The University of Namibia students are displeased after 17 programmes, which were scheduled to be offered this academic year, have been cancelled as they have not been accredited.
For the 2023 academic year, the university aimed to offer 83 transformed and new academic programmes at the degree level.
Last year, Unam aggressively marketed these courses and students applied.
To their surprise this week, students say they were informed by the various faculty officers that some advertised courses will not be offered due to pending accreditation issues.
“Unam put out an advert last year advertising new programmes to be offered during 2023. We send our application forms for the Master’s Degree in Information Management and Digital Intelligence and also for the Master’s Degree in Health Management.
To our surprise this year, we are told the courses have been cancelled and won’t be offered anymore this year,” complained an affected student who refused to be mentioned.
Affected students said they are in limbo as they are either forced to opt for other programmes, not in their favour or take a year gap until their preferred courses are accredited.
“This cancellation has affected us in terms of planning. We also paid N$400 for the application. Unam told us for those who want a refund can apply to get it. How can a public university advertise programmes that are not yet accredited? We are now forced to take a year gap. We are back to the drawing board,” complained another affected student.
Unam spokesperson Simon Namesho yesterday confirmed that about 17 new programmes will not be offered during the academic year.
He said only 66 will be offered as of the 2023 academic year.
The programmes are in various disciplines, including flagship programmes such as medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, law, dentistry, chartered accountancy, education and many more.
“The programmes will not be offered for the 2023 academic year, due to pending accreditation matters that need to be addressed. However, a number of existing programmes will continue to be offered, in addition to the transformed and reviewed programmes,” Namesho explained.
In terms of degree programmes, he said the transformed curriculum is a combination of integrated or composite honours qualifications at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level eight, with a duration of four years, while the university will also now offer bachelor degrees at NQF level seven, with a duration of three years.
Additional to the bachelor’s degree, level seven, a student may at their own preferred time opt for one-year honours degree at level eight.
According to Namesho, the one-year honours may happen after some years of work or immediately after the completion of the level seven degree, if so preferred.
He, however, said to state that the new programmes have been cancelled is incorrect. “The programmes are not cancelled.”
Asked why Unam advertise the new programmes knowing such courses have not been accredited, Namesho said, “because of the narrow lead time between advertising and programme accreditation, the university went to market in October 2022, which was relatively late, with a list of courses likely to be offered for the 2023 academic year.”
Further, he said the accreditation timeline and process, and because of its delicate quality standards, is a duly lengthy procedure.
Programme accreditation feedback from the accrediting body was scheduled for November 2022.
Unam responded they were aware that the transformed and new academic programmes would be in great demand. “This is because we conducted a programme viability exercise which was necessary for preceding the actual curriculum transformation process. The transformation process also relied on an employability mapping exercise, which is done through engagement with the university stakeholders,” Namesho noted.
Therefore, he said, prospective applicants have two choices; either opt for another programme that is on offer during this academic year or wait for the accreditation process to end.
The programmes on hold will be offered, most likely only during the 2024 academic year.
Additionally, he stated it is not uncommon not to offer advertised programmes for a variety of reasons – such as too few applications received, resource challenges, and needed teaching specialists, among others.
He assured that newly developed and transformed academic programmes are designed to be relevant and current, not only to the local market and industry but also geared towards global citizenship, 4IR and 5IR, national priorities, and global developmental plans.
Caption: No go… Unam students are in limbo over revoked accreditation courses. Photo: Emmency Nuukala