A delegation from the Council on Higher Education (CHE) Support visited the University of Venda on Thursday, 06 June 2019. Led by the Chief Executive Officer of CHE, Prof Narend Baijnath, the delegation included Dr Sanele Nene Researcher: Institutional Audits Directorate and Ms Olivia Mokgatle Director: National Standards and Review. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the University with the motion of anticipated audit by the CHE. Some of the matters considered during the visit included potential challenges that the University could be confronted with in terms of its performance particularly in respect of the production of quality graduates, the quality of qualifications offered, maintenance of quality teaching and learning, infrastructural development, University governance, but above all, the audit of University programmes was the primary reason for the visit. The meeting was held at the University’s Council Chambers. 

 From L-R Ms Olivia Mokgatle (Director: National Standards and Review), Dr Bernard Nthambeleni (Univen Vice-Chancellor and Principal), Prof Narend Baijnath (CHE CEO) and Dr Sanele Nene (Researcher: Institutional Audits Directorate) 

 During his opening and welcome remarks, UNIVEN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni expressed his appreciation for the visit by the delegation from CHE and pledged the UNIVEN’s commitment to incorporate all the inputs 

made by the delegation and effective implementation of all the recommendations made. The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University, Dr Nthambeleni further thanked the delegation from CHE and told them that UNIVEN highly regard this visit and will make sure that the University complies with the rules that governs the quality of qualifications offered at UNIVEN. 

Dr Nthambeleni further confirmed that the University Management would proactively come up with a plan to overcome the challenges. He said this plan will ensure that the University continues to produce the best graduates and will also enable the institution to sustain itself. “Another factor that will assist UNIVEN to move forward is to ensure that all key positions are filled. We view the audit as something that is intended to make us a better institution. We shouldn’t see the audit as a threat that is aimed at identifying our shortcomings that could lead to the withdrawal of certain programmes or qualifications. We should not only comply when the institution is about to be audited. The audits should be conducted to sustain the University and to make the institution one of the best in the country.” 

“Although there is still a need for improvement, UNIVEN is doing its best in terms of infrastructure development. He concluded his talk by mentioning that UNIVEN is committed to improve its financial position and that the University will make sure that all the challenges are attended to. 

CHE Chief Executive Officer, Prof Narend Baijnath explained that, their view is that the University will benefit greatly through the CHE audits. He mentioned that all institutions should meet the requirements and certain standards because compliance will make sure that institutions produce quality graduates that are employable. 

He stated that, out of 26 public institutions there are those that are doing well. According to him, most historically black institutions are faced with several challenges. “Irrespective of the challenges that they are faced with, these institutions should make sure that quality education is being provided at all times. We don’t want to be in a situation where employers choose not to employ your graduates because of matters that can be avoided.” He encouraged UNIVEN 

Management to always strive to produce the best graduates because employers talk among each other about the type of graduates that institutions produce. “We don’t want to be in a situation where UNIVEN graduates are being sidelined or rejected by employers. Continue to produce employable graduates.” 

CHE CEO stated the importance of having an effective internal quality assurance system. He said their job as CHE is to make sure that an institution qualifies to offer these programmes. “We assess whether an institution has what it takes to offer those programmes.” 

“We are not here as the police, but we are here to assist you, to support and guide you to be the best or to at least be on the same standard with other institutions. It is important to start early and make sure that you are well prepared before the audit takes place. Don’t wait for us to come first so that you can start preparing, give yourselves time to prepare for our visits. Let us all work towards a common goal which is to meet the required standards.” 

In his concluding remarks, Prof Baijnath said in order to overcome all the challenges, UNIVEN should work as a team. He thanked UNIVEN Management for a warm welcome and the hospitality. He further encouraged UNIVEN to continue doing well and preserve the University’s reputation. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Prof Jan Crafford said, irrespective of all the challenges highlighted, UNIVEN is doing its best to make sure that it produces the best graduates. 

Dr Kholofelo Mothibi, Deputy Dean of the School of Law commended the team that audited the standard of LLB programme at UNIVEN. She said, “through the audit, the current standard is exceptional. The UNIVEN LLB degree is fully accredited by the HEQC. However, the main challenge that need to be given attention in the School of Law is the matter of space”. 

Ms Olivia Mokgatle, Director: National Standards and Reviews said they found it very useful to assess institutions of higher learning because this helps most institutions to detect problems that they might not be aware of and as a result, institutions get an opportunity to tackle such challenges. “After the audits, we share with the respective institutions, areas that need to be improved. Trends across the sector and across the institution enable institutions to reflect or detect the errors which can be tackled at a later stage.” She said when auditing programmes at these institutions, they use the national benchmark standards to rate the quality of a programme. Ms Mokgatle further explained that, this allows them to look at the institutional capacity to offer a certain programme. 

The Dean of the School of Human and Social Sciences, Prof Mokgale Makgopa commended the role of CHE in terms of assisting institutions to offer quality programmes. He thanked the senior management of the University for their hard work. 

“The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) is fully accredited. Hence, we have received conditional accreditation for Master of Social Work (MSW) with two short term conditions from CHE. We are committed to address all matters identified to ensure that we receive full accreditation,” he concluded. 

A group photo of Univen Senior Management, Quality Assurance and CHETL staff members as well as delegation from CHE. 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 

Date: 09 June 2019