As the face of higher education in South Africa starts to change, vocational degrees emanating from the private higher education sector are increasingly raising the bar.
“The reputation of a profession lies in the extent to which members of the broader public respect and recognise the performance of the individuals that lay claim to a professional title,” says Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director of the Independent Institute of Education, the largest private provider of higher education with more than 20 registered campuses in SA. She says that, through the NQF Act, South Africa created an enabling environment where professional bodies could contribute (through the Quality Councils) to the development and maintenance of standards in qualifications and designations related to their profession. 
“Only professional associations registered with SAQA are recognised in this role, and this arrangement therefore also has a public protection role of making explicit to the industry and consumers what standards are met by those who are members of the association, or carry its formal designations or complete qualifications registered or endorsed by the association.”
In the case of the marketing professions, the Marketing Association of South Africa (MA (SA)) is the only SAQA-registered professional association.  The Independent Institute of Education’s three marketing qualifications are the first to be endorsed by MA (SA) under their status as the registered professional association.  In addition, specific short learning programmes at The IIE’s Vega sites can be used for completion of the requirements for professional designations managed by MA (SA).
“Students deserve to know that their qualifications will adhere to or exceed the standards of the industry-leaders, and endorsement by a professional association is one of the strongest ways to provide that validation for students and employers,” Coughlan says.
The three MASA-recognised marketing-focused qualifications offered by the Independent Institute of Education have a strong reputation within the industry because of their very practical, workplace-oriented approach. They are:

  • The BCom in Marketing Management which is offered at Varsity College sites of The Independent Institute of Education seeks to produce graduates with a strong business background who are able to contribute to the development of businesses using marketing skills and strategies. 
  • The Diploma in Commerce in Marketing Management available at Rosebank College and College Campus sites provides a similar, but even more practically based, curriculum for those who are keen to get going as marketers. The integration of simulations and work-based learning opportunities mean that graduates who fully grasp the opportunities they are given will graduate with an invaluable portfolio of work to present to potential employers. 
  • The specialist BCom in Digital Marketing which is only available on College Campus sites provides a uniquely focused qualification in this burgeoning field of digital marketing. What sets this curriculum apart is the inclusion of several important core IT skills to make these digital marketers all round contributors in this booming field.  

“By pairing high quality higher education experiences with the endorsement, which includes ongoing input and quality assurance, by a professional association it is intended that the graduates will enter their professional field uniquely equipped to make a contribution from day one,” says Coughlan.
For more information on the Independent Institute of Education