By celestemaximelackay, 30 July, 2015

If like me, you are passionate about skills development and have been operating in this environment for a significant amount of time, you will have experienced great frustration when dealing with material developers on whom you rely to deliver effective training interventions.

When you applied for accreditation as a private skills development provider (SDP) in South Africa, your ETQA seems to require you to jump through expensive fiery hoops before they would grant your their stamp of approval. You had to provide them with a water-tight QMS, prove capacity in terms of your facilitators, assessors, moderators - all who already have to be constituent to the same ETQA.

You must have documented your delivery and workplace sites and ensure that these meet set requirements in terms of 'fit-for-purpose' and health and safety requirements - certified. You have to have a LMS system that meets their requirements and purchase/lease office equipment and multimedia technology for use when you are eventually going to train. You must have secured learning materials in a format and layout that they are familiar with. You are expected to spend an excessive amount of money to ensure that your company meets all these requirements before you are allowed to trade and get a return on your significant investment. You would also have to wait for a significant period of time before your accreditation and pray that you don't have any remediation.

Given that your learning materials and assessment tools are your bread and butter, why is it that those 'material developers' are not quality assured in the same manner? Yes your assessors and moderators are SME's but they may not 'like' designing materials or may not possess sufficient computer skills to reformat your expensive learning materials into documents that fit your corporate identity. (Remember too that these materials have been sold to numerous other SDP's over the years. Contrary to popular belief, the fact that these materials have been sold so many time over does not mean that these are good. It is really because it is cheap. You may also have mistakenly believed their sales pitch when they claim that their materials are accredited.)

Am I alone in believing that - at the very most - the ETQA's must accredit QMS and material designers and developers with the same QA processes applied to SDP's. At the very least, they must make the quality assurance of these documents a service that is available - free of charge - through their regional offices where their clients (you the SDP) operate from. 

For 2 years now I have been lobbying the ETDP and Services SETA's and the SABPP with this idea without any success. With the QCTO structures set to take over from many SAQA structures, one would have assumed that the SETA top management would take a more proactive stance to ensure their longevity and usefulness. (Don't get me started on the expensive and complicated exercise that is the QCTO!)

The fact that TVET / FET colleges are given preferential treatment and resourced by government at the expense of private SDP's is detrimental to the growing SA'n economy, but these colleges are not nearly as stringently policed. I believe that it is in the best interests of SDP's to join me in calling on the ETQA's to at least put structures in place to ensure that the tools we use is the least of our concerns and worth the money spent.


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