What does the future hold for private learning providers? 11


How many private learning institutions closed their doors since the beginning of the year?

When last did you try to communicate with a quality assurance body? Did they reply to your written enquiries and did they answer your questions?

Where is the CEO of the QCTO?

Where do the TVET Colleges fit into the adult learning system? Do they resort under SETAs or their accrediting body, which is supposed to be Umalusi?

What about the NQF? Will it still be possible to design, develop, accredit and register occupational qualifications on NQF levels 5 and higher or will all such qualifications be transferred to the CHE?

What about the existing qualifications on NQF Levels 5 and higher? What will happen to the accreditation of private providers offering such qualifications?

What about the learners who enrolled for such qualifications, most of whom work for state departments?

What about the legacy qualifications, many of which have been integrated by state departments and some private industries into their appointment and promotion policies?

Will the facilitators, assessors, moderators, academic researchers, managers, etc. working for private learning providers offering occupational qualifications on NQF level 5 and higher lose their jobs?

What happened to the vision of establishing an integrated NQF where the portability of qualifications, standards and credits; the mobility of students and learners and the transferability of knowledge and skills between occupational and higher learning would be possible?

These are questions that we have been asking for months already. Nobody is willing to offer concrete answers – perhaps nobody knows. Rumours abound.

These are the issues that can lead to the end of private learning institutions.

We need answers now, which brings me to my last question – where is the APPETD?

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About Hannes Nel

CEO and owner of Mentornet (Pty) Ltd. Academic background: B. Mil.; BA Honnours; MBL; D. Com; D. Phil Published 10 books with two more in the pipeline.


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11 thoughts on “What does the future hold for private learning providers?

  • sylvia hammond

    Good morning Hannes,
    Lynel has given a comprehensive response to your questions, which I believe are all very relevant to focus attention on where we are with skills development – compared to where we wanted to be – and therefore what should be the way forward.

    One point you make is about the lack of answers to questions. I understand the frustration, that I also experience with the difficulty in contacting administrators, so I am not defending that administrative inefficiency, but reluctance to answer questions may well be influenced by the pre-election climate – who would win, how well, and then waiting for the new Ministerial appointments.

  • sylvia hammond

    Thank you Lynel for such a comprehensive response.

    One challenge that may have influenced private providers is the company compliance requirement for registration with DHET – that may have presented a challenge. I am not sure if anyone has information on that.

    In response to the last question on APPETD, I have been advised that the CEO Cynthia Reynders was not in that position for a period – a number of months as I understand – but is in fact now back in that position. So you can certainly make contact with her again.

    Then on APPETD and the QCTO, I understand that in addition to the APPETD board, there is a specific committee that is responsible for the APPETD QCTO liaison, which meets regularly to raise issues of private providers.

    Of course APPETD members are their priority, but they will include issues raised by non-members – as they are probably in the interests of everyone to raise and resolve.

    • Lynel Farrell

      You are most welcome Sylvia. It is no easy change, nor it is easy to follow all the different gazettes and amendments and additional requirements from various authorities. A lot of providers are frustrated. The DHET registration is a challenge with many questions and little support – it continuous being a challenge. Providers must not give in or give up.

    • Hannes Nel Post author

      Thank you, Sylvia, I noticed your and Lynel’s replies this morning already, but it was a busy day, so I did not read her comprehensive one in full yet. I will reply to her as well. Our challenges are not with the policies and procedures, or even legislation, but rather with what is discussed and said at informal forums and the workplace and how they provide (or don’t provide) support to their constituent providers.

  • Lynel Farrell

    Interesting questions, I would like to respond per question!

    How many private learning institutions closed their doors since the beginning of the year?

    This information could be obtained per SETA, or perhaps the CIPC. The reason for training providers closing, could be from struggling to survive, to financial problems, poor quality of training and/or perhaps getting to close to being caught with activities which is illegal (the list goes on).

    When last did you try to communicate with a quality assurance body? Did they reply to your written enquiries and did they answer your questions?

    Majority of Providers will advise that little communication is received, and some providers are lucky to have received communication within a number of days. Each SETA response time is different than the other.

    Where do the TVET Colleges fit into the adult learning system? Do they resort under SETAs or their accrediting body, which is supposed to be Umalusi?

    There are fifty registered and accredited public TVET Colleges in South Africa which operate on more than 264 campuses spread across the rural and urban areas of the country. Public TVET Colleges are established and operated under the authority of the Continuing Education and Training Act 16 of 2006 and resort under the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Public TVET Colleges are subsidised by the state. Each region has a DHET regional office that provides specialised professional support to the public TVET Colleges in provinces. Various Public TVET Colleges are also accredited under SETAs as well as QCTO (perhaps even CHE too).

    What about the NQF? Will it still be possible to design, develop, accredit and register occupational qualifications on NQF levels 5 and higher or will all such qualifications be transferred to the CHE?

    There are different NQF levels which fall under a specific Quality Council. The registered SAQA Qualifications for occupational qualifications, will clearly indicate under which Quality Council the qualification is falling. If the Quality Council is QCTO, then you will apply to the QCTO, and if the qualification falls under the CHE, you will apply to the CHE. Let’s look at an example of a qualification on NQF Level 6 – this qualification falls under the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework, so in other words under the QCTO.

    National Certificate: Occupationally Directed Education, Training and Development Practices
    SAQA QUAL ID 50331
    SAQA Title: NC: Occupationally Directed Education, Training and Development Practices
    ORIGINATOR
    SGB Occupationally-directed ETD Practitioners
    PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
    ETDP SETA – Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority OQSF – Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework
    QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
    National Higher Certificate Field 05 – Education, Training and Development Adult Learning
    ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
    Undefined 145 Level 6 Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L6 Regular-Unit Stds Based
    REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
    Reregistered SAQA 06120/18 2018-07-01 2023-06-30
    LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
    2024-06-30 2027-06-30

    What about the existing qualifications on NQF Levels 5 and higher? What will happen to the accreditation of private providers offering such qualifications?

