Qualifications Revoked

THE Namibia Qualifications Authority says as of next year, it will no longer recognise qualifications from the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM).

The authority’s decision to revoke the qualifications will affect over 2 000 students enrolled in ICM-associated programmes as well as institutions offering these programmes.

Institutions currently offering ICM programmes in Namibia include ILSA Independent College, Monitronics Success College, Ondangwa Commercial College and Triumphant College.

The NQA has also urged prospective students to desist from enrolling in these programmes.

NQA’s chief executive officer Frans Gertze yesterday said they only evaluate and recognise foreign qualifications if they are approved by a recognised quality assurance body in the country of origin.

He said in the process of considering applications for the evaluation of qualifications, the NQA identified some discrepancies in the titles and structure of the ICM qualifications.

Gertze said the discovery prompted the NQA to temporarily discontinue evaluating ICM qualifications, pending investigations into the extent of the discrepancies.

ICM is an examination and awarding body based in the UK and operates through approximately 500 approved teaching centres in more than 130 countries across the world, including Namibia. Since 2007, the NQA has accredited five privately-owned Namibian training providers that offer programmes under franchise arrangements and agreements in different fields of study such as accounting and finance, marketing, tourism, human resources and journalism at certificate and diploma levels.

He said NQA appointed external subject matter experts to look into the discrepancies in the ICM qualifications.

“Their reports indicate that there are indeed varying degrees of differences between the titles, structures and learning outcomes in qualifications registered and those actually offered through local ICM franchisors,” he said.

Gertze said during engagements with ICM, the institute also made known their intentions to withdraw from Namibia, underlining the company’s resolve not to operate in a regulated environment. “ICM’s sudden decision to withdraw from Namibia bears significant consequences for Namibian students as it comes in the middle of their studies, and as such can potentially cause panic and uncertainty,” he said.

He said due to the decision by ICM to withdraw from Namibia and its preference to operate in an unregulated environment, the NQA shall evaluate and recognise the ICM qualifications which were temporarily put on hold.

“Students may continue their studies to the next point of exit but not later than December 2014. Individuals who wish to enrol for further studies will be able to continue their studies at any other accredited institution offering similar qualifications with due consideration for credit transfer and articulation agreements,” he said.

Accredited training providers currently offering ICM programmes must seek for qualifications from alternative bodies, provided that such qualifications are accredited in their country of origin. Alternatively, training providers have the option of developing their own qualifications, which must be quality assured by the NQA before implementation.

Gertze said that all affected training providers were consulted and the decisions made with their input.

An administrator at Ilsa College, one of the affected institutions, Annah Liteula said although they were consulted during the decision making process, they are now faced with the challenge of breaking the news to the students.

“Most of the programmes are three-year courses and some of the students have not even completed the programme as yet, now they have to start all over under a new programme,” she said. Liteula said that the institution will have to look at ways to deal with the withdrawal of the programme to accommodate the affected students.

Source : The Namibian