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What a difference a year made – and the difference is performance by the QCTO
15th Oct 2015 at 9:30 pm #28774
Report by sylvia hammond
On 14 October 2015 the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) presented their Annual Report 2014-2015 to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training (PPCHET). The difference from last year was startling and does deserve a “well done” to the QCTO.
Whereas last year virtually nothing appeared to have been achieved, this year there were clear targets and performance measurements presented. Not everything was achieved – some for good reasons, like you can’t upload to the NLRD if you haven’t any learners who have completed yet.
However, they had achieved a clean audit – and that is something to celebrate. But there were also examples of which they were proud –prioritised occupational qualifications developed and registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), that fulfil an identified need to benefit the South African economy – and aid employment.
The Chief Director: Occupational Qualifications Management Mtutuzeli Lata explained that the prioritised occupational qualifications target of 60 had not been met – 38 were achieved – but he did explain the learning gained in understanding the handover of occupational qualifications for registration to SAQA, and also the improvements instituted from the reception of requests for qualification development. There was a clear indication that improvements had been made to the system and an expectation of future improved performance.
The Chief Director: Occupational Quality Assurance Vijayen Naidoo reported that internal processing of Skills Development Providers (SDPs) was 10 days; accreditation of Assessment Centres 14 days. They have held 3 Assessment Quality Partner (AQP) Forums and 12 AQPs have been approved. (When a presenter explained the difference between an AQP and a QAP there was an audible “humpf” noise from one of the parliamentarian committee members.)
Then on the monitoring of compliance of 21 QAPs, (that is the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs)) against remediation plans; there was 95% achieved because one SETA had no need of remediation. The overhead slide states: “In addition to monitoring The QCTO is involved in ongoing resolution of SETA related issues re Accreditation of SDPs and Outstanding Certification.”
Lastly, the QCTO have developed a Health Promotion Officer qualification, with the Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA) and 900 learners are registered on the qualification being conducted at 12 regional training centres, one of which is private. Clearly, this stands to make a major contribution to community health.
Chief Director: Corporate Services Ms Madilonga-Khondowe presented the financial report, and the CEO summarised their improved strategic goal and target setting.
Now, a few paragraphs back skills-universe members could be heard breathing harder, and they will be glad to know that the parliamentarians ANC and DA had the questions ready because they had heard the SAQA presentation the day before. They complimented the QCTO on the major improvements BUT still had questions. Please stop reading, get water and take your medication before reading further.
Unfortunately, I did not attend the SAQA presentation but from the excellent SAQA PowerPoint slides (links at end) one can see the basis for one member’s question: are there really more than 13 000 training service providers? In reply it was explained by the QCTO chair Prof Peliwe Lolwana that these were the SETA accredited providers. Many are just individuals who don’t offer whole qualifications, they don’t have anything, they register their cc name with the SETA, they get money from learners and then they buy everything. Next year they don’t get learners and they just move off somewhere else. The name is still there but they are not active. The acting chair said “fly-by-nights”. Please listen to the audio of the meeting (link at end) to see whether I captured this correctly. SETA accredited training providers please respond.
The committee member then said: but why do I receive phone calls telling me people are waiting for 2 years for SETA accreditation? The answer seemed to indicate as explication that the training provider hadn’t provided all necessary documentation. Again providers may want to respond.
The QCTO electronic presentation is not available yet, but from the presentations, I formed the conclusion that the committee members don’t yet know enough about skills development and how it works to ask the truly probing questions. For example, a lack of comment on any delay in uploads to the NLRD – something that has been mentioned as a problem on the skills-universe.
There is also a lack of detail – and I formed an impression of a lack of ownership of the (SETA) QAPs – there was no follow up question asking what the “remediation” is – and when it will be complete.
There was also an apparent lack of responsibility for the SETA certification delays. The slide indicates that virtually all NAMB certification backlog is cleared. But then verbally Mr Naidoo indicated that they had found out about certification backlogs in the TETA, EWSETA, CETA, FP&MSETA. The follow-up question I so wanted to ask was: well if you discovered that, did you investigate the certifications delays in all the other SETAs – and what are they?
Fortunately, CEO Joyce Mashabela responded that all delays in certification need to be brought to the QCTO attention and they will resolve within 14 days – or provide a response in 14 days.
