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Dear SPU Community

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) is delegated through the Higher Education Act, Act 101 of 1997 and the National Qualifications Framework Act, Act 67 of 2008 to, through the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), a permanent standing committee of the CHE, promote quality assurance in higher education, audit the quality assurance mechanisms of higher education institutions and accredit programmes of higher education institutions.

The CHE has been mandated to embark on a series of Institutional Audits of universities across the sector. This process is already ongoing at several other South African Universities. Sol Plaatje University (SPU) will be part of the final group of universities to go through this process. On 1 April 2022, Executive members of the CHE met with the SPU Executive to initiate the Institutional Audit at SPU. Following the initial meeting, it was agreed that SPU would submit its Self-Evaluation Report (SER) including a Portfolio of Evidence to the CHE by 30 November 2022. The site visit for the Institutional Audit will take place from 17 – 24 April 2023.

What is the purpose of the Institutional Audit?

The audit allows us to be self-critical about how we translate SPU’s vision and mission into notions of quality and assess whether our core activities of learning and teaching, the research that we undertake, and the projects and initiatives that we engage in with our communities are fit for purpose, transformative and are executed effectively and efficiently to the benefit of our stakeholders to whom we are accountable. 

We will have to develop a Self-Evaluation Report (SER). The SER requires SPU to reflect on how well it has met or exceeded the standards as explained in the audit focus areas, which are:

  • Focus Area 1: Governance, strategic planning, management and leadership support the core academic functions;
  • Focus Area 2: The design and implementation of the institutional quality management system supports the core academic functions;
  • Focus Area 3: The coherence and integration of the institutional quality management system support the core academic functions; and
  • Focus Area 4: Curriculum development, learning, and teaching support the likelihood of student success.

Overall, the structures that will be put in place to manage and complete various tasks associated with the institutional audit preparations will be as follows:

  • Senior Management Team: oversees the entire SER development process up until sign off by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal.
  • Institutional Steering Committee: responsible for coordinating the focus groups, consolidation and finalisation of the SER.
  • Focus Groups (FGs): develop resource documents on all the standards for amalgamation into the SER, using the Manual for Institutional Audits as a guide; identify and reference sources of evidence referred to in their synthesis. Furthermore, to identify, reflect and expatiate on current practices and highlight areas that need improvement.
  • Project Management Team: coordinate the SER development process, including interacting with the Focus Groups, evidence collation and monitoring the implementation of the Project Timeline Plan as per milestones set to ensure the University submits the SER on time to the CHE.

The composition of the Institutional Steering Committee, Focus Groups and Project Management Team will be finalised by 3 June 2022.

As a young university, this Institutional Audit presents us with the opportunity to adopt a reflective approach in displaying how SPU, in the context of social justice, differentiation, and social impact, strives towards student success and having a community impact at our university.

Every member of the SPU community will be called upon to assist and/or participate in the Institutional Audit process. Please avail yourself as needed and help us to reap the full benefit of this Audit.