QCTO working on an opt-in model

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Summary: The QCTO will be the new quality council for trades and occupations. The QCTO is expected to be up and running by 2009.

The Department of Labour’s Elizabeth Thobejane was able to give delegates at the Qualifications Africa conference more information on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations or QCTO. The new quality council, which is expected to be up and running by 2009, allows professional bodies to participate in the QCTO, if you wish to.

The lengthy review process for the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) has finally culminated in a joint policy statement from the Ministers of Education and Labour. This outlines the proposed QCTO and the plans for workplace training delivery and assessment from 2009 onwards.

The original idea for a change to the workplace learning model included Trade, Occupations and Professions Quality Council. The complications with professions that are legally constituted lead to the professions being removed from the current proposals for the QCTO.

However this does not mean that the professions are not welcome. ""QCTO is an opt-in model,' explained Thobejane. "Those who see value from the QCTO will be able to join'.

The QCTO will also have a targeted approach. "Initially focus will be on certain occupations, particularly scarce skills,' added Thobejane.

The new initiative is trying to deal with what it sees as the disconnect between qualifications and occupations. Central to the new approach will be the proposal for an Occupational Learning System.

Experts involved in developing the qualifications and curriculum will be brought together in Committees of Expert Practice or CEPs. They will work on the qualification development and also link the appropriate curriculum to the programme.

A central focus of the work will be on ensuring "Occupational Competence’ - so someone with a certificate won’t only have a piece of paper but will be guaranteed to be able to put the theory into practice at the workplace.

Of particular significance to private training providers will be the proposed changes to provider accreditation. "We will be moving away from provider accreditation as we know it at the moment,' says Thobejane.

"We are moving from a quality control approach to one of quality assurance. More attention will now be placed on programme approval and workplace approval. "Will make the system simpler to work with,' was Thobejane’s tantalizing promise to delegates.

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