Written by Hannes Nel, D. Com (HRM); D. Phil (LPC)
For nearly eight years already we have been wondering if this new kid on the block will make it or not. I had my reservations and am delighted to admit that I was wrong. The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations not only got their act together – in my opinion they are now setting the pace as far as quality assurance, qualifications design and development and management is concerned.
I just finished studying all the QCTO Policy documents. Without exception they are flexible, futuristic and well-articulated to some of the most advanced learning philosophies in the world, notable the Scandinavian systems which I know reasonably well (because of my own Doctoral studies).
The Policy on Delegation to Development Quality Partners (DQPs) and Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs) leaves no uncertainty about what the roles and responsibilities of these bodies are.
The Policy on the Accreditation of Assessment Centres meets all the requirements for valid, authentic and viable assessment of learner competence and knowledge. I am somewhat concerned if the AQPs will always be able to implement it, but this is more because of their possible lack of capacity rather than the requirements and structure of the Policy.
The Assessment Policy for Qualifications and Part-qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework (OQSF) links up well with the Policy on Delegation of Qualifications Assessment to AQPs. Setting standard procedures and requirements for the development of assessment instruments is necessary if consistency in the conduct of assessment is to be achieved. Everything would be fine if the AQPs abide by this policy.
The third policy on assessment is the Policy for the Approval of Results. A structured approach to management is always an effective one if, in a modernistic fashion, the authority is vested in one or more experts. I am of the opinion that the managers of the QCTO are doing a splendid job. They are approachable, respond rapidly to communications from clients and, most importantly, are willing to listen.
The fourth policy on assessment is the Policy for the Implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Of the three South African quality assurance bodies this is the only one that understands and follows a holistic approach to RPL that is sufficiently flexible to truly support lifelong learning, the CAT system, accepts qualifications and credits obtained through RPL as equal to formal learning and focuses on correcting injustices of the past.
The QCTO Language Policy is not only in line with the Constitution, but also flexible, democratic and perfectly articulated to the real workplace and educational needs of the country.
The QCTO even have a Fraud Prevention Policy, Procedures and Plan. Excellent.
In closing, I had some problems with the quality of the “General Principles and Minimum Requirements on E-assessment of Qualifications and Part-qualifications on the OQSF”, which I mentioned in an email to Mr Thomas Lata, Chief Director: Occupational Qualification Management. He replied the same day and referred me to Ms Langa-Mtintsilana (you may know her as Busi). Look how she responded: “I am excited to hear from you once more. Thank you for your comments on the e-assessment guidelines. I am very pleased that you have interrogated the guidelines…. Your comments are spot on and come at an opportune time when the document is scheduled for a review.”