QCTO vs SETAs – what progress if any?

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    Lynel Farrell

    Are we being fooled?  Reading about the progress of the QCTO makes one to believe that there is no progress at all.  I was looking up some of the qualifications and for one: Bank Worker Occupational Qualification as per the 2009/2010 BankSeta Annual report (page 27), it reads: “Bank Worker Curriculum and Qualification was completed and submitted to the QCTO for registration”.  The next step was to look at the status of this qualification: “development status: SLA signed, qualification being developed” seen today 11 June 2014 (QCTO website).  How long does one qualification take to develop, get approved by the QCTO and actually being implemented?  I smell chaos ………..

    Now, the license end date of all SETAs are 2016 (less than 24 months away).  The QCTO will never be ready to merge all SETAs into one by 2016 not to mention have all occupational qualifications approved.

    It is frustrating that providers must get ready for all new changes, but the changes that must be seen should be from the Quality Councils.  Some providers have accreditation end dates past the license end date of the SETAs already, I wonder what steps will be in place if the SETA’s license end date does not get re-issued?, and the providers keep training until the SAQA qualification that they are approved to train expires – again some of the SAQA qualifications go beyond the SETA license end date.  Who will be looking after the providers?  Maybe SAQA?

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    sylvia hammond

    Hi Lynel, thanks for posting this discussion.  My understanding from attending a meeting was that we have above 2000 qualifications – I haven’t checked my notes for the exact number – but it gives some order of magnitude of the challenge the QCTO faces.  Now I do also understand that many of these have never actually been used.

    I did also see a QCTO announcement that they were not accepting further applications until September this year.

    Just thinking about this realistically – I do wonder whether the QCTO has almost been set up to fail – a nightmare challenge to achieve without the resources to do it.  

    Also based on so many critical comments on this site about the ETQA functions in SETAs and the calibre, knowledge and experience of the incumbents, if those reports are even half accurate that also doesn’t help the QCTO functionality either.

    It would of course be enormously helpful if we had a regular publication from the QCTO telling us what they’ve done, what the problems are, and what they expect realistically to achieve by when.

    Maybe the person representing APPETD would be prepared to give us an update – given that we have helped APPETD significantly in the past – I will ask.  

    Lynel Farrell

    Hi Sylvia,

    Thank you so much. In my personal opinion, I do not believe that the QCTO will be ready by 2016. A complete recipe for disaster. Occupational Qualifications are benchmarked against current/old SAQA qualifications, it’s trying to make something new, by using the old. The impact on providers is huge, not to mention public and private FET colleges. I can see job losses in the near future, that is if the QCTO pulls it off. We need good news, and factual information to inform providers and everybody in the education field of what we need to do and by when – in good time. It will be highly appreciated if the APPETD can give us an update. I will keep my fingers crossed for a positive response from the APPETD!!


    I agree Lynel, the SAQA unit standards are so old that many of them are now irrelevant but we still have to comply with them in order to retain accreditation! In other words “teach the wrong thing” and learners give evidence of learning the wrong thing in their portfolios in order to comply with the assessment criteria. Just crazy!

    Hannes Nel

    I am afraid us private providers are being thrown to the wolves. It is unlikely that the QCTO system will ever function properly. To begin with, the South African community is not ready for the three-learning components approach to certification. If it is implemented we will probably find that the large majority of learners will never receive certificates. Secondly, the QCTO cannot possibly muster the capacity needed to conduct compliance and performance quality assurance. Thirdly, the poor people working for the QCTO are so overworked that they are giving up hope – at least this is my impression. Some of them try really hard, but they simply can’t – there are too few of them.

    SAQA? They are as besieged as private learning institutions. Their mandate is to maintain a database of registered and acquired qualifications (the NQF) and many people question if this is justification for such a large organisation. I believe they know this, which is why they conduct very good research (not really their job) and arrange annual conferences (also not their core business). They have well qualified and professional people on their staff, and they could easily do a much better job than the current QCTO as a quality assurance body. In my opinion they should be a national apex quality assurance body, not an occupational one.

    The body that should fend for our interests is the APPETD. Sadly they also fight for survival, with the result that they increasingly take on work that private learning institutions should do – a clear cut conflict of interests because now they are our competition.

    The SETAs? I don’t think so.

    In conclusion, us private learning institutions will have to fend for ourselves. We need to cooperate and bring it to the attention of the Minister that a catastrophe awaits occupational learning if somebody does not take proper charge. I wonder if he cares.

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One thought on “QCTO vs SETAs – what progress if any?

  • sylvia hammond

    Hi Alan, I agree with your comments about some management lack of performance management conversation skills.  It is a pity that tertiary qualifications generally and particularly in the technical areas, where management of large numbers of employees is probable, do not seem to contain any components of people management.  However, I find that there is also a lack of basic understanding and acceptance from many employees as well of exactly what are the required standards of behaviour in employment and that it is a contractual relationship with obligations of both parties. 

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