Seta accreditation policy implementation leaves providers with significant risks.

Accreditation policy of the seta places providers at risk… Why should this be allowed to still perpetuate?

This is a response of my immense frustration in trying to understand the diverse implementation of the private provider accreditation policy of the seta’s. I speak specifically on learning programme accreditation. Some seta’s require that the provider submit all their learning materials (learner guide, facilitator guide and assessment guides). Is this really necessary?

This requirement poses an enormous risk to the provider. The particular ETQA (still using old vocab) offers no legal security that offers protection on the intellectual property. I have had an opportunity to address the matter at board level with one seta, and the implementation was amended, thankfully.

I currently work with 2 seta’s who require all materials. I cannot understand the purpose. I believe mechanisms should be put in place to evaluation on provider site or ask the provider to produce the material and evaluate it in his/her presence. This maintains and protects the integrity of the system.

I had seen over the years instances where provider material was taken and sold or given to friends. This is a reality and it happens. We all know this, yet the system still perpetuates.

This implies therefore, that as a stakeholder, our opinion matters little?
I have often heard the reason that some “weak providers” have inadequate materials hence the request. Surely a weak provider will manifest in all areas not just learning materials?

I fully support the evaluation of the material but do it without exposing the provider to the associated risks.

Some seta’s have a matrix which require exact page number of your material. This I think is a good alternative. The evaluator will “check it out” on site as per the application.

I do believe we need to more respect. In many instances private providers (key stakeholders) are not even consulted in any change of implementation.

I stress, we want quality training and the integrity of the system maintained so this is not about short-circuiting the process. Its about protecting the rights of the provider.

My purpose is to see if there are other views on this matter. Maybe I am being too paranoid, if so let me see a good reason for the risks I am exposed to as a provider!!

Once we establish that this is an accepted problem, I will pose suggestions on how it can be addressed. We have had some discussions on this matter at the APPETD FET chamber.
Dr Tholsia Naidoo

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I agree with your comments completely - we have had our materials "distributed" in the past, and even found a training organisation which is not SETA accredited providing our course in Namibia. They did not even bother taking our name off the materials.

What I find extremely frustrating is:

1) The evaluators (who are usually ex ETQA employees), now working as consultants to the ETQA, and also writing materials for other companies which poses a serious risk.

2) Evaluators who know nothing about the subject, so although they may be able to ‘tick boxes’ this does not prove the materials are any good. I know of one case where a program was approved where the training materials were 20+ years out of date with current best practice.

I feel the process should be:

a) Request for evaluation made to SETA

b) A selection of evaluators are offered to the provider who choses who they want to do the work. CV’s of evaluators should be provided to prove subject matter expertise.

c) Evaluation is done on site

I once tried to get SETA onsite verifiers to sign a non disclosure and confidentiality agreement, but they refused – says it all.

Very good point Andrew Friedemann. Now that you mention it, I heard of several ETQA managers who left and now offer their services as either External Verifiers or Developers. This is a major concern!

I think each of us look for opportunities that offer better reward and i have no problem with that. What i have a problem with is the conflict of interest.The fact that there are no forums for providers to engage with the policy issues of the seta's is inherently the problem. As providers we tend to fight our battles individually, with little success. 

If we could influence policy or perhaps implementation strategies, a lot of these issues could be averted.

We also have the committees within APPETD that could take these matters up as a collective?

Some good thinking is needed, if we can offer better solutions to the ETQA perhaps we can influence some short term change.

In support of all of the comments thus far, I definitely believe that the expertise of the evaluator is just as much a factor in the evaluation process and should be transparent. I also believe that the quality of developed material lies more in the understanding of the rationale and the approach of the developer and development than in ticking off the presence of standard docs and info. I have often wanted the opportunity to do a half an hour presentation to the relevant evaluator/s in which I get the opportunity to orientate them as to all of the relevant issues that will enable them to judge if the programme material is appropriate for what it is intended for.

If I know that I need to provide them with all the documents showing the alignment, strategy etc., I can present this in a portfolio for evaluation of the standard procedure requirements, but them at least I know that they will understand the approach and evaluate with more objectivity. Will that not solve a lot of other issues as well? Such as time - I can go away understanding exactly what is still needed and on my presentation the approval can proceed.

Hi Tholsia. I think it is evident that many in this industry feel the same about this issue, the only one who will have a problem will be those who stand to gain from the misbehaviour. In our company we have a practice to evaluate all external training providers before we engage in any training with them. The purpose of this is to eradicate training providers who abuse the learning material developed by others and have no regard for the ownership or the copyright protection on such material. We as the customer have the right to ensure that the training provider we intend partnering with is a credible institution, this does not mean that some still slip through the cracks. We have encountered a few providers who were a bit resistant to being evaluated and that was seen as warning signs. I can honestly say that all of the providers who we have evaluated were very accomodating and provided us with all the required documentation for the evaluation, this speaks of someone who has nothing to hide. During this evaluation we also look at their learning material for authenticity and ownership. If the learning material was not developed by the provider self they were always able to present a proof of purchase for such material. I am of the view that not only us as customers but also other providers should encourage the evaluation of training providers, this may contribute in a small way to the protection of well developed learning material. another issue to bear in mind is that no training provider is above evaluation regardless of how big an institution it is with a national footprint or not.

Would that all users could be so conscientious. However, in my view a provider who simply buys and presents material in its purchased form is no provider at all - that material needs to have value added to it for the provider to be considered, no?

Hi Cobus. trust you are well. Agreed.The customer has a right to demand the level of service and quality he sees fit!!!

Hi All, i agree with some of your comments, but lets not paint all SETA "ETQA" with the same brush. Feel free to name the culprits. 

I say this because i am in the ETQA dept of FP&M SETA, however our accreditation policy is clear that training material MUST not be submitted with application (during desktop evaluation)

this aspect of the auditing process is evaluated at the provider site. I am very strict on this matter with my staff or consultants. if you experience this issue with our ETQA, then you are most welcome to contact me directly and report the infraction.

Dear Lenny. You certainly have my respect. Thank you.

Hoping we can influence some change on those seta ETQA's where this happens. God bless

I have read your article and the responses with much interest. My concern is while the attempt to maintain standards is a noble one and based on good intentions, until we have a body (both National, as many countries do) which can carry out its duties effectively, without Government interference and incompetence, I do sometimes wonder what I am doing in this field. If we must have the ETQUAs  in the major fields of industry then all parts of that whole must be totally and equally free of corruption and incompetence and command our respect. How can clients and service providers maintain standards in the midst of what has (in Plain English) become such a complete mess?

Sandy Emslie (Langahead English Educational Services)

This may be the subject of a fresh discussion, but it has much relevance here and anyway I dont know how to initiate new discussion blogs.

Last night I attended the launch of Regenesys Business School's  "Free Eductaion for All" project, a very prestigious event addressed by guest speakers Bertie Lubner, Mark Lamberti and Clem Sunter (who by the way is raising some very serious flags at the moment).

The project is sponsored by the DTi,

Human Resources Development Council

Pearson publishers (who make all the prescribed reference books available online)

Sunday Times and

Internet Solutions.

The courses offered (various qualifications in business management) are all fully accredited.

How it works is this:

As soon as you sign on to any course you have access to ALL the reference material for that course: study guides, podcasts, videos, blog "hangouts" and online access to tutors for FREE. In other words, you have free access to the same reference material and tutoring as any other student.

You may study this material.

When however you need to be assessed for the qualification, this is when you must pay.

You do however have free online access to a wealth of Intelectual property in the format required to study for the qualification as well as access to mentors and other students.

I have said for a long that, from a provider's point of view, reference material has limited or no value as such.

Regenesys must have been listening to me.

What do other providers think of this development?


HI Charles


I would be interested to hear what flags Clem Sunter is raising.


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