For discussion of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), National Qualifications framework (NQF) & quality council sub-frameworks: Higher Education (HEQC), General and Further Education – Genfet (Umalusi), and Trades and Occupations (QCTO), and matters concerning these structures.
Media Release – SAQA on why some learner records not on NLRD
19th Aug 2020 at 7:22 pm #75856
Longstanding members of skills-universe will know that earlier in the year – even before COVID-19, I submitted an application to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for my personal qualification record on the National Learner Records Database (NLRD).
After some interpersonal communication, I have now received my personal qualification record, which is correct for my 2 South African qualifications. It does not include my first undergraduate honours degree while in the UK.
I am not sure of the policy intention behind this, but SAQA will give you an equivalence for an international qualification, but do not record it on the NLRD.
So if you are applying for a job, and they want to know about your qualification, you can submit it to SAQA, and they will give you the equivalent level in our National Qualifications Framework (NQF) of that qualification.
After some persistence, I now have a very comprehensive Media Release from SAQA – thanks to Dirk and Wellington.
It explains the issues that SAQA have with the compilation and maintenance of the NLRD.
While I can fully understand those constraints, I would be very concerned if an employer refused to employ or promote someone because their record was not on the NLRD.
So I would suggest print out the attachment, and download the attachment and keep it with your qualification certificates – in case you are ever in that situation.
Finally, you can apply to SAQA for your NLRD record. Please don’t use the word “verify” when you do it. That is a different process where SAQA will “verify” whether a qualification is genuine.
So if you arrive at a potential employer with a qualification certificate that you have a Masters Degree in Sitting in the garden and counting all the birds, and so you are applying for an Accountant position, SAQA will be able to say whether that is a genuine qualification and at what level.
Please see attached – read and keep.
- This topic was modified 3 months ago by sylvia hammond.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.
20th Aug 2020 at 8:53 am #75858Des SquireParticipant
20th Aug 2020 at 9:25 am #75859
Thank you for the information Sylvia.
I have requested my personal qualification NLRD record as well.
Although I’ve received correspondence regarding my record for all qualifications and unit standards aligned Skills Program, I noted that the Trade Certificate and associated Nated Courses qualifications/achievements was not recorded.
This was completed and achieved post 1994. Nated courses completed at technical college and was a requirement before Trade Testing was attempted.
Back then the Building Industries Training Board, Building Federation of South Africa and Department of Manpower(now D.E.L) was the authorities responsible for Apprenticeships.
Who do we contact or what do I have to do to have this included on my NLRD?
Some of the courses that we have done at Trade School for example Scaffold Erection a module within the Skills Registers for Listed Trades are now seemingly not recognised by a Professional body (Institute for Working Heights).
Subsequent Scaffolder Inspector done at a Decentralised Trade Test Center is not recognised. Why the certificate was issued with an expiry date is beyond me. I cannot find any reference in the SANS 10085(Code of Practice) or other legislative prescripts any clauses or regulation stating as much(Expiry and re-certification).
Maybe some of our colleagues can advise or assist with the reasons for this?
20th Aug 2020 at 3:17 pm #75864
Thank you for your post. You have very successfully given us an idea of the complexity of this whole skills development exercise.
First to your question, I will see if I can obtain the contact details of an individual person to assist for qualifications not there.
I have come to understand the complexity of what is involved. There were the apartheid era records, which obviously weren’t digitised. I forget exactly how many branches of education there actually were – based upon the “racial” classification.
Then there are the records from 1994 – some not digitised. I remember going into Cape Town to the National Library, in the Gardens, near the Cathedral, to get a copy of the SAQA Act – 1995. We forget how much we have actually achieved in getting virtually everything that we do online.
Then from the skills development era this is the 1998 – 2008/9 DoL period, and those providers.
Then the 2008/9 NQF Act and creation of DHET and the 3 quality councils. Adding to the SETAs, replacing the ETQAs we have the QAPs. So we have the legacy qualifications & those providers, with the new QCTO qualifications & SDPs.
All are supposed to feed into the NLRD – the routes are a bit confusing to me.
Then as you point out, and I have recently come to appreciate how they fit in – there are the professional bodies and the industry bodies.
What a tangled web we have created.
I do see this as an exercise where we can all contribute to improving the quality of what we have on record. It is in our national interest, and it is our measure of what we have achieved.
After all – it is our record – it belongs to us – the people working on it are our public servants.
On the second part of your post – let’s see if one of the members can assist us.
20th Aug 2020 at 6:43 pm #75868
Thank you Sylvia,
I do feel that the gaps in the system is due to the lack of Institutional memory by these Public Servants. This is in no way an attack but rather a means of getting some sort of dialogue going on in order to remedy this
As you say and being a part of Skills Development community, I’m not sure if you can recall the power struggle between Department of Labour and the newly established SETA’s at the start of the century. Skills Development used to be a Department of Labour function.I do recall that the handover at the time was very acrimonious.
