National Qualifications Framework Bill



Big changes are in store for the legislative framework that guides education and training in the country. Des Squire is feeling excited about the proposed changes, particularly the streamling of the quality assurance function and an end to the arguments about who owns what qualification! He outlines the proposed changes in more detail.



The National Qualifications Framework Bill 2008' was published for comment on Friday 22nd February 2008. The proposed legislation will replace the South African Qualifications Authority Act of 1995.

The various bills have been gazetted for public comment to be submitted by 10 March 2008. SAQA will continue to exist as the apex body in education and training quality assurance with many of its functions unchanged.

I was party to a recent presentation where a speaker from the Department of Labour (Sebolelo Nomvete) reviewed the new legislation. I must admit I feel excited with the proposed changes.

One of the most important changes will be the streamlining of the QA function for education and training. In addition, and long overdue, will be the establishment and clarification on the issue of "who owns' what qualification. Duplication of qualifications will be reduced or removed and the issue of whether or not each qualification requires "a fundament component' will be clarified. It seems fundamentals may well be removed in certain situations and for certain workplace based qualifications.

The Minister of Education and the Minister of Labour will now share responsibility but with the Minister of Education at the helm. Each will have clearly defined responsibilities but collaboration will be required on matters relating to the NQF and the various legal entities described in the legislation.

Of particular interest is the creation of a Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). The feeling is that most providers have had enough of the SETA ETQAs and associated red tape and cumbersome processes. The SETA ETQAs will gradually be phased out as the QCTO takes control.

My understanding is the QCTO will fall under the Minister of labour and SETAS will have to work and cooperate with this body.

The changes will see the emergence of three Quality Councils (QC). 1. Umulusi - 2. Higher Education QC and 3. the QCTO. 1 and 2 will both fall under the Minister of Education and 3 will fall under the authority of the Minister of Labour.

The QCTO will be responsible for all work place based education and training as well as the development of qualifications, standard setting and Quality assurance of both learning and results. This is a big reduction from the 25 we currently have to contend with. SETAs will continue to perform a monitoring and evaluation function in terms of the approval of workplaces as learning sites, monitoring and implementation of learning programmes, compliance issues and verification of samples of ongoing assessments for accumulation of credits.

It is worth bearing in mind that one of the objectives of the new skills development architecture is to place the emphasis on "qualifications aligned to occupations' and places the framework around current role players in the labour market. Consideration will be given to intellectual parity and academic knowledge as opposed to workplace knowledge and learning.

In addition there will be a streamlining of the number of qualifications as these will be directly linked to occupations. There will be reduction in the number of qualifications and there will be no overlapping.

The National Qualifications Framework has also seen some changes with the introduction of 10 levels as opposed to the previous 8.

About the Author:

Des Squire (Director)

Applied Management Studies International (Pty) Ltd

011 884 5456




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