So in conclusion, it is very important that all training service providers listen to the audio and what was said. I am not sure that the expression “fly-by-night” as used, is clearly understood to indicate dishonest action and misrepresentation.
In terms of the South African Constitution one has a right to choose individual economic activity. If one decides to pass on via training or presentation one’s knowledge and experience – as long as there is no misrepresentation of registration or accreditation – we are all free to offer services to clients, which they feel will benefit their business and for which that they are prepared to pay.
To have such absolutely legitimate economic activity mislabelled as fraudulent, or casting aspersions on the integrity of the individual – I would suggest – provides a valid legal cause of action.
It is also cause for concern that the committee members are not receiving a sufficiently balanced view of the contribution being made quite honestly and legally by private providers. Not all business needs are fulfilled via a full occupational qualification. However, they are no less business critical.
Perhaps one or more of the professional bodies representing training providers should seek audience with the Higher Education Portfolio Committee to present the work of providers and their contribution to a functioning economy.
It is heartening to see that in the SAQA presentation slide 35 (bottom centre): “Publish Policy… Guidelines for Learning that does not Lead to a Qualification or Part-Qualification”.
Open note to CEO Joe Samuels – please prioritise that action – we are going to need it.
Finally, I would suggest that all training providers access the following links:
- for the QCTO audio initially (– the PPT presentation and report will follow)
- for the SAQA PPT presentation and audio (report to follow)
I look forward to skills-universe members’ comments.
16th Oct 2015 at 5:24 am #28804
Thank you Sylvia for your valuable report back. I had been wondering on the progress of the QCTO in registering and approving occupational qualifications.
My company falls into the space of being a private training provider that offers essential and valuable skills training to business (and government) which does not lead to qualifications on the NQF. We are MICT SETA accredited though and are looking to add on NQF aligned material where it complements what we do and adds value.
1. Is there a list of professional bodies that represent private training providers?
2. Is there anyone championing the cause of private training providers to government?
16th Oct 2015 at 5:53 am #28803
Hi Sylvia, this is absolutely AWESOME to hear – very well summarised, too. It was just the other week that I was bemoaning the QCTO’s lack of progression, so I am going to have to go back and rectify those statements 🙂
One of my REAL concerns, though, is that the QCTO is supposedly using the existing SETA verifiers. If that is the case, the verifiers really need to be screened, and thoroughly investigated if they have had any appeals lodged against them – or else they are just going to perpetuate the rot. (For example, we have experienced a shocking verifier, whom we threw off site, only to find that he then applied to another SETA, and was appointed to conduct another verification at our premises. Needless to say, he was given his marching orders on that occasion, too).
I would strongly suggest, that, now that the QCTO is getting on track, they invite a huge number of reputable public and private providers to a two day workshop, insist that all the verifiers that they intend to use are also invited, and we jointly thrash out and agree to the standards that are and are not acceptable. And the agreements need to be minuted and widely distributed.
That way, we may start off with an acceptable base of quality requirements, and not have to deal with these verifiers who make up their own rules, and apply them retrospectively (sometimes two years after the programme has closed out, because of the SETA’s tardiness in getting to the verification of the learning).
16th Oct 2015 at 6:57 am #28802
Thanks for this clear summary Sylvia. On the topic of honest and good quality private providers, I work with high level corporate trainers and coaches. They command extremely high rates and their training is top notch. Most of them do not become accredited because their training programmes cannot be squeezed into an existing unit standard and they would lose the heart of their programme if they attempted to do so. I have always been saddened by this, because the most innovative and cutting edge approaches to self and organisational development are then excluded from our formal education and training system. Many of these providers are registered with COMENSA. It would be wonderful if a more enabling pathway was opened up for them. I think it would have the effect of uplifting the quality of formal E+T.
16th Oct 2015 at 7:47 am #28801
Hi Louise – I agree. That’s why one often has to “draai ‘n os daarbinne” to not only customise the accredited learning, but to ensure that it addresses the real needs of the organisation (being careful not to violate the principle of validity, of course!). – Hence the high prices – When properly researched (which includes site visits of clients) and presented, development work is time consuming. “Goedkoop is duurkoop” comes to mind here.
