Who – or what – is responsible if the NLRD is not accurate or complete? And does it really matter? Surely the training service providers who have trained and assessed the learners as competent, are required to upload the information on competent learners? At the ISETT Seta Roadshow in Cape Town last week, ETQA Senior Manager Charlton Piliso, noted the failure of training service providers to upload learner information to the Seta.
Skills-universe members have identified that the NLRD – the National Learner Records Database is not complete. But the NLRD requires human intervention to ensure that it is accurately updated.
To resolve the various problems related to quality management systems (QMS), ISETT Seta have now implemented an online process for accreditation of training service providers, and have embarked on an “update” project to capture past records.
One of the problems identified is the use of consultants to develop a QMS for the training service provider. At varying costs, the consultant develops a superb QMS, which is then submitted to the Seta and the training provider is accredited. However, once accredited, the training provider either does not understand – or ignores – the QMS.
In the online accreditation system, documents will be uploaded directly – avoiding misfiling or loss of hardcopy documents. In addition, the ISETT Seta will make generic QMS policy documents available on line: the training provider will be required to sign an undertaking that they understand the contents of the QMS documents and will comply with all requirements. Failure to do so will cause the training provider to lose their accreditation.
Will the new ISETT Seta system improve matters? Will other Setas follow suit and standardise their requirements? If training service providers are required to develop different QMSs for each Seta matters could become worse not better.
Will this improve NLRD accuracy? There are a number of steps in the uploading of information: training needs to be conducted by an accredited provider, who uploads the completed results to the Seta, who then in turn upload the information into the NLRD. However, the Seta can only track learners and follow up on results if the training provider registers the learners with the Seta at the start of the learning programme.
What is the purpose of the NLRD and how important is it to our world of skills development? The www.NQF.org.za site states that:
“the main purpose of the NLRD is to serve learners, both at educational organisations and in the workplace, by holding records of all their qualifications and unit standard achievements, thus enabling them to build on, and employers to verify, training achievements and results. As a result, the NLRD is one of the main pillars of the NQF.”
This seems to imply that everyone would be able to access the system directly, including: learners, employers, recruitment consultants, and so on. As an HR practitioner, it would be wonderful to be able to access and verify qualifications of employees and of applicants.
The NQF and NLRD are the responsibility of the SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority). On 1 November 2009, Minister Nzimande assumed responsibility for the new Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), which includes the qualification and quality councils: SAQA, the CHE (Council for Higher Education), and on the 23 February 2010 we are expecting the announcement of the QCTO (Quality Council for Trades and Occupations), which will also be responsible for promoting the objectives of the NQF. (Section 26H(e) Skills Development Act).
As the stated aim of the NLRD is to “serve learners”, and it does seem that a functioning NLRD would greatly enhance many HR processes, then this appears to be a further important area of “service delivery” that needs to be addressed – one more item to add to the new minister’s “area needing attention” list.
Prepared by sylvia hammond
16 February 2010