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Background info on SAQA, NQF, SETA's

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The South African Qualification Authority

SAQA is a body of 21 members appointed by the Minister of Education.  The SAQA Act, of 1995, ensures the removal of unnecessary constraints to entry into and progress within the learning system and creates measures for quality control.

Click here to view a video that explains who SAQA is.

What are the SETA’s

Lecturer Broadcast: Click here to view an explanation of what the SETAs are.

Click here to access a list of the different SETAs.

What is the NQF?

Click here to view a video about the South African National Qualifications Framework.

The NQF:

  • Bring together the variety of qualifications already in existence.
  • Provide a structure onto which new qualifications can be added.
  • Ensure that all existing and new national qualifications meet quality requirements which have been defined as clearly as possible, and
  • Ensure international education and business networks and opportunities can be developed now and in the future.

The National Qualifications Framework is vital to South Africa’s future, by building and developing qualifications that are based on clearly defined national and international standards, wherever possible.

Click here to download a handout about the NQF structure.

Click here to download a handout of the NQF qualifications' structure.

Click here to download a handout that explains the credit values of national qualifications within the ambit of the NQF.

Lecturer Broadcast: Click here to view an explanation about NQF.

How do the NQF reach its standards?
  • By developing a system of education and training designed to let learners earn credits towards national qualifications from a range of learning and training providers, or even through recognition of learning that has taken place through practical experience.
  • Based on unit standards and qualifications that are registered by SAQA on the NQF.
  • Allow learners to be measured against a standard to earn credits rather than against each other.
  • The system recognises competence, no matter how or where it is gained; emphasis is on what a learner knows and can do (the outcome) rather than how long it takes to complete a programme of learning.
  • The importance is on achieving the standard.
  • In terms of the SAQA Act, certain bodies have been established to implement the NQF:
    • National Standards Bodies (NSB): Co-ordinate the development and registration of Unit Standards and qualifications.
    • Standards Generating Bodies (SGB): Generate qualifications and standards, Update and review standards; Recommend qualifications and standards to SAQA for registration; Recommend criteria for the registration of assessors and moderators or moderating bodies; Perform such other functions as may from time to time be delegated by SAQA; Consult with experts in the defined field concerning the accuracy and acceptability of the results such activities and subject such results to the scrutiny.
    • Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA): Propose Unit Standards and qualifications for registration and protect the integrity of the Standards and qualifications through quality assurance systems.

The NQF have a Set of Principles that require Qualifications to be:

Credible in South Africa and around the world.

Coherent in that they provide clear learning pathways.

Relevant in that they take into account changing knowledge, technology, and occupational structures.

Quality focused in terms of nationally agreed learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Flexible enough to be gained anywhere and at any age.

Accessible in providing appropriate entry points and multiple pathways to qualifications.

Portable in that they recognise the importance of generic and transferable skills.

Responsive to the rapidly changing needs and diversity of South African society.

Reflective of the needs of both learners and providers.

Progressive in that the learners can progress through the levels of the NQF.

Articulated so that learners' achievements are recognised across providers.

Effective and efficient in the use of resources.

Appropriate in that they are fit for purpose.

Lecturer Broadcast: Click here to view an explanation of NQF standards.