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First steps towards standardisation
Fri, 22 Jun 2012 15:40
One of the key imperatives of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Assessment Practice (CIMAP) is the urgent review and representation to address inconsistent ETQA standards of applications. Assessments and moderation standards of practice must be consistently applied at a national level.
In addressing these issues, CIMAP also strives to eliminate the discrepancies of quality systems between ETQAs.
During a recent dialogue with SAQA two burning issues were addressed: RPL and learnerships and the quality assurance of the fundamental components of qualifications.
Addressing RPL and learnerships Dr. Karen Deller who represented CIMAP put it to SAQA that although some Setas allow the practice of completing a full learnership through RPL only, recognising that a qualification as per SAQA's policies can be acquired either in full or in part through RPL, other SETAS do not.
"These Setas, who are in the minority, advocate that a learner cannot achieve a full qualification through RPL and that there will always be gaps that need to be addressed through traditional training. They therefore insist that two providers sign the learnership agreements - one as an RPL provider and the other as a training provider. This practice excludes RPL only providers from the learnership process", Dr. Deller said.
She highlighted that these Setas also did not appear to concede that a learner can collect credits from various providers over a series of life long learning events. This means that they do not accept uploads from different providers for parts of a qualification.
Dr. Deller pointed out that in a number of instances where CIMAP members tried to do this they have been instructed that this is not acceptable and learners have been sent to the original provider to repeat credits.
"This principle appears to work against the principle of lifelong learning", she said. In response, Mr. Jo Samuels, CEO of SAQA clarified the NQF principles expressed in SAQA policies that guide SETA and educational institution practices with regard to learnerships and RPL.
"Lifelong learning is an organising principle of the NQF that include recognition of prior learning, articulation and credit accumulation and transfer", he said. He confirmed that learnerships lead to qualifications that are registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and that qualifications may be achieved in whole or in part through the process of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) within the context of the NQF.
The final principle Mr. Samuels highlighted was the need for a provider of training against a learnership to be accredited to offer the relevant qualification.
"Based on these principles, a learnership should allow for RPL. The provider should make provision for RPL. If there are RPL candidates and the designated provider cannot provide RPL, the provider should partner with an RPL centre. If the RPL Centre is accredited to administer a qualification that is offered as a learnership, the RPL Centre could apply to be a provider of the learnership."
The Fundamental Components of Qualifications
In terms of the quality assurance of the fundamental components of qualifications, Dr. Deller pointed out that while some Setas award exemption for fundamental unit standards (languages and mathematics) upon proof of scholastic achievement, others do not and insist on either RPL or full training and re-assessment.
Mr. Samuels responded that in terms of the assessment of fundamentals the NQF is about access, mobility and progression to, within and between qualifications.
He pointed out that learners who have attained credits for languages and mathematics at a scholastic level should not be required to repeat an equivalent level of learning although application in a specific field may be required. He also confirmed that credits can be transferred to an equivalent level of learning - horizontal articulation.
"Based on these principles, it is possible to award exemption for the fundamentals in a qualification should the candidate meet all the requirements. In the case of a candidate not meeting some aspects required be the fundamentals, the provider could offer remedial training as part of the learning programme", he said. The letter from Mr. Samuels is available on the CIMAP website at CIMAP
Prepared and edited by Henriette van Twisk