Maby that was where some of our records went to(the dustbin) and the reason why it was not digitised. Okay I am just speculating, but when you have spend more than 3 years of your life studying or working towards a qualification and it is not reflected as part of your achievements.
What do you do?
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Ashley T Baartman.
21st Aug 2020 at 9:29 am #75875
21st Aug 2020 at 4:15 pm #75880
Dear Providers: Please take note of the last sentence in this SAQA Immediate Release letter. The last sentence reads: “This will ensure that learners are not prejudiced when the NQF Amendment Act, No. 12 of 2019 comes into effect.”
Not sure if this is a pre-warning – please ensure that your house is in order.
22nd Aug 2020 at 8:13 am #75890
To respond to Lynel first – regarding the NQF Act – I think that maybe we should get it out, dust it off, and start a conversation on the implications – in light of this media release.
Ashley, I totally understand your frustration regarding learning – time – achievement – and …..
I once did a short course at UCT on Constitutional and Administrative Law. It’s the only time I ever received a Cum Laude. So when I saw that it was not on my UCT record, I queried it – to be told, no, we don’t keep records of short courses.
#$%^^&&^%$# Insert here – some good Western Cape swearwords.
I think we must go back and find all the original documents on the NLRD – What were the original intensions?
What were the original aims and objectives?
Who is ultimately responsible?
22nd Aug 2020 at 10:38 am #75891
Good Morning Sylvia
“I think we must go back and find all the original documents on the NLRD – What were the original intensions?”
I definitely will attempt this. I recall back then in 1994 our Principals of the Building Industries Training Board alluded to the fact, that on succcesful completion of our apprenticeship that our details will be entered unto the National Learners Registration Database(NLRD) for all the Listed Trades.
Back then already(1994) we were aware of the NLRD and its function.
The acknowledgement in their correspondence to the “gaps”, gives me hope that all is not lost. “Patience is a Virtue” and maby with time where the digitisation is ultimately concluded, we will have an accurate list of all Artisans in our country who have completed a Designated Trade Apprenticeship, Manpower Section 28 Apprenticeship as well as the current way of how Apprenticeships are done.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Ashley T Baartman.
23rd Aug 2020 at 12:07 pm #75898
I am writing this note to help to bring clarity to a simple matter that should have been clearly explained without causing unnecessary confusion.
The SAQA media release doesn’t deal with your main issue of why your overseas qualification is not part of your record of learning. Firstly it is important to make a distinction between a “qualifications record” (QR) and a record of learning (ROL).
The ROL is meant to include all your learning achievements which you legitimately obtained and would include national qualifications, part-qualifications (called unit standards in the old days), designations, etc. This means those qualifications, part-qualifications and designations that were registered on the NQF and your learning records uploaded to the NLRD from the accredited providers (via ETQAs in the old days and Quality Councils now) and recognised professional bodies.
SAQA provides an evaluation of foreign qualifications and advisory service. So, if you have obtained a qualification overseas SAQA would firstly check if it was a genuine qualification and secondly to allocate it a qualification level on the NQF – it also gives an indication of the comparable qualification on the NQF – This information is kept in a different database and not on the NLRD.
It is a SAQA decision to place your overseas qualification on your record of learning i.e. to take the information on NLRD and the information on the foreign evaluation database and put it together into one document (your record of learning). It is not dependent on any Quality Council or provider or with the yet to be implemented NQF Amendment Act 2019. SAQA has both your South African record of learning and well as your overseas record of learning. It is a matter of putting it together on one document. How this gets done is an internal decision and internal process.
Strategically speaking if SAQA does this simple exercise it will increase their value add to individual citizens and contribute to the economy of the nation as a whole.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Joe Samuels.
23rd Aug 2020 at 5:06 pm #75901
Thank you Joe – I really appreciate your clarification.
When I commenced this I simply – and it turns out naively – thought that I was asking – so that I could clarify the procedure for others to follow.
I know it seems obvious – now that you explain, but I have not until now, understood the difference between:
* a Record of Learning (RoL), and
* a Qualifications Record (QR), or
indeed the implications of those two entirely different records.
I also did not know that SAQA can record a foreign qualification. I would really like mine to be recorded because I am particularly proud of it.
It is a BA (Hons) Social Studies from Liverpool Polytechnic, and the graduation was in the Liverpool Cathedral. There are two Cathedrals in Liverpool, one at each end of Hope Street – one Catholic and one Protestant. (You would need some history on the UK to really understand the significance of that, but Liverpool was heavily bombed during the 2nd World War as it was a significant port, and had to be rebuilt.)
