The situation with regard to sa public nursing colleges
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The situation with regard to SA public nursing colleges. FUNDISA May 2012. New Qualifications Framework for Nursing in South Africa. Three entry levels 1 Year certificate to become a registered assistant nurse 3 year diploma to become a staff nurse

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The situation with regard to SA public nursing colleges

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The situation with regard to SA public nursing colleges


May 2012

New Qualifications Framework for Nursing in South Africa

  • Three entry levels

    • 1 Year certificate to become a registered assistant nurse

    • 3 year diploma to become a staff nurse

    • 4 year B degree to become a professional nurse

  • All at Higher Education level (level 5 or above)

  • Public Nursing Colleges currently train about 70% of all nurses, including professional nurses

A Higher Education InstitutionHigher Education Act 101 of 1997

  • Any institution that provides higher education on a full-time, part-time or distance basis and which is:

    • Established or deemed to be established as a public higher education institution under this Act;

    • Declared as a public higher education institution under this Act; or

    • Registered or conditionally registered as a private higher education institution under this Act.

  • Public higher education institution means any institution that is established, deemed to be established or declared as a public higher education institution under this act

  • Higher education means all learning programmes leading to qualifications higher than grade 12 or its equivalent in terms of the NQF and includes tertiary education.

Rest of the Act

  • Chapter 1: CHE

  • Chapter 2: Public Higher Education Institutions

  • Chapter 4: Governance of Public Higher Education Institutions

  • Chapter 5: Funding of Public Higher Education

  • Chapter 6: Independent assessors

  • Chapter 7: Private Higher Education Institutions

  • Chapter 8: General

  • Chapter 9: Transitional and other arrangements


  • Can provincial DOH Colleges of Nursing offer Higher Education?

  • Answer: In terms of a letter received from the CEO of the CHE, they can

  • But all their programmes have to be accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee.

Question 2

  • Should the Nursing Colleges advocate declaration as a Higher Education Institution?

  • Implications:

    • They will be funded by DHE&T according to the current formula, which will be less than 50% of what they receive currently

    • There is little political will to do this

HE funding formula

So what is the way forward then?

  • Colleges can stay as they are, where they are, but apply for all their programmes to be accredited.

  • Let us explore this option

Council for Higher Education HE Quality Committee (HEQC)

  • They do not accredit institutions, but only programmes.

  • They are funded by the DHE&T

    • Who will fund programme accreditation of nursing programmes? Agricultural programme accreditation is funded by DAF.

  • Application is made online, by the institution with two components:

    • Institutional information

      • Programme information

  • The Criteria for Programme Accreditation is the foundational document.

  • Process of approval for new programmes:

    • Candidacy phase

    • Accreditation phase

Candidacy phase

  • An institution has to demonstrate, firstly, that it meets the HEQC criteria for candidacy phase (input criteria) or that it has the potential or capability to meet these criteria in a stipulated period of time.

  • The institution’s application should be based on a critical self-evaluation of the new programme against requirements of the HEQC programme input criteria.

  • Secondly the institution should submit a plan for the implementation of the new programme specifying implementation steps (including time frames and resource) and strategies to meet process, output and impact criteria.


Some major problems


  • Colleges cannot have developmental funds – something without which no modern HEI can exist.

  • They do not control their own student fees.

  • They do not have their own financial policies and systems.


  • Colleges have no independent HR policies

  • A single discipline staff teaching (in B degree) in a multidisciplinary programme.


  • Can these problems be solved within provinces?

    • Perhaps in some, but not everywhere.

    • The majority has no provincial Acts to legitimize NE

  • Is there another option?

    • Agriculture is developing a national Act for Agricultural Colleges

    • This might be the way to go for nursing:

    • A Public Nursing Colleges Act (PNC Act)

Arguments for and against a PNC Act

  • It may be an acceptable political solution:

    • The DOH get what they want – nursing stays in Health;

    • The DHE&T gets a legal way to not have to take on a whole new sector.

  • It allows issues in nursing colleges to be addressed to improve control and quality

    • External funding

    • HR policies

If this is the solution, what is the way forward?


    • Objectives:

      • 1. Get support in principal

      • 2. Clarify process and timelines

    • Targets:

      • CHE

      • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

      • DOH and DHE&T


    • Getting it approved by the sector

    • Submitting it to DOH

Document for initial lobbying

  • Set out legislative and practical problems

  • Suggest the PNC Act as a possible solution

  • Outline main principles of the Act

  • Suggest a Task Team

  • Suggest a timeline


  • This is a period of intense activity which should be planned carefully and executed with the support of all Nursing Education Stakeholders

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