    Providers that are currently accredited by a SETA to offer NQF Level 5 or perhaps 6, continue as per the SAQA registration status, and need to focus on the last date of enrolment as well as the last date of Achievement. In the meantime, the provider needs check the SAQA qualification status, should it be registered as an occupational qualification, the new qualification number will be recorded. There will be time to complete the legacy qualification for the learners that are already in the process. But new enrolments will need to be on the occupational qualification (thus the provider need to apply for accreditation for the occupational qualification with the QCTO). So the provider might be running the legacy qualification and start a new group on the occupational qualification parallel.

    What about the learners who enrolled for such qualifications, most of whom work for state departments?

    Whether the learner is employed by the state or by a private company/employer, the learner will be given the opportunity to complete their studies with the legacy qualification, as no learner will be disadvantaged. As long as the provider ensures that the learner is enrolled before the SAQA recorded: last date of enrolment. The learner may continue to finish the legacy qualification before the SAQA recorded: last date of achievement.

    What about the legacy qualifications, many of which have been integrated by state departments and some private industries into their appointment and promotion policies?

    Once you have achieved a legacy qualification, it cannot be taken away from the learner. The old legacy qualifications will be listed on the SAQA occupational qualification, as replacement qualifications.

    Will the facilitators, assessors, moderators, academic researchers, managers, etc. working for private learning providers offering occupational qualifications on NQF level 5 and higher lose their jobs?

    Facilitators, Assessors, Moderators, Researches, Managers working for private providers will not lose their employment merely because the provider moved over from legacy qualifications to occupational qualifications. Experience of these individuals are key, to ensure quality education within our sector. This is a difficult questions, as none of know the effect of the economy and whether the business will survive, when corporate employers start downsizing. We know that training budgets are the first to go out of the door, so our industry of private providers, remain a cut-throat business.

    What happened to the vision of establishing an integrated NQF where the portability of qualifications, standards and credits; the mobility of students and learners and the transferability of knowledge and skills between occupational and higher learning would be possible?

    We are already moving into the integrated NQF, and running a parallel system of both legacy qualifications as well as the occupational qualifications. Various occupational qualifications now indicate the shorter programmes within the qualification (we know it as skills programmes or short programmes). This is now being called: part-qualifications. There is still a lot of work to be done, to get our education system running smooth. How long will this take, I don’t know. Perhaps the next 10 years or more. Changing a system and continuously trying to improve it, is a challenge for sure. I believe that SAQA is also trying their best to close gaps by working with all Quality Councils as well as the DHET.

    These are questions that we have been asking for months already. Nobody is willing to offer concrete answers – perhaps nobody knows. Rumours abound.
    Some questions, are easier to answer than others. We are in a time, with many changes, where unfortunately implementation is done, before proper consultation as well as proper systems are in place before implementing anything. Luckily for majority of providers, we are used to getting some information, and try to follow each “change” and regulation as and when they are presented/published. This is the difference between providers that attempt to stay current (this is not an easy task) and providers that fall behind, because once they are accredited, they assume that the work is done, which clearly is not the truth. This is when the real work starts.

    There are many issues that can lead to the end of a private learning institution/training provider/ skills development provider/private college.

    Quality and compliance is costly. If you move with change, and you continue with quality learning programmes (approved), and stay current with all the changes, the provider will be fine. It is continuous hard work, and the administrative side doesn’t get any easier or less. We need to continue with our focus of educating others with the best of our abilities, follow our passion to make a difference in other’s lives, so that they can become more employable and perhaps the next successful entrepreneur.

    We need answers now, which brings me to my last question – where is the APPETD?

    I believe that APPETD is here, for members and non-members. Perhaps not always on skills universe. I would recommend that you communicate and engage with them, perhaps they have more answers, which providers are looking for.

    I cannot speak for or on behalf of professional bodies, but I am sure that those out there, will try to assist where they can!

    • Hannes Nel Post author

      Sjee, Lynel, you really can move. Thank you for the voluminous reply which I have not read in full yet. I will probably respond again tomorrow if necessary. I appreciate your great effort to clarify things. Anyway, I don’t think we (us, not you) should complain too much – it serves no purpose.

      • Lynel Farrell

        Hi Dr Nel, no problem at all. I trust that you will enjoy my response, I had some thinking to do! I will still appreciate your comments (no matter negative or positive). Yes, you are right, it doesn’t help complaining. We can only try to assist one another where we can (when we can). Enjoy the reading!!

  • sylvia hammond

    Dear Hannes,
    Thank you for your post. There are a number of questions here – so I plan to work through them one at a time – by verifying the information I give with documents or verbal confirmation.

    First response – on the NQF level qualifications and quality councils.
    CHE has responsibility for the tertiary qualifications NQF level 5 – 10. QCTO has responsibility for the occupational qualifications 1 – 8.

    Second, the policy decision has been taken to withdraw the delegated mandate from the old ETQAs, that is the QAP-AQP. So as was originally envisaged the responsibility will be returning to the QCTO. So I would suggest that if a SETA official informs you differently, to either of these points – please advise us exactly who that is.

    I will follow up with further responses.

      • sylvia hammond

        Thank you Hannes,
        I am very much a “where’s the evidence” person – and with SA skills development – there’s lots of statutory and policy evidence – but a serious lack of effective implementation. (And it seems an overload of rumours.)
        So I’m looking forward to having Minister Nzimande back – and the President clearly has education and skills on his priority list, and mentioned private sector working with government.