Accreditation of Engineering Education Programmes
Scope of ECSA’s Accreditation Function
The Engineering Council of South Africa is empowered by the Engineering Profession Act, 2000 (Act 46 of 2000) (EPA), to conduct accreditation visits to educational institutions that offer engineering programmes to determine whether the engineering qualifications offered can be recognised by the Council for purposes of registration. The educational programmes considered for accreditation and the categories of registration for which each type of programme satisfies the education requirements is as follows:
|BEng, BSc(Eng) or BIng ("BEng-type")
||Candidate Engineer,Professional Engineer|
||Candidate Engineering Technologist, Professional Engineering Technologist|
||Candidate Engineering Technician, Professional Engineering Technician|
While accreditation visits are required by the EPA, these visits are conducted on invitation and with the full co-operation of the higher education providers. The visit evaluation process and decision by the accreditation committee results in a programme that meets all criteria being granted accreditation, that is its graduates are recognised as meeting the education requirements for registration in the relevant category. A programme that does not meet all the requirements may be granted accreditation for a specified period on condition that the deficiencies are remedied by the provider and the programme is re-evaluated within the specified period.
The process accredits individual programmes, not academic departments or universities.
ECSA has two accreditation process for engineering (BEng-type) and technology (BTech and National Diploma) programmes respectively. Programmes for persons working toward the Government Certificate of Competency are handled differently.
Development of the Accreditation System and Changes to the Structure of Qualifications
The accreditation process for BEng-type programmes was extensively revised in the late 1990s and outcomes based criteria were introduced in 2000. As a result of a recent review, ECSA has adopted common accreditation criteria, policy and processes based on the BEng-type process for all types of programmes. While each type of programme will have appropriate standards, that is statement of outcomes to be achieved at exit level and curriculum structural requirements, criteria such as the quality of teaching and learning will have a common form for all types of programmes. These common criteria, policies and procedures are currently applicable to the accreditation of BEng-type programmes and will be applied to technology programmes from 2011.
The common criteria, policy and processes for accreditation will be applied to technology programmes from 2011. For the remainder of 2011, and any programmes that require revisits as a result of accreditation decisions in 2010 and previous years will be evaluated according to the Criteria, Standards Policy and Processes applicable to technology programmes currently. New standards for technology programmes to be phased in for visits 2013-2014 and beyond. ECSA will publish the relevant standards as soon as these are registered with SAQA. Technology programmes are affected by the Higher Educational Qualifications Framework (HEQF) and the National Diploma and BTech must, in due course be replaced by new types of qualifications. See ECSA’s Position Paper on HEQF-compliant qualifications.
Accreditation of BEng or BSc(Eng)-type Engineering Programmes
See Document E-01-P for an overview of the accreditation system. Standards for BEng Programmes are defined in documents E-02-PE and E-03-P. below. The latter document contains the criteria applicable to all types of programmes while the former, E-02-PE contains the standard for the BEng-type programme, that is the exit level outcomes and requirements on the curriculum.
The Policies, procedures and reporting formats are defined in documents E-10-P to E-15-P. The appeal procedure is laid out in E-16-P.
To see the list of accredited BEng-type degrees, consult document E-20-P.
Accreditation Document Index
Accreditation of National Diploma or BTech Technology Programmes
The current standards, policies and procedures for accreditation of technology qualifications are defined in the following documents:
Accredited technology programmes are identified on the List of Accredited National Diploma and BTech programmes
Agreement on Accreditation with Council on Higher Education
ECSA has a direct mandate from the EPA to conduct accreditation visits to higher education providers offering engineering programmes. The Higher Education Act also requires the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to quality assure programmes. The CHE and ECSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in November 2006. The MoU formalises the arrangement whereby ECSA, in carrying out its accreditation programme also quality assures engineering programmes on behalf of the CHE, for purposes of the Higher Education Act. A provider wishing to introduce a new programme must obtain candidacy phase accreditation from the CHE. Programmes covered by the MoU are the BEng-type, BTech and National Diplomas in engineering fields.
Qualifications for Certificated Engineers
The Certificated Engineers Accreditation Committee (CERTAC) advises the Commissioner of Examiners for the Government Certificate of Competency (GCC) on qualifications for entry to the GCC examination, leading to the award of certificates of competency (CoC) issued by the Departments of Labour, Mineral Resources and Transport, for the following certificates:
CoC - Mechanical Occupational Health and Safety
CoC - Electrical Occupational Health and Safety
CoC - Mechanical Mine Health and Safety
CoC - Electrical Mine Health and Safety
CoC - Mine Manager Mine Health and Safety (Metalliferous)
CoC - Mine Manager Mine Health and Safety Coal
CoC - Marine Engineer Merchant Shipping First Class
Certain qualifications in Mechanical, Electrical and Mining Engineering accredited by ECSA as engineering or technology programmes are also recognised by the Commission of Examiners.