes in the HEI.
- The database is maintained and updated by ZIMCHE.
Note that no accreditation takes place unless the prescribed fees are paid.