Analysis of the Peer-Reviewed Process Used In the Accreditation of New Programmes in Zimbabwe

Garwe Evelyn Chiyevo


The purpose of accreditation is to assist higher education institutions toimprove the quality ofhigher education delivery. Most quality assurance bodies use the accreditation model that is founded on the principles of self-regulation and peer review. However, the use of peer reviewers in accreditation has been criticised because of the time taken, the expense and thepossibility of peer reviewer bias. Notwithstanding these criticisms, no effective alternatives have been proffered and hence it is prudent to improve on the existing model. The objective of the study was to assess the peer review process used in accreditation of new programmes in Zimbabwe with a view of improving the credibility of the process. The methodology entailed a qualitative research design premised on documentary analysis, questionnaires and interviews with academic community and staff from the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education.The results showed that although it has its flaws, the peer-reviewed accreditation model is largely accepted by the academic community. The issues of concern pertained to peer reviewers, ZIMCHE and the higher education institutions. However, these issues are not insurmountable; they can be addressed by paying attention to peer reviewer selection and training as well as making sure that ZIMCHE increases its capacity in terms of human and financial resources. In order to further strengthen the peer-reviewed accreditation process, ZIMCHE should consider discussing with the institutions and agreeing with them on the choice of peer reviewers to be used before they are assigned tasks.

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