Anyway, the Poly does not exist any more, as they turned it into the John Moores University. He was a lottery magnate and has/had a large department store, whereas the Poly was widely known as an institution, attended by many working class mature students. As a Poly, I recall the programme was accredited (not sure if that is the right word) by the Lancaster University, UK.
So my question is – can I ask for my international qualification to be added to my qualifications record?
And then, I also should have some credits from the Open University in the UK. Now that brings in something else relevant to us – on the basis of the credits I have from the Open University I obtained an exclusion from the first year – via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Joe, you have sent me down memory lane – thank you.
5th Sep 2020 at 7:43 am #76058
23rd Aug 2020 at 6:34 pm #75902
SAQA needs to do the evaluation of foreign qualification. Once this is done they keep a record or a database of that achievement. They give you a certificate of evaluation in hard copy and electronically. So, once this is done they could put both your national qualifications and your foreign qualifications on one document. They have not done this thus far. Therefore I said it could be done and in order to do this, they need will to take an internal decision.
In order for the foreign qualification to be recognised, it must meet all the requirements as stipulated in the Foreign Qualifications Policy Document.
23rd Aug 2020 at 7:20 pm #75903
Thanks Joe –
I have downloaded the document and will go through it.
SAQA did do it for me sometime in the 1990s I think. Before the digitisation days – but I must have hard copy filed somewhere. I will try to find what they sent me then.
I am going to start a separate discussion so that I can upload the SAQA Policy document I located, & also post the SAQA link for those interested in their Foreign Qualifications. I see that there are appeal docs as well.
Now I am being a pain – but did I understand you to say that the Professional designations should also form part of the record?
24th Aug 2020 at 8:24 am #75911
I read the comments with interest, and are very concerned about the SAQA data.
Firstly: Skills Development Providers that are Accredited and approved for various qualifications/unit standards/occupational qualifications which does not reflect/listed on the SAQA qualifications as Providers currently accredited to offer this qualification. (This is a major issue, and providers do not have access to communicate this with SAQA at all).
Secondly: If the provider is not listed as accredited against the SAQA Qualifications/Unit Standards/Occupational Qualifications – then how are the learners uploaded against the learning programmes and against the provider that are not listed?
Thirdly: My communication received from SAQA at the end of November 2019, clearly stated that “records for Public Higher Education on the NLRD go up to 2016, so if you have achieved anything further since then, these results will not yet be reflected”. So at the time that I requested my records the data was already 3 years behind? Unacceptable, I am sorry.
Lastly: SAQA stated in the same communication to me: “If you do not see achievements on the statement that you would have expected to find there, PLEASE DO NOT SEND THESE TO SAQA, as records of learning are not accepted from individuals”. Another gap in the system. What does the learner do, if the SDP closed down and they cannot sort it out with the SETA, in order to upload to SAQA? This disadvantage the learner, not acceptable. Surely SAQA can verify with the SETAs/QCTO?
So, in short, if the Provider does not upload to the SETA, and the SETA does not upload to SAQA – there is nothing that the learner can do. If the Provider uploads to SETA and the SETA does not upload to SAQA, again the Provider cannot communicate this to SAQA?
The question that I would like to ask: How does SAQA ensure that all SETA uploads are actually being done? How is this audited/verified/evaluated?
24th Aug 2020 at 11:01 am #75917
To answer the next instalment of your question. SAQA receives information about individual learners from the time they leave school, to going to TVET colleges, Higher Education, in workplaces, and professional bodies, etc. and it evaluates foreign qualifications. The record of learning of an individual should contain all the accredited and recognised learning. What I was saying is the concept of the record of learning as envisaged by the people who conceptualised the idea is that all these information pieces should be brought together in one place, including professional designations. SAQA at the moment is the only legal entity that have access to the various data sources that can present this comprehensive picture of the individual learner.
At the moment the record of learning is only used for some of the information that is stored on the NLRD like qualifications and part-qualifications.
The strategic next step would be to bring all the information pieces together in one comprehensive way that will add value to the individual and to the economy and society. We also have the technology available to pull information from various databases and various source of data in realtime and this can be done very cheaply. Lastly, I am also saying that from the legal responsibility, policy and implementation perspective, it is all in SAQA’s court and no-one else. The big question is whether the strategic focus, the policy will, technical will and know-how exist to make it a reality?
24th Aug 2020 at 11:30 am #75918
You are raising a very important question. From a risk perspective, this is the biggest risk that the learner record system is faced with which is that legitimate learner records don’t reach the NLRD.
SAQA is the custodian of the NQF and its records. They can bring this matter to the Quality Councils to ensure that learner record are loaded. You should remember that the QCTO is the quality council responsible and they delegated the function of quality assurance to SETAs and not the responsibility for quality assurance. If this fails they can bring this matter to the attention of the Minister to intervene.
