Accreditation is a process of certification of competency, authority, or credibility. For the purpose of this website, we will focus on accreditation in education and professional occupations. Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process for educational institutions or programs.

It is a public recognition awarded to colleges, universities and programs that meet established educational standards. Accreditation assures that teaching, student achievement; curricula, academic support and other criteria meet certain levels of excellence and quality. In most countries in the world, a government organisation – such as the ministry of education, conducts accreditation.

Some kinds of institutions that require accreditation are:

  • Public institutions
  • Private institutions
  • Private career institutions
  • Faith-based colleges and universities
  • Distance learning colleges and universities

SAQA South African Qualifications Authority

SAQA is the body responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework. In South Africa SAQA manage the quality assurance process of education. The following list of terminologies will help you understand the process better:

  • NQF – National Qualfication Framework – a single integrated national framework for learning achievements in South Africa.
  • Formative Assessment – assessment that takes place during the process of learning and teaching
  • Summative Assessment – assessment to judge achievement. This takes place at the end of a programme of learning.
  • Assessor –  A person who is registered by the relevant body to measure the achievement of specified National Qualifications Framework standards or qualifications
  • Education and Training Quality Assurance Body – the body accredited by SAQA to monitor and audit achievements in terms of national standards or qualifications. They also have specific functions relating to the monitoring and auditing of national standards or qualifications.
  •  Higher Education and training –  all learning programmes leading to qualifications higher than grade 12 or its equivalent in terms of the NQF, including tertiary education.
  • Professional body – A statutory or voluntary body performing the functions contemplated in the legislation for such bodies.
  • Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) -a body responsible for the organisation of education and training programmes within a specific sector.

Accreditation process

In terms of the regulatory framework, the Department of Education must accredit education programmes before a public or private education institution may offer such a programme. To be accredited, a programme must be a full qualification complying with the rules and regulations stipulated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Academic institutes apply for accreditation, after which an evaluation panel produce a report using the evaluation criteria and make a recommendation regarding the accreditation of the programme. They can make three possible recommendations:

  • provisional accreditation (no conditions)
  • Provisional accreditation with conditions – institutions receive a timeframe to address the conditions set. At the end of this period, they have to submit a report on the conditions and a site visit will take place. In cases where they did not meet the conditions, provisional accreditation may be withdrawn.
  • No accreditation – should a programme fail to get accreditation – the institute can only apply for the same programme after a period of two years.

Requirements for SAQA Accreditation

  • The requirements for accreditation are contained in the document titled Criteria and Guidelines for Providers and is available on the SAQA website.
  • The programmes (and/or assessments) offered by the provider of education and training culminate in unit standards and/or qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
  • The curriculum (design, content and learning materials) is aligned to the unit standards and/or qualifications.
  • There is suitably qualified staff (facilitators and registered assessors).
  • The learners have access to adequate learning support services.
  • The assessment methods and tools used to measure the requirements for the unit standard and/or qualification are fair, valid and reliable to enhance learning.


If you would like enroll somewhere and study an accredited course. Bell Institute of Distance Learning offers a great selection of fully accredited courses you can look into.

They offer: