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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Yes learning material is an intellectual proprty normally SETA use the self assessment form and alignment matrix in some cases they will ask training providers to submit the learning material. Waht you need to do is to voice your concern and only submit hard copy never submit the soft copy. Alternatively you can make an appoint ment with the evaluator. The evaluator can look at your learning material in your presence and take it with you when he/she is done.

Hi Nkosinathi. Thank you. But you are aware of some seta's still doing this? Teta for example.

Wow, reading the responses from various entities is truly worthwhile.  I am currently preparing for my accreditation.  I havent a clue where to start and have done my fair bit of research and now know what is expected of me.

I am compiling my own training material that I have put together from my 16 years of experience and I am afraid of the very issue discussed here. 

Albeit Im only replying now, 2013, it is still a cause for concern to new do we combat this problem?

Are services "seta accreditation specialists" legitimate?  I wouldnt know, could someone advise me?

I am already outlaying alot of money to make sure that I reach my accreditation once and for all times and hopefully am successful, but the amount of items they require is somewhat mind boggling...

Any advice is most welcome...


Definitely. It took me over 12 months to get my programmes back a while ago after loads of fights. Now some SETA's even want to keep hard copies of your QMS policies.

Someone else also made a comment earlier about ETQA Managers who leave the SETA and then all open their own private companies. Guess they have enough resources to work from.

All I can suggest is to make sure that your "Copy Right", "Confidentiality Clauses" and "Report Abuse contact details" appear on all the material you submit. Also make sure that you get your original copies back after evaluation.

Years ago they made us sign "confidentiality agreements" but I see this is totally phased out now. You can also easily let them sign one before you hand it in. Its your programmes, your company policy and your right! They cannot refuse it.

Which procedure one needs to follow when he/she needs accreditation on a learning programme in  which SAQA does not have the unit standard. 

Evaluation and approval of training materials is a critical quality criterion for the accreditation of learning institutions. Secondly, a learning institution that develops or purchases professional learning materials has nothing to hide and should actually be proud to show their quality assurance body what they have. On the other hand, it does happen that training materials are stolen and used by those who are not entitled to do so. We at Mentornet have a huge problem with this. Fortunately most fly-by-nights are like learners who copy practical assignments from others – they always make give-away mistakes. Some four or five years ago our IT Manager started inserting an electronic “mark” in our materials which one cannot see even if you know it is there. It helps us trace the origin of stolen materials and we discovered that the problem is much bigger than we realised. We know who is selling our materials and are collecting additional information so that we can take legal steps against the perpetrator. We kept this silent until now but have progressed well enough to tell them – you can run but you cannot hide, it is too late. In closing, read what Cobus Cato wrote – this is the correct attitude for clients, and what Regenesys is doing is, if I understand it correctly, commendable. Dr Hannes Nel, MD Mentornet   

What is that SETAs want to do with learning material? None of them have any subject matter expertise (or the funds to pay subject matter experts) so what is it that they evaluate, exactly?

Most importantly, quality assurance bodies (not SETAs; they are not quality asurance bodies) need to ensure that learning institutions use professionally developed learning materials. Learning materials must meet certain criteria, for example the content of manuals must be fully aligned with the standard, be it a unit standard or curriculum. Secondly, learning materials must include assessment instruments that test the entire standard or at least a sufficient sample so that it will give valid evidence that the learners are competent. Thirdly, training materials must be sufficient to cover the required notional hours for the learning programme. Fourthly, the materials must be on a language level that is in line with the level of the standard and, therefore, the learners. Fifthly, the designers and developers of the materials must be sufficiently qualified to do educational research. We use an evaluation checklist with approximately eight main criteria divided into approximately ( I did not count them) fifty sub-criteria. Our Quality Assurance Manager (yours truly) evaluates training materials first before we submit it for accreditation. A concern to me is that, as I understand it, the QCTO will in future require of AQPs to develop training materials and not only assessment instruments. This is looking for serious trouble, because AQPs do not always have the capacity to do this. In my opinion developers of learning materials should be approved by the quality assurance body based on a proper quality audit before they can be allowed to develop training materials. Dr Hannes Nel, MD Mentornet   

In your opinion Hannes, would a course evaluator carrying out the functions as described above need to be both a qualified educator AND an expert in the course being evaluated?

I cannot see how anybody who is not familiar with a field of learning will be able to develop good quality learning materials. In addition, it would be really difficult for somebody who is not at least experienced, if not formally qualified in educational research and learning programme design and development, to develop learning materials. It goes even further -  our experience is that a good facilitator is not necessarily a good researcher and the other way around. There are some all-rounders, but even they prefer either the one or the other. JPN 

Thank you Hannes. I understand what qualififications a course DEVELOPER and FACILITATOR would need.

My question is - the person at the ETQA who EVALAUTES this material for accreditation - would they, in your opinion, need to have some subject matter expertise or would they only need to be qualified as trainers/ educators?

Very good question. I think you should rather ask what is the requirements for appointing or contracting an internal or external evaluator. I queried this a month ago with SAQA and they responded by saying a) the person should not be a training provider for good practices, b) don't have any conflict of interest and c) been screened by the SETA before appointment. There don't seem to be any "law" or "set policy" for this, so they can do what they want.


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