Private providers should take this matter up and point out changes that can be made to the NQF Act so that it can be strengthened. At the moment that NQF Act is simply not strong enough in this area. The NQF Amendment Act of 2019 tried to strengthen SAQA’s hand but it has not been implemented and the consultative paper on changes to the NQF Act tried to roll back some of the measures that were put in place in the NQF Amendment Act of 2019 largely due to resistance from the Quality Councils.
The issue of the lag of two years in higher education from public institutions has to do with the CHE having contracted the DHET’s HEMIS database to collect data on their behalf. The reason why it takes such a long time is that the DHET must first audit the information that they receive from universities. Over the years this problem was mitigated by having the unaudited information available to check and also to go directly to the universities (the primary sources) to verify information with them. So, in reality, many of the issues raised here have been mitigated by SAQA.
It is unfortunate that SAQA did not clarify all this information in their media statements (x2) and correspondence to you. All the information that I share is available in public documents.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Joe Samuels.
24th Aug 2020 at 11:42 am #75921
Thank you Joe,
It is crucial for Accredited Providers to be listed on their approved scope of Qualifications/unit standards, occupational qualifications – this is a huge issue. When a provider declares to an Employer that they are accredited to offer a certain qualification, the Employer goes straight to the SAQA qualification to see whether the Provider is listed – it is not – and in turn, the SDP looses the contract and are seen as offering qualifications whereby SAQA have not listed them under that specific qualification. The learners do the same. I don’t think that SAQA fully comprehend how this affects Providers, Employers as well as learners.
Once the Provider is accredited or increases their scope of deliver, this is not always put through to SAQA from the SETAs – but the provider can only request this by the SETA – no assistance from SAQA whatsoever.
SAQA’s NLRD and database could be far better, if they put more measures in place to ensure accurate information is obtained, and to update this on a continuous basis. There is a gap between when the data is uploaded to the SETA and thereafter to SAQA.
24th Aug 2020 at 4:48 pm #75924
Hi Lynel & Joe,
I would like to take this last posts off into a new discussion – because the trail is now so long – readers will also become confused about what discussion point they are following.
Rather than ask you to re-post everything, I think I will work out how to put this into a new discussion –
& then you and others can continue on from there.
I am thinking – The role of providers & the NLRD discussion.
I hope this makes sense.
24th Aug 2020 at 9:25 pm #75927
25th Aug 2020 at 7:01 am #75928
The NQF Act gives the responsibility to the Quality Councils to collect and ensure that the information they receive is correct from providers – it is a condition of providers accreditation. The NQF Act does not give SAQA the right to collect information directly from learners. However, SAQA should hold the QCs accountable for ensuring that all accredited provider and learner information passed onto SAQA is correct.
To be fair the list of accredited providers on the SAQA website is by and large correct. There are different methods that are used to check this. For example, SAQA gives a letter to the DHET to confirm the registration status of qualifications that private providers offer. Providers submit evidence that is audited by reputable and registered auditors. When providers offer qualifications that are not on the accredited provider list SAQA would request letters of accreditation from the providers and would then go back to SETAs to ensure that their lists are updated on the NLRD.
In the end, it is really a matter for a capable and competent state (SAQA and the QCs) to properly manage this very important resource to the benefit of the nation. They should do everything in their power to ensure that the list of accredited providers is correct and trusted as correct.
25th Aug 2020 at 1:19 pm #75938
Thank you Joe, it is appreciated. I started running a poll to see how many providers have been accredited, whereby the do not appear under the SAQA Qualifications as a Provider currently Accredited to offer this qualification. So far, the provider that have been waiting the longest to be loaded is 6 years and still counting. If SAQA wants to get their data updated, they should perhaps consult with some providers, to fix the gap that exist between the SETAs, Councils and SAQA. There is a huge gap, and data is either not being submitted timeously or at all. This all starts to be one blaming the other, but no action is taken to sort it out. Wishing you were still with SAQA, as you would have taken this concern very seriously and acted immediately.
I would like to know, if you are able to comment: Who ensures that the data is correct and up to date? Providers are completely cut-off, with no input.
If we look at how DHET deals with data, it is as clear as daylight, that the departments need to understand the private sector, which they do not. They weren’t even aware that providers obtain accreditation for specific unit standards (and not always the full qualification, but in fact parts of a qualification) this is based on the skills needed specifically for employers. There are too many gaps, and the data is completely out, so this will impact the scares skills on high demand too.
This is an extremely important discussion, and it effects many SDPS nationwide. To make things worse, is that providers will normally keep quiet, if they complain, they get into trouble or any site visit scheduled will be a nightmare – this is reality of what providers deal with. Perhaps I am venting a bit here, but providers do not have a right to complain or voice their concerns without being ill treated or victimized.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.