WHAT NOW: Evidence is lost 20

I have a situation where three students lost their portfolios of evidence.  It was assessed and the assessor kept record. When the portfolios had to be returned the one of the students informed us that her home burnt down and that all their portfolios were destroyed in the fire.  The second student’s abusive husband burnt her portfolios while she was at work.  A third student said that there was a burglary and her bag with her portfolios and books were stolen.

We told the students to provide us with a detailed explanation and an affidavit.  We have the record-keeping and attendance registers as proof that they have met the necessary criteria.

My question now is:  What is the policy regarding situations like this?  Can this learners be endorsed or will they have to redo the relevant unit standards?

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20 thoughts on “WHAT NOW: Evidence is lost

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    An example of ‘minimum evidence’ is that our students need to be able to plan & implement a music activity.  We let them plan it for different age groups and for a semester.  Keeping one example of how they’ve met the assessment criteria will ‘cut’ on the amount of paper.  I will also investigate the ePOE

  • Adeline Singh

    Hi Wilma

    Have you enquired about storage at the document warehouse, or a storage facility of some sort? maybe consider looking into an offsite facility if possible? keeping in mind the risks that could be associated with this.


    And when you refer to minimum evidence – I am wondering if there is such a thing?

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Thanks, Andeline.  Five years ago we (ECD learnerships) had a meeting because we do have challenges with the large number of students that we are training.  Our ‘problem’ is that we have so many files.  We can cut down on the number of assignments/ resources, etc. but we feel it will have a negative impact on the training of our students.  We focus a lot (maybe too much?) on application.  Most of our students are not exposed to an environment that meets the necessary criteria and we have found that through repetition and many application activities it ‘enforces’ good practice. 

    We will seriously have to look at only compiling the minimum evidence that will meet the criteria to be declared competent and then store only that evidence.

    I will contact the SETA but first wanted to hear the members’ reaction.

  • Adeline Singh

    Hi Wilma, I would like to respond to your last point. To the question of ” Is it realistic that the provider must keep all the evidence until verification takes place?” 

    I would believe that it is necessary to have all the information in order to be fully prepared for verification. I know from our SETA point of view, we expect training providers to keep the learner PoEs for a period of time, maybe refer to your SETAs policy as suggested by someone.

    Also instead of going back and forth – make an appointment with the ETQA manager at the SETA and get to the bottom of this issue. 

    As a former verifier at INSETA and now in the skills development position, I would consider the assessments of the training provider that has been done to date ( You are an accredited provider and by that virtue a trust relationship is built and entrusted in you to ensure that due process is followed and adhered to ) and request the provider to get an affidavit from the learner stating the reason for loss of PoE. The SETA should then have a committee meeting to make a judgement on the matter, but all this is dependent on your SETAs internal process.

    Goodluck with the matter.

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    What I find valuable about ‘situations’ like this is that it makes me think and look at the policies with a different eye.  PLUS, it is wonderful all the responses form the Skills’ members and discussions around the  topic.

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Denise, I agree that it is a realistic expectation but life happens.  We have been training for many, many years.  Last year one of my students phoned to ask me if she can now PLEASE throw away her files because she completed her training 9 years ago.  She was too afraid to throw it away without my permission because they had to sign a document that they will keep the PoE’s safe for five years after their qualification was endorsed. I had to laugh that although it was longer than 5 years, she still wanted permission to do so.

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Des, thanks for the comment. 

    This sentence is the one that I am questioning:  “Ensure that all the documentation, resources and personnel required for verification are in place and easily accessible to the verifiers (this means all POE’s must be available to the verifier so that he/she can conduct spot checks)” . A PoE is not a document or a resource.   There might be documents in the PoE but for me there is a huge difference betwee a PoE and a document.

    We do have all the portfolios when it is verification (but in this scenario 3 will now not be available).  Where does it state that ALL the PoE’s MUST be available.

  • Des Squire

    According to the ETDP SETA policy the Skills development providers shall:

    • Appoint an internal moderator to oversee and conduct the moderation;

    • Request verification from the ETDQA for a specified time; the requested time must be after the assessment and moderation has been completed (In your case this is the important section particularly if you are leaving the POE’s with the learners)

    • Ensure that all the documentation, resources and personnel required for verification are in place and easily accessible to the verifiers (this means all POE’s must be available to the verifier so that he/she can conduct spot checks) 

    • Generate the required reports, including assessment and moderation reports and reports of any complaints or irregularities and how these were addressed (all reports should of course be signed off by assessors, moderators. and learners where applicable)

    • Design and implement a record keeping system in compliance with ETDQA requirements;

    • Have procedures in place to inform learners of their achievements and up-date internal learner records;

    • Have systems in place to upload the endorsed learner achievements to the ETDP SETA; and

    • Ensure all relevant personnel understand and apply the ETDP SETA assessment, moderation and verification policies.

