By THANDIWE MOYO –
THE Higher Education Authority (HEA) has registered 55 higher education institutions countrywide in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Act Number 4 of 2013.
HEA information, education and communication officer Birbal Musoba said private higher learning institutions were only registered once they satisfied the criteria that had been set for registration.
Mr Musoba said the criteria for registration of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) included governance and management, academic programmes, student admission and learner support.
He said other registration requirements were staff, physical infrastructure, financial resources, health and safety.
Mr Musoba said the HEA had by December 2016 officially registered the 55 private HEIs in accordance with the Act’s part VII Section 48 and that the institutions had been gazetted in the gazette notice number 232 and 561 of 2017.
Mr Musoba said the registration of HEIs under the Act only applied to private institutions as public ones were established by a statutory instrument through the minister of Higher Education.
He said higher education institutions in the country operating outside the confines of the law risked prosecution once found wanting.
Mr Musoba said it was an offence to offer unaccredited learning programmes to students as their qualifications would not be recognised by the Zambia Qualifications Authority.
Mr Musoba also said that penalties applied if programmes were offered without being accredited.
“A person operating a higher learning institution that is not registered with the HEA commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding one million penalty units or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years, or to both,” Mr Musoba said.
He said all higher education institutions were required by law to be registered by HEA as that was the first step in quality assurance of the higher education institutions, which included institution audit and physical inspection of the school premises.
Mr Musoba further said before a programme was offered by a registered higher education institution, it must be accredited with the authority to ensure it met minimum standards.