UKZN’s Accounting Programmes have received a level 1 rating from the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) following an intensive review conducted by the accountancy body’s Academic Review Committee (ARC).
This is a remarkable achievement for UKZN as level 1 is SAICA’s top rating and means that the University – through its School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) – has met all the body’s accreditation requirements for the Accounting undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including the Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Accountancy and Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA)) that lead to the Chartered Accountancy qualification.
The review of Accounting programmes is regularly conducted by the ARC in all SAICA-accredited Institutions of Higher Education to ensure the programmes offered by these institutions are of a high standard.
SAICA’s senior executive responsible for professional development, Ms Mandi Olivier, said the decision to award UKZN a level 1 rating was informed by the many positive developments achieved by SAEF since the last monitoring visit; more especially how the School managed to positively address all the concerns that were raised to the satisfaction of the ARC.
The decision by the University to extend the retirement age from 60 to 65 years was also commended by the ARC as it enables the School to retain key staff in management positions, in turn ensuring that sufficient staff is available to meet the demands of the programme as well as research expectations of the University.
‘The impact of the new and substantive management on the programme is already visible with initiatives to improve the quality and throughputs of the programme,’ added Olivier.
Speaking on the successful turn-around strategy implemented by the School in response to concerns raised around the low throughput rate, the School’s Dean and Head, Professor Mabutho Sibanda, said bilingual tutorials and other interventions were introduced to accommodate English and second language speakers. In addition, financial assistance is made available in the form of bursaries, and funds for textbooks to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
‘The School has also increased the number of tutorials sessions, introduced motivational talks and encouraged students to use the services of UKZN educational psychologists,’ said Sibanda. ‘We are pleased that these interventions are bearing fruit especially when it comes to the improvement of the CTA throughput rates which have increased from 38 percent in 2016 to 49 percent in 2017. Another improvement worthy to note is the rise in the number of students enrolling in the CTA programme which has increased from 248 in 2017 to 373 in 2018. Moreover, UKZN students excelled in the January and June 2018 sitting of the Initial Test of Competence which proves that we are headed in the right direction and can be proud of the work we are doing as a School,’ he said.
College of Law and Management Studies Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head, Professor Nana Poku, congratulated Sibanda and his team for their efforts in ensuring that the University maintains SAICA’s high standards as this will enable it to contribute meaningfully to the transformation of the Accounting profession.
Words: Hazel Langa