Having said that, I was fortunate enough to spend time with the QCTO development committee (hosted by the ETDP SETA) as they developed the new ECD qualification. A lot of effort and wide consultation with experienced candidates in the field goes into the development of these qualifications, in order to ensure that the appropriate theoretical, practical and workplace learning outcomes are identified.
If all the development committees are chaired by the woman who chaired ours, (Her name was Kedibone) I do believe that we are in for a suite of fabulous learning opportunities for businesses.
16th Oct 2015 at 8:02 am #28800
Absolutely agree with you.
ECD: we do a lot of work in this sector and I am always impressed by the rich consultative process and integration of subject experts who are very committed in the field. The new ECD qualification is excellent – drawing on the best innovations internationally. I think it is also because there is a strong NGO presence in this sector, and subject experts have funding support to sit on the committees and engage meaningfully. The funders know the value. With small private providers in business, it is usually unsustainable financially to participate in this way.
16th Oct 2015 at 4:20 pm #28799
Was any clarity given around these points from a QCTO roadshow a year or so ago?
– All SETA registered training providers be automatically registered with the QCTO.
– A company cannot register as both a training provider and a QAP – these functions be handled by independent structures.
Also, has anyone successfully registered their training company with the QCTO?
16th Oct 2015 at 5:08 pm #28798
16th Oct 2015 at 5:15 pm #28797
There was no mention of automatic registration. The response from Prof. Lolwana was very dismissive.
Yes, there was mention that one cannot be both referee and player – by both providing and assessing – that is how I understood it.
Yes, there are a number of Skills Development Providers accredited – the listing by qualification type is on the QCTO site:
16th Oct 2015 at 5:27 pm #28796
Hi Louise and Irene,
Thanks for the discussion points on the development of qualifications. My understanding is that there is a clear model for development of full qualifications and the QCTO now has that working more efficiently.
However, my assessment is that there is a complete misunderstanding about how to handle what falls outside a full qualification – and particularly what business and the economy may need.
I find it interesting that one of the earliest skills development cases (there aren’t many) was about the Cape Town harbour. The men wanted to be trained in a full qualification, but the harbour employer indicated that they only wanted them to operate within the harbour and not go to sea, so the full qualification was not necessary. The employer won. There is a Constitutional right to education but not to training. There is no right to be trained.
So that is why I hope that SAQA pursues quickly the policies surrounding less than full qualifications – and how to recognise the trainers who offer the less than full qualifications so that they are not unjustifiably maligned.
17th Oct 2015 at 5:05 am #28795
Thank you Sylvia. I would also like to appreciate your untiring efforts to keep us thinking, inspired and in touch with new developments in education. I am very grateful for this forum which breaks the isolation of the independent trainer/ developer. I also appreciate your clear commitment to excellent quality education and training for all South Africans – and your daily work to make this a reality at every level.
17th Oct 2015 at 5:24 am #28794
Hear hear! – champion lady!
Talking about rights to be trained – we are experiencing an interesting development around the sense of entitlement that is emerging amongst people who want to embark on learnerships. We get many phone calls, (including whataps and “please call me’s”) from young people who call wanting us to put them onto one of our learnerships. When I explain the whole story about the structure of learnerships – workplace learning placements etc, and the fact that the learnerships are not free, there is like this sense of disbelief and amazement on the other end.
Unfortunately, this is what the grants and SETA projects is doing. But then I read in this morning paper that university students are expecting the same arrangement for them. They state that many other countries provide free education (Sylvia’s point about education being a Constitutional right, but not training is noted). The students are suggesting that citizens and companies should pay an education tax to support disadvantaged youth. Clearly they have not heard of the levy-grant system yet.
Which now makes me ask – considering its very nature, is a learnership “education” or “training” or both? And if so, which portion is/could be funded?
17th Oct 2015 at 12:04 pm #28793
Thank you Irene and Louise and especially for the kind words.
On the Constitutional rights there is an unqualified right of “everyone” to a basic education – including adults. (Note; not just citizens.) However, further education is qualified because it is to be made progressively available: ” …the State, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.” I believe that is what Minister Nzimande is trying to achieve.