  • Denise Bonnelle

    Hi Wilma. I think it is a realistic expectation for learners to safeguard their evidence until they are certified. It is their responsibility as well as the responsibility of the Provider to ensure the safety and confidentiality of evidence inserted in portfolios. I am sure that the SETA would have conducted a Due Diligence or site visit prior to your accreditation and should have explained the policies of the SETA to you (your company). What does your company Policy and Procedure say about this challenge? Your best bet now would be to give ETDP SETA a call or a visit and explain what happened and ask for their advice and what their policy is wrt to this. 

    Just to be on the safe side. Being pro-active rather than re-active 🙂 Good luck to you. 🙂 

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Thank you for all the responses.  The challenge is that we have currently just under 1, 300 students.  In ECD they have many different PoE’s. 

    In this specific case we have about 230 students and will have to keep 230 files with evidence.  That is only for 3 unit standards of one group (divided into smaller groups)  that started last year July.  Space is really a challenge.

    We are looking at ePoE’s but at this stage it is still a bit of a challenge due to various reasons.  What we will seriously have to look at is to ‘cut down’ on the evidence that we submit for verification, which will lead to other challenges.

    My question is really about what the ETDP SETA’s policy states regarding this matter.  I have read different policies various times but don’t get specific information.  I need facts to make a case. What Steve said is so true – I need to have facts when I discuss this with the student. I know there are many Skills Universe members that are more knowledgeable than me when it comes to all the different policies and I was hoping somebody would be able to direct me in the ‘right’ direction.

    Our students do know it is their responsibility to safeguard the portfolios but is this a realistic expectation.  Is it realistic that the provider must keep all the evidence until verification takes place?

  • Megan Combe

    The ePoE we have does have a mobile capability where connectivity is an issue. Evidence can still be collected and then synchronised to the cloud based PoE when connectivity is available again.

  • Monwabisi Nkomentaba

    Hi Thokozani

    Your on-line idea is the best. However, we still have projects, and programs running in rural remote areas where there is no access to computers. Coupled with that we are now faced with Eskom’s inability to supply consistent electricity the learners will find a way of not saving their work. Papers are still going to be around for some time. As Steve suggests, I think we need to work around tightening our QMS as providers of these kinds of programs.I woulreally like to know the outcomes of this from the relevant SETA because currently I am shaking when I thnk about the project I have and what would be the case if this was to happen to me.


  • Denise Bonnelle

    I agree that portfolios should be in the possession of the Provider until final verification and certification has been completed – to avoid situations as such. However, as a Provider, we make it clear to all learners at the time of orientation that they are responsible for the safety of their portfolios if they are in their possession and we encourage them to keep a copy of the work they submit. This way if the portfolio is lost they have a copy as back up. This is to avoid a situation as such should that learner’s portfolios be called up for external moderation. I suggest you speak to the relevant SETA and let them know the situation and get their advice.

  • Steve Short

    Just one last comment, because it has been answered and no good shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.  I am wondering what would happen if the learners dig their heels in and say that they won’t re-do it?  They might have some sort of case against the provider.  After all, the process is fundamental and should be part of the providers QMS.  The learners could argue that they did their bit (and were found competent), so why hand this on them?  Just playing Devil’s advocate -you will have to deal VERY carefully with this.  Good luck!

  • Hannes Nel

    Ilana Smit is right – listen to her. Sorry for being so quiet these days. We registered a publishing company and are now, in addition to offering occupational courses, really busy writing academic books and managing two small companies.

  • Megan Combe

    This is a reality of traditional paper based PoE’s and one of the reasons electronic PoE’s are being encouraged. We have a ePoE system that has been approved of by a number of Seta’s and is robust enough to cope with both traditional PoE’s and for future use covering QCTO requirements. If you are interested, please pop me a mail on megan@knowledgepartners.co.za

  • Ilana Smit

    Agreed… portfolios can’t be returned to learners until after moderation, verification and endorsement. Some SETA’s even require that portfolios be held on site for 5 years. Your learners may have to redo their portfolios depending on the verification requirements of the SETA. You will have to contact your SETA and check with them.

  • Steve Short

    Bu**er but why would the assessor return the portfolios to the learners?  Once it has been submitted, they shouldn’t get it back until the FULL assessment and verification process has been completed and the SAQA certificate has been issued.  How do you validate authenticity if they get it back before the process has run its cycle?