SAQA, NQF & Sub-frameworks

Media Release – SAQA on why some learner records not on NLRD

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    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.

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    Des Squire

    Thank you for this information Sylvia. On the ball as usual.

    Ashley T Baartman

    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?


    Hi Ashley,
    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.

    Ashley T Baartman

    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?

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