However, at the meeting I attended there was also a presentation by NSFAS (still to write up) and you will note that they are major funders of some of the universities through fee payments. One of the members did raise the point that university funding has been declining causing fees to rise, but on the other hand NSFAS is impacted. So it is withdrawing with one hand and replacing with another.
So we need to define “basic” education, and what is the implications of AET without the “basic”. Then looking at the Learnership, my understanding is that the QCTO require foundational competence – surely that equates to “basic” education? On that logic then is there a Constitutional right at least to the foundational competence content of Learnerships?
17th Oct 2015 at 4:22 pm #28792
The documents are now available on the PMG site:
– the SAQA Annual Report and PPCHET meeting minutes, as well as
– the CHE Annual Report, presentation, and meeting minutes.
All available on the following link:
18th Oct 2015 at 4:38 pm #28791
Really good news and thank you for the post.
One does not want to flatter the QCTO unduly yet I am very supportive of the QCTO and have always enjoyed professional and productive interactions with this Council. In particular Mr Lata and his Team are serious about the work they do and are always open to listening to suggestions for improvement.
That notwithstanding, there are still many serious problems with the SETAs, regardless of what nomenclature is used to describe their function.
18th Oct 2015 at 10:07 pm #28790
19th Oct 2015 at 6:14 am #28789
Not sure if your reply was meant to satisfy both of Kerrin’s questions – herewith my penny’s worth.
I am sure everybody knows that SAQA is the registrar for professional bodies.
To date and as far as I know the APPETD is not a professional body and it is not registered with SAQA as a professional body.
At SAQA there are currently no STATUTORY bodies registered that represent Learning & Development Practitioners / Private Providers.
There are three NON-STATUTORY bodies registered with SAQA that represent Practitioners / Providers = ASDSA; COMENSA and SABPP.
Is there scope for more? I say YES.
19th Oct 2015 at 8:11 am #28788
19th Oct 2015 at 8:21 am #28787
19th Oct 2015 at 8:41 am #28786
An interesting and a valid question.
For me the question is not just ‘how active is the APPETD’ but also what constituencies they represent AND what value they add AND to whom they add value.
EXAMPLE – the APPETD has in-house expertise regarding NATED N4-N6 and in fact the organisation is an accreditation partner to the QCTO for NATED N4-N6.
As you can see I am leaving this open for the APPETD to participate in this discussion.
19th Oct 2015 at 2:34 pm #28785
Thank you Heidi for the feedback given. The APPETD as such is not an professional body, but we have registered a sister company (Non Profit) called Chartered Institute of Professional Practitioners and Trainers (http://www.cippt.org.za). The SAQA already conducted the site visit and the final steps of registration is near. Individuals may apply for membership as per the professional awards and subsequent designations on the website. CIPPT already has several members and ensures high standards of ethical and best practice principles are adhered to at all times.
20th Oct 2015 at 5:47 am #28784
21st Oct 2015 at 2:45 am #28783
21st Oct 2015 at 2:53 am #28782
The PMG minutes of the committee meeting has many gross mistakes in them – we are busy interacting with them to fix these mistakes. for example the person taking the minutes did not understand the difference between an unqualified audit and a clean audit and many other issues.
21st Oct 2015 at 3:05 am #28781
SAQA has already published for public comment a document called “Guidelines for Learning that does not lead to a Qualification or Part-qualification”. We are in the process of finalising this guideline document – projected date is early in the new year. These guidelines exclude learning that leads to any qualification or part-qualification, for example, there are part-qualifications that are 20 credits short and are registered on the NQF or any of the “old” unit standards that are still registered and not yet replaced.
21st Oct 2015 at 7:15 am #28780
21st Oct 2015 at 7:15 am #28779
21st Oct 2015 at 7:18 am #28778
21st Oct 2015 at 8:44 pm #28777
For Kerrin Badham, and others, the organisation you are looking for is the Association of Private Providers of Education, Training & Development (APPETD). We are represented upon the Boards or Councils of QCTO, SAQA & CHE and are therefore able to ensure that your views are known to those organizations and to give feedback on their progress.
John Scarrott – Nurse Education Committee of APPETD
22nd Oct 2015 at 5:08 am #28776
22nd Oct 2015 at 8:38 am #28775
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