The impact of quality assurance legislation on private higher education institutions.
Post apartheid South Africa saw the introduction of many policies and legislations that were to meet the goals of democracy, social redress, equity and development. One of the crucial legislations that guided the restructuring of higher education was the South African Qualifications Authority Act (SAQA) of 1995. Within this SAQA Act (1995) is the issue of quality assurance. Through a system of quality assurance and through processes such as the registration of higher education practices and programmes such as the Education and Training Quality Assurance Bodies (ETQA), the National Standards Body (NSB), the Standards Generating Bodies (SGB), the Council of Higher Education and the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) within the SAQA Act mandate. The higher education sector is been guided to offer relevant and responsive needs that meet the needs of learners, employers and other stakeholders. Quality Assurance could relate to greater accountability and efficiency in respect of education or higher standards of education provision. It is within the expression of higher standards and comparability of quality assurance that through the SAQA Act (1995) all providers of higher education, whether public higher education providers of private higher education providers, are required to register as providers of higher education programmes and to register its programmes been offered. It is within this expression of quality assurance that this study is located. This study examined the impact of the Quality Assurance Legislation on programme design of the Information Technology (IT) Department within the School of Technology at Anchorlite College, which is a private higher education institution (PHEI). The Study focused on two critically questions, viz: i. Did the PHEI use a quality assurance system before the quality assurance legislation? ii. What impact did the quality assurance legislation have on pedagogy, resources and content of programme design of a PHEI A case study method was used on a purposeful sampled PHEI to illuminate the impact of the quality assurance legislation on programme design at Anchorlite College. Data was obtained through an interview with the Head of Department. The institution's records were used to retrieve data. Also a questionnaire was administered to the IT staff The findings indicate that there are both positive and negative aspects concerning the impact of the quality assurance legislation on programme design. The SAQA Act (1995) did impact on the IT programme pertaining to staffing, physical resources, assessment, programme design and learners. The findings indicate that the quality assurance legislation within the' Requirements for Learning Programmes' (SAQA, 1998) influenced and impacted the IT programme. This impact was indicated by appropriate and adequate staff have been employed to support the learning programme, the physical resources have increased, a more informed assessment strategy has been implemented and the learners admission requirements into the IT programme has changed by introducing aptitude testing. The findings did indicate that some staff was aware of the quality assurance before the SAQA Act (1995) The recommendations of this study indicate that the staff aligns themselves with the needs of the industry by internships or forming partners with industrial organizations. The IT programme will have to be reviewed and adapted to include the needs of the industry. The system of staff development programmes is implemented so that the staff becomes familiar with the new skills and techniques of industry. The SAQA Act (1995), the quality assurance legislation did impact on the programme design of the IT programme at Anchorlite College.