By Reon Janse van Rensburg
It often happens, after their first year at university, that students want to transfer to a different institution. There are many reasons for this decision. For instance, students want to change their field of study, and because their current institution does not offer a specific course, they are obligated to look for alternatives.
Before one dares to make this big move, there are a few things to consider. Most of the time there are prescribed requirements when it comes to applying for credits.
Solidarity enlisted Akademia for advice on how to get the necessary information regarding credits, how these academic credits are handled and how the credit transfer between different higher education institutions works.
What exactly are credits and why do the total number of credits vary from programme to programme?
According to Akademia, the credits awarded to each programme are formulated in the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) of the Council of Higher Education (CHC).
The goals are twofold, namely to give an indication of the expected duration of instruction and learning awarded to a qualification, as well as to dictate the different qualification levels, known as NQF levels.
The duration of ten instruction and learning hours are equal to one credit, which is an indication of the average time it will take an average student to complete the specific qualification. For example, a qualification that consists of 120 credits should be completed in 1 200 hours of studying. The time includes contact assessment and self-study. A full-time academic year is calculated as a period of 1 200 hours, although there are exceptions to this.
The number of credits for every qualification is registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The HEQSF awards the minimum number of credits and indicates that these credits are the minimum number. However, higher education institutions are free to award more credits to qualifications (within the agreed limits) and have them accredited accordingly.
Therefore a qualification can, for example, be accredited with 410 credits – such as the BCom (Economics and Law) degree at Akademia – and be presented as such, although it is registered at SAQA as a degree with a minimum number of 360 credits in the HEQSF.
What is a credit transfer application, and is it the same at all universities?
Akademia explains that students who studied at a different higher education institution and passed a few modules often apply to Akademia to have these credits recognised and thus get exemption from similar modules in the course they are applying for.
Akademia believes that universities have the autonomy to handle credit applications in terms of the relevant institution’s approved policies. There is no general directive or national policy which addresses these considerations, although the CHC does give universities guidelines in this regard. However, these guidelines only indicate non-transferable credits.
Universities can, by implication, refuse a credit transfer application even if it meets the CHC’s minimum requirements. Students who apply to get these credits recognised are subject to the conditions of the university concerned.
When can prospective students consider applying for a credit transfer?
According to Akademia, students can apply for a credit transfer when they meet the following requirements:
- The module is part of an accredited programme by the university where it is offered. Non-accredited short courses or modules which are not formally assessed will not be considered.
- The programme is on the same NQF level. Diploma credits cannot be presented for a degree.
- The credit value of the completed modules is the same or higher. Credits for semester modules cannot be presented for year modules.
- There is an 80% correspondence between the module content of the module in which the credits were acquired and the module for which exemption is applied.
Can students apply for credits in any of Akademia’s programmes?
According to Akademia, students can apply for credits in any programme, on the condition that the admission requirements for the specific programme are met. The fact that the previous university gave them admission for a programme does not mean that they will be accepted by Akademia. Apart from the minimum statutory requirements for admission to a programme, the specific higher education institution reserves the right to implement additional requirements.
Why are credits sometimes not granted?
According to Akademia, the transfer of credits between institutions is not as straightforward as it might seem. The reason is that the module structure, content and outcomes, assessments and credit allocation of modules are processed in different ways by different universities.
Some universities have a semester system with semester modules, while year modules mostly carry 20 credits. Students sometimes only take a single semester module (8-12 credits) and thus cannot present these credits for similar year modules of 20-40 credits.
To complicate matters further, such a student probably did not follow the same curriculum as the institution to which the credits are being transferred. Credits can only be transferred if there is an 80% correspondence in the module content of the two modules.
To find out more about Akademia and the transfer of credits to this excellent institution, visit: www.akademia.ac.za
Hoe werk akademiese krediete? – https://akademia.ac.za/2021/01/27/hoe-werk-akademiese-krediete/