The accreditation of the University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits’) School of Mining Engineering has been renewed for another five-year cycle by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).
Wits School of Mining Engineering head Professor Cuthbert Musingwini says the renewal of the accreditation is a reassuring landmark for the school, indicating that its standards remain high and are even improving. “Importantly, it puts our graduates at an advantage when they enter the workplace, whether locally or globally, and when they wish to study further at academic institutions elsewhere in the world.”
The accreditation enables graduates to register with ECSA initially, as candidate engineers and later in their careers as professional engineers. In addition, the accreditation facilitates recognition by employers and universities in other countries that are signatories to the Washington Accord, including graduate qualifications issued by the Wits School of Mining.
Musingwini adds that the school’s high standards are a key reason for its programmes being ranked among renowned mining engineering programmes internationally.
The Wits School of Mining Engineering also remains the largest of its kind in the English-speaking world, with student numbers having been steady, at about 850 undergraduates and postgraduates, over the past couple of years.
In addition to attracting a high quality of local students, about 15% of the student body typically comes from countries outside South Africa.
“The visit by the ECSA accreditation teams follows an extensive process of self-evaluation, during which we document our activities and progress over the previous five years, and submit them in advance,” he notes, adding that the teams scrutinse the school’s activities to ensure the school is actually doing what it says it is. This audit ensures that the accreditation is issued in line with the exacting standards stipulated by the Washington Accord guidelines.
As part of the accreditation process, the ECSA teams interrogate all aspects of the self-evaluation report, conducting interviews with staff and students, as well as inspecting official documentation and facilities to ensure compliance.
Musingwini points out that student reports are checked and the school’s laboratories inspected to ensure that these facilities are being used to the full extent as required by the various laboratory exercises conducted by the school.
The accreditation is valid to 2022.