Emperors Palace – 2 March 2019

APPETD was invited by SAQA to partake in a stakeholder forum on Saturday 2 March 2019 of which   the purpose of the forum was for key stakeholders to engage around the NQF environment and share their thoughts on how to address systemic challenges identified in the NQF implementation. SAQA hosted the event, and our Minister of Higher Education, Naledi Pandor, was an actively involved participant. The meeting was conducted in a good spirit and the DG of the DHET: Mr Gweb Qonde introduced the Honourable Minister Naledi Pandor and welcomed guests including private providers. The Minister opened the stakeholder forum and she expressed her appreciation to delegates who sacrificed their Saturday to attend this important forum. Her focus was to listen to what stakeholders say about a framework that is 21 years old, yet research conducted reflect that the public still does not understand the NQF and associated terminology.

She said that they are striving for “elegant simplicity”.  She also referred to the complex mix of entities that must work together and she made the comment that even though the NQF is broadly accepted by South Africans a lot of people still do not understand it.  She said the NQF is still not as easy as it should be, and that the silos in the system creates obstacles.  Something is missing.  She said students cannot become the victims of our inability to collaborate with one another.  She urged us to work together in a collegial manner. Mobility needs to be secured, and articulation needs to happen.  As architects and custodians, we need to treat each other with respect and address the real issues. We need to see what we can do to simplify the NQF and what can we do to collaborate more and move forward.

The next presentation had the theme: “The NQF unplugged”. Mr Joe Samuels CEO of SAQA gave feedback on a research project and he shared a trend report of the NRLD.  The report was from 1995-2014.  He discussed learning pathways, and asked whether it is working?  An issue is that adults do not move from Occupational qualifications to Higher qualifications.  Dr Heidi Bolton then went through six questions from the Minister to SAQA (APPETD will forward this presentation once received).  A suggestion was that bridging courses are needed.

Seven stakeholders were invited to give feedback within the context of current legislation.  The seven stakeholders were each allowed 7 minutes of formal feedback.  Ms Cynthia Reynders, CEO APPETD, attended and participated in discussion on behalf of APPETD with Dr Wilma Guest-Mouton who did a formal 7-minute presentation on behalf of APPETD.
It is important to note that the representative for Seta’s was absent and APPETD raised the concern that Seta’s should be able to guide and advise providers adequately.

APPETD raised the uncertainty pertaining to legacy qualifications and in particular the N4 -N6 programmes that is being converted into occupational qualifications without giving thought to the applicability of these programmes to the target learners.

Dr Shirley Lloyd and Mr Mathews Mokhele then gave feedback on the NQF Amendment bill that will deal with the issues of misrepresentation of qualifications and fraudulent qualifications.

Ms Amanda Jitseng of DNA Economics shared recommendations from the NQF Implementation Evaluation.  In a short background she said it was to look at systemic challenges, and to see what is working and what is not working.  Four questions were addressed, and the findings included the following positives:

  • Significant progress was made with the implementation of the act;
  • It is supported by a comprehensive policy framework and supported guidelines;
  • There is good collaboration between SAQA and stakeholders;
  • There is extensive progress in re-aligning older qualifications;
  • There is considerable progress in updating and maintaining the NRLD.
  • Lack of funding and other human resources

Challenges included:In the stakeholder forum all representatives kept to their seven minutes, the stakeholder bodies were:

  • APPETD – Dr Wilma Guest Mouton
  • USAf – Hugh Amoore
  • SACPO – Mr SJ Mlotshwa
  • SAPHE – Dr Linda Meyer
  • SATN – Riaan Bouwer
  • Professional bodies – Lelane Bezuidenhout
  • SETA – Nombulelo Nxesi

In the seven minutes allocated to APPETD, we were able to look at the following positives:

  • Structured learning;
  • Progression;
  • The framework emphasises educational principle: “freedom within boundaries”;
  • Use of level descriptors;
  • International comparability;
  • Standard setting and quality assurance.

APPETD further indicated that we need to “create a competent empowered workforce” irrespective of the type of training, and we focussed on the how, not the what.  APPETD shared the following remarks:

  • We need to “trust” one another, and respect private providers as well as public providers;
  • Do not take away what works e.g. life-skills;
  • Do not take fundamentals out, English remains a second /third language in many regions;
  • Know the stakeholders, listen, assess results, marry education and economy, assess performance and know the industry you work in;
  • Bridge the gaps be result orientated;
  • Do not fix if it is not broken e.g. legacy qualifications that work-why do you want to phase them out?
  • Do not be too academic, look at implementation, and a Level 4 can do a Level 2 of fields differ e.g. success story in retail where all new employees have matric but enter on NQF 2 learnership to learn to understand the industry;
  • Link legislative requirements: NQF, Skills Development, Skills Development levies, EE and BBBEE-Acts;
  • Appreciate attendance certificates;
  • Appreciate the value of FETs do not create a snobbish learning culture;
  • Budget time for progression-keep learners for three years in the system if possible (young adults/disabled learners);
  • Look at the gaps in the NRLD, where learners sometimes enrol for more than one qualification at different institutes or where learners cannot enter if they haven’t exited yet;
  • The comparison with our NQF and the framework of SADEK and other countries.

The afternoon session was four break-away groups and general feedback received includes:

  • More time for stakeholder planning and feedback should be allowed by SAQA;
  • NQF have to many layers of complexity;
  • Insufficient funds to fully implement the NQF;
  • Improve performance & decisions making as well as accountability;
  • Stakeholders should be kept abreast of developments;
  • DHET should organise forums to allow for collaboration between private and public institutions to support the design of qualifications that can articulate from NQF Level 4 to Level 5;
  • Clarify the objectives of the NQF clearly after 21 years these are still not understood;
  • Integration to allow for access, mobility and articulation;

The Honourable Minster Pandor closed the meeting expressing her hope that the NQF can become the best globally structured framework and will address the needs of learners to equip them with the relevant qualifications ensuring an internationally competitive workforce.

Please refer to the APPETD website www.appetd.org.za – Knowledge Portal – SAQA for the presentations.

Should you have any queries of comments for APPETD, please do not hesitate to contact us on helpdesk@appetd.org.za

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