Legal compliance in practicing education and training



Marietta van Rooyen

At the eQuality Solutions seminar on Skills Development Compliance of 1 and 2 December 2005, it became clear that South Africa is approaching the crunch time in our education and training systems. This was evident from the number of court cases and arbitrations going on between learners and providers, learners and employers, providers and employers and Setas and employers or providers.

These cases formed the focus of the above seminar and it became clear that the complexity and ambiguity of the system is now taking its toll. So, if you are a practicing trainer or educator in South Africa, be aware - be very aware - of the consequences of your actions!

Reports on court cases and arbitrations in the education and training field is rife. Although the parties have been fairly successful in keeping the news out of the papers, we hear about these cases an a daily basis from those directly involved.

To name but a few examples:

Corruption and mismanagement cases involving staff and management of Setas,
where the staff simply cannot keep their finger out of the till, and do not manage their affairs in line with the PFMA requirements.

Providers suing Setas for loss of income due to mismanagement of administrative affairs and non-payment of invoices.

Setas suing providers because they do not deliver their contracts according to the requirements. (See Gerda?s article in the November issue of Cutting Edge)
Learners suing employers where they apply the assessment in an unfair manner to dismiss staff.

Assessors being sued because they did not ensure competence in a learner dealing
with life threatening and expensive equipment.

Assessors being sued because of unfair practices.
This is going to start a business boom in legal practices, as cases are highly complex and often very contentious.

In addition to knowing the legalities of their own field, trainers and educators now also need to know other acts and regulations, such as the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (3 of 200) (PAJA) and the Supply Chain Management Section of the Public Finance and Management Act (PFMA). One section of the PAJA applicable in this field (S.3) states that "An administrative action which materially and adversely affects the rights or legitimate interests of any person must be procedurally fair.'

Think about that next time you wait six months for your assessor registration to come through.

What we need to understand is that this is a serious business which may affect the lives and futures of others. Make sure that your practices are beyond reproach and that you can back your actions with policies, procedures and records that will stand up in court. This advice goes for both ETD practitioner and ETQAs.

According to the Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of the ETQA Audits (2003 to2004) just released by SAQA, the ETQA non-compliances were mostly in the area of quality management systems. This is quite and indictment on a quality assurance body.

Assessment College