POLICY ON RECOGNITION OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
1. POLICY OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this policy is to provide a framework for the conduct of recognition approval processes for higher education institutions in Fiji to ensure that the institutions possess the features that identify them as the type of higher education institution that they purport to be and hence will contribute towards the achievement of quality higher education services that meet the needs of the nation and international standards.
2.1 The Higher Education Commission shall prescribe the procedures and guidelines for assessing applications for recognition by higher education institutions. A recognition certificate under part 8 of the Regulations shall be issued accordingly.
2.2 Recognition processes and procedures are to comply with standards and requirements that would demonstrate the validity of the recognition given to institutions.
2.3 The process of assessing applications for recognition shall be conducted by a Recognition Committee which shall be appointed by the Higher Education Commission.
2.4 Recognition processes are to be effective, efficient and responsive to the changing higher education environment and to the changing needs of institutions, students, staff and stakeholders.
3.1 This policy applies to all higher education institutions in Fiji.
3.2 There is a need to provide direction for assessing applications for recognition by higher education institutions given the need for consistency in the application of the principles of good governance in the operations of institutions.
|Higher education institution||A higher education institution in Fiji that provides award-conferring post-secondary education|
|Validity||The extent to which a recognition is able to achieve the purpose for which it is required.|
|Standards||Levels of excellence or quality|
5. RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND OTHER LINKS
5.1 Relevant Legislation or Authority
- Higher Education Promulgation 2008
- Higher Education Regulations 2008
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Employment Relations Promulgation 2007
5.2 Relevant Policy
Policy on Registration of Higher Education Institutions
6. GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES
6.1 Criteria for recognition
In assessing an application for recognition, the assessment must have regard for the need to ascertain that an institution is indeed of the type that it purports to be under the provisions of the Higher Education Promulgation. This can be achieved by an assessment of how well an institution meets the criteria for recognition as prescribed under part 5 of the Regulations.
These criteria are in two categories, the first for universities and degree-awarding institutes of technology and the second is for institutions that are neither universities nor degree-awarding institutes of technology. These are as follows:
6.1.1 A university or a Degree-Awarding Institute of Technology is one that:
(a) is authorized by an Act to award higher education qualifications across a range of fields and to set standards for those qualifications;
(b) incorporates teaching and learning that engage with advanced knowledge and inquiry;
(c) demonstrates a culture of sustained scholarship extending from that which informs inquiry and basic teaching and learning, to the creation of new knowledge through research, and original creative endeavor;
(d) commits teachers, researchers, course designers and assessors to free inquiry and the systematic advancement of knowledge;
(e) safeguards the integrity of the institution’s academic programmes through procedural rules, organization, admission policies, financial arrangements and quality assurance processes.
6.1.2 A higher education institution that is neither a university nor a degree-awarding institute of technology is one that:
(a) is authorized by the Commission to award higher education qualifications in one or more fields and to set standards for those qualifications;
(b) incorporates teaching, learning and training that engage with knowledge, skills and inquiry;
(c) safeguards the integrity of the institution’s education and training programmes through procedural rules, organization, admission policies, financial arrangements and quality assurance processes.
(d) has appropriately qualified staff.
6.2 Recognition Committee
The Commission shall appoint a Recognition Committee comprising of 4 members. The members may be from within or outside the Commission.
The members must have relevant knowledge and experience in the higher education sector.
The Recognition Committee shall meet as and when necessary to assess applications for recognition.
6.3 Assessment Criteria
Assessment for recognition must consider the following for each institution:
1. Legal status including the legality of agency arrangements
3. History as an educational institution
4. Goals including vision and mission
6. Corporate governance
7. Organizational structure
8. Academic governance
9. Quality assurance
13. Students tuition and grievances arrangements
6.4 Assessment Outcomes
Based on the criteria for assessment in 6.3 above, the following assessment outcomes are to assist the assessors in determining the recognition or otherwise of an institution:
1. The institution is legally established and recognized under a law of Fiji.
2. The historical background of the institution shows a reputation in the provision of quality education.
3. The vision, mission and goals of the institution reflect the national strategic development goals of Fiji and universal parameters for institutions of higher education.
4. The institution’s focus is clearly articulated as being the delivery of quality higher education.
5. Documentation shows the institution’s intention to comply with policies and procedures that promote teaching, research (if applicable), free-intellectual inquiry, academic integrity and honesty.
6. The institution has a governing authority with oversight responsibilities of all the institution’s activities.
7. The organizational structure of the institution is suitable for the purposes of the institution and for the provision of quality education.
8. The institution has academic governance policies and arrangements.
9. The academic governance arrangements support the development and monitoring of academic standards.
10. The institution has the financial capacity to sustain quality higher education programmes and courses.
11. The institution is appropriately staffed to enable it to achieve its goals.
12. There are arrangements to protect students’ interests in the case of the winding up of an institution.
13. There are grievances procedures for students that ensure their protection when they complain about any aspect of the institution’s operations.
7. Report of Recognition Committee
The Recognition Committee must provide a written report to the Commission of the assessment made on each institution. The report must include a certification from the Committee’s chair that the assessment was conducted in accordance with the approved guidelines and the Committee’s recommendation on whether the recognition ought to be granted.
8. Annual Report of Director
The Director must submit an annual report to the Commission. The report must include the activities of the Committee, annual data on applications received and assessment outcomes and any recommended changes to policies.