The essence of professional behaviour is that one mentors, shares and develops those following with aspirations to enter your profession - rather along the lines of Kennedy's famous: "ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country".
All those in the activities related to human resource management (which includes training and industrial relations) have long claimed "professional" status. But have the practitioners in reality lived up to the requirements of professional status?
So when the Minister of Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande urges the professional bodies, who have recently been granted that status with SAQA, "to help nurture young talent and assist the youth to gain skills in their particular professional areas", this should come as no surprise. In fact the Minister should not have to make the request explicit.
At a presentation in Boksburg today (29 January 2013), Minister Nzimande said: "I urge them to take this responsibility very seriously... to find ways to encourage their members to give opportunities to young people to learn on the job. I hope they will also take interns and learners in areas outside their particular professional disciplines, for example, interns or learner administrators, bookkeepers, IT specialists - all of whom are employed by various professional businesses."
The occasion was the launch of the Policy and Criteria for the Recognition of Professional Bodies and Registration of Professional Designation on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). 40 professional bodies are in the first group to be recognised in terms of the NQF Act of 2008.
The Policy and Criteria for the Recognition of Professional Bodies and the Registration of Professional Designations has been developed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as part of its mandate to further develop and implement the NQF.
In terms of Section 13 (1) (i) of the NQF, Act 67 of 2008, SAQA is required to:
- develop and implement policy and criteria for recognising a professional body and registering a professional designation for the purposes of this Act, after consultations with statutory and non-statutory bodies of expert practitioners in occupational fields, and;
- recognise a professional body and register its professional registration designation if the criteria contemplated have been met.
Congratulating the 40 professional bodies, Nzimande said he hoped that their recognition would contribute to strengthening social responsiveness and accountability within professions and promote the constant improvement of the professional work of their members.
"Professional bodies are key role players in the development and implementation of the education and training system, and of career paths in particular professions. The registration of professional bodies should help eliminate any confusion with regard to recognised professional bodies and bogus professional bodies or expert groups," Nzimande said.
SAQA CEO Joe Samuels said the NQF sought to accelerate the redress of the past unfair discrimination in education training and employment opportunities. "Redress is a key imperative in the South African legislation, policy and regulatory environment and the NQF is no exception".
Samuels explained: "It is critical that perceptions of exclusionary practices be addressed up front and that professions do not apply unjust policies and practices with regards to who gains access to a profession. It is also important that there is a common understanding and approach to these and other issues that facilitate the transformation of education and training within this sector".
News report by SAnews.gov.za with discussion introduction by skills-universe.com