South Africa gets first fully online Honours degree

April 29, 2019 • Education, Southern Africa, Top Stories

South Africa gets first fully online Honours degree

SAICA’s has accredited Milpark Education’s first-of-its-kind fully online Postgraduate Diploma in Accountancy (PGDA).

SAICA’s has recently accredited Milpark Education’s first-of-its-kind fully online Postgraduate Diploma in Accountancy (PGDA) which allows students who pass, access into SAICA’s first professional examination.

The current challenges facing South African universities — including high tuition and facilities costs, high student-to-lecturer ratios and severe underfunding by the state — means professional bodies must search for innovative ways to make high-quality education more accessible to prospective members.

It is for this reason that the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is pleased to announce that Milpark Education has recently received SAICA-accreditation for its fully online Postgraduate Diploma in Accountancy (PGDA) with its first intake in July 2019.

Milpark Education’s PGDA was born out of a merger with CA Connect, a long-standing contributor to SAICA-accredited postgraduate programmes at various universities.

Explains Gareth Olivier, the PGDA programme head at Milpark: ‘We have been working towards an innovative solution in this space since 2010 and we’re excited about the opportunities that online chartered accountant education brings. Our PGDA has significant potential to widen access for prospective CAs(SA) and also to deliver a significantly improved educational experience. Being fully online, the programme is available to prospective CAs(SA) from anywhere in the world and is the first true alternative to traditional distance education in this space.’

Not only is the programme accessible and flexible but, ‘it also provides a highly engaged student experience with top quality educational guidance and support, the type usually only associated with contact education. Students are guided throughout the learning process with series of short recorded videos on each topic, practice questions, live (day and evening) group online discussions as well as one-on-one live online discussions with lecturers,’ adds Olivier. ‘We also track students’ behavioural analytics so that we can deliver personalised learning and engage students proactively, sometimes before they even realise they need support.’

He noted that the programme’s website includes full details and videos explaining how the programme works at as well as details for applications and queries.

‘In its role in promoting quality assurance in accounting education, and in terms of its current recognition and standing with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), one of SAICA’s key roles is to accredit programmes which allows students access to SAICA’s first professional examination, the Initial Test of Competence (ITC),’ says Mandi Olivier, Senior Executive for Professional Development at SAICA.

‘For programmes to be accredited by SAICA, higher education providers undergo a rigorous and extensive process to ensure that their programme has the necessary resources in place to deliver a high-quality programme leading to a CA(SA) qualification. These quality assurance processes are undertaken over and above the formal regulatory accreditation requirements of the DHET, CHE and SAQA which need to be in place before getting the SAICA stamp of approval. Having undergone the formal accreditation process, we are confident that the Milpark Education’s postgraduate diploma is backed by the necessary resources to meet the standards set by SAICA.’

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Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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