College of Law

Outcome: National Review of LLB Programmes

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) is an independent statutory body established by the Higher Education Act 101 of 1997. As the Quality Council for Higher Education, it advises the Minister of Higher Education and Training on all higher education issues and is responsible for quality assurance and promotion through the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC).

During 2016, a national review was conducted on all LLB programmes to strengthen the quality of legal education provision at all South African universities. On 30 March 2017, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) approved the findings of the National Reviews Committee (NRC) with regard to the LLB programme at the University of South Africa, namely that our LLB programme be put on a notice of withdrawal of accreditation. This is also applicable to three other universities, whereas all remaining law faculties’ LLB programmes were conditionally accredited.

It should be noted that this outcome requires the College to put measures in place to address the reasons, concerns and recommendations set out in the review report. It does not mean that our qualification accreditation has been withdrawn or that our LLB programme has been de-accredited. In fact, the HEQC report found that Unisa’s LLB programme met all the required criteria (some with improvements), with the exception of one.

Moreover, the following best practices contained in our programme were acknowledged and commended, for example:

  • the approach to globalisation in selected modules
  • evolving information technology concerns
  • the alignment of our enrolment plan with the national development agenda which facilitates access to education, commitment to curriculum transformation, and the dynamic nature of law and its relationship with relevant contexts
  • evidence from the majority of modules that students are required to engage in genuine problem solving
  • a diverse and highly qualified staff cohort
  • summative and formative assessment practices ranging from good to excellent and commendable moderation practices

 

The primary reasons for placing the qualification on notice of withdrawal include:

  1. Curriculum design (a need to include non-law modules in the LLB programme and to institute pre- and co-requisites for some of the modules from the first year of study onwards)
  2. Alignment of Teaching and Learning policies with practice within the College of Law (need to develop a user manual for academics containing all the relevant policies and processes)
  3. Early identification of students who may need additional support

The College is required to report to the HEQC from time to time on progress made in respect of an Improvement Plan. The deadline for the submission of the Improvement Plan (which must articulate targets, resource allocation and milestones within a specific timeframe), is the 6th of October 2017.

In terms of the notice, the shortcomings identified gives Unisa the opportunity to thoroughly review the programme and through improvement plans to address any shortcomings. Unisa is of the opinion that the improvement plan will contribute to the enhancement of the quality of the LLB programme and has already started addressing some of the shortcomings.

Please see below some frequently asked questions:

Will the qualification for which I am enrolled be accredited when I finish it?
The qualification is deemed accredited and all students currently enrolled will be awarded an accredited qualification.

Will I be in a position to do postgraduate programmes when I finish?
Students may be admitted to postgraduate qualifications once the LLB programme is completed subject to postgraduate admissions criteria.

Is Unisa taking steps to address the shortcomings?
The College of Law has already started addressing concerns raised by the CHE.

Will students be informed of developments?
Yes, regular updates will be given to students.

I have completed my LLB. Does this affect me?
No, you will not be affected.  

Where can I send my query if I have any additional questions?
For LLB enquiries, please send an e-mail to Karelmg@unisa.ac.za
For enquiries related to the BCom Law degree, please send an e-mail to Ehrenm@unisa.ac.za