Seeking Help with Accreditation, Training materials, or Venue


QCTO clarification on status of training material

This topic contains 14 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  sylvia hammond 2 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #72040

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    Note: the message quoted below has subsequently been removed and replaced by a message on Non-violence against women.

    If you log in to the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) website
    QCTO.org.za,
    this is the notice that you will see – before you can access the QCTO website content – so regarded as critical information. Please take note.

    “Dear Stakeholders

    Please note that the QCTO does not endorse any learning material for use by Skills Development Providers. QCTO is not mandated to endorse any learning material as the learning standards are encapsulated in QCTO curriculum documents. The awarding of accreditation by the QCTO should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of any learning material and/or other activities that prospective SDPs might be associated with.

    Issued by QCTO Management”

    Please note further that any quality assurance functions undertaken by Sector Education Training Authorities (SETA)s are functions that have been delegated by the QCTO to the SETA.

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  • #72112

    Tass Schwab
    Participant

    I have seen this, and know about it. There are two concerns – the QCTO never indicated that they would not be Quality Assuring material initially (or have I missed something) and what does this mean:
    “Please note further that any quality assurance functions undertaken by Sector Education Training Authorities (SETA)s are functions that have been delegated by the QCTO to the SETA.” so when does the material get seen by them?

    What I have noticed is that there are a few developers on this band wagon now, and developing really poor material. Then they get annoyed when clients send the material back right away because it is so bad.

    I dont like this, it leaves the door too wide open for poor material.

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  • #72115

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    Hi Tass,
    Thank you for your post.
    I have three comments:
    first: a few days ago I posted in the Helpdesk a request for members to comment on the skills-universe – as I am in the process of reviewing how we should go forward, & what changes I should make.

    I only received two comments – one comment was from Kevin, who posted:
    “Personally I would like to see a more fool-proof vetting process of members. There are plenty unscrupulous characters on this platform who are masquerading as material developers yet they are just merchants clueless about what they are selling.”

    I responded that we are not a quality council, & so it is difficult for me to see what we can do about this.
    I do refuse many applications to skills-universe, international spam, people selling substances, or personal relationships, etc.
    I asked – should I just refuse anything to do with material developers?

    I have noted a reduction in the “material for sale” posts, after I engaged with a member on whether they were a subject matter expert in all the material they were advertising.

    So that is the first comment – what should skills-universe do about materials? As I understand, some/many of the sales are not by the developers themselves, but by sales people.

    Second – I am glad that you picked up the QCTO post – nobody else has commented.
    If I am correct, the SETAs in the past have included the material in the accreditation process. If I am correct, then to my mind,
    there is an inherent contradiction in the first statement of the QCTO – by which I understand their position – they do not endorse training material,
    and
    the words I posted below, which I understand as the legal position – indicating that the SETA quality assurance role is a role delegated from the QCTO.

    If that is correct, how can the SETAs be doing something different to the QCTO, when the function they have is delegated from the QCTO?
    The assumption then is, that the SETAs are assuming for themselves, an additional power/role – that is not part of the delegation from the QCTO?

    Third I do not know when this first became known that the QCTO does not endorse training material. I have only been aware of it fairly recently. But I have not been involved in the development process of the new QCTO qualification format.
    From the statement, it would appear that it was always the intention – that the learning standards are in the curriculum documents.
    I suspect that we may have a confusion/difference in the philosophy/theory of learning upon which the QCTO documents are developed.
    Do we have a statement somewhere of the QCTO stance?

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  • #72119

    Pieter Erasmus
    Participant

    Hi Sylvia/Tass

    Thank you so much for sharing your concerns with regard to the quality of material “endorsed” by the respective SETA’s. From my point of view, as a subject matter expert, the cirriculum document does not guarantee adherence to learning standards unless it is subjected to peer evaluation. I facilitated a national certificate course and the material supplied by the SETA did not conform to the required NQF level it was supposed to. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the material were never subjected to peer evaluation at all; the tragedy is that learners receive material in good faith. So, the bottom line is that the SETA’s probably rely on the prescriptions in a cirriculum document to “guarantee” quality and standards and therefore does not have a peer evaluation system in place. So, it is no great surprise that a “free for all” situation exists in lieu of the absence of a quality control mechanism or framework

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    • #72131

      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Pieter,
      I was looking at your response again, comparing with the response from Lynel – you say “material provided by the SETA”.
      So this material was actually provided by the SETA?

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  • #72120

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    Hi Pieter
    Thank you so much for your post. I really value your contribution as a subject matter expert, who can speak to the details of an actual implementation.

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  • #72122

    Lynel Farrell
    Participant

    A very important discussion. When applying for accreditation to the QCTO, one of the documents that needs to be included in the application file, is the matrix. It is very clear that the learning material should meet the requirements of the published QCTO Curriculum document (this is where the standard is).

    The rumour doing the rounds that the learning material is not evaluated is untrue. Learning material is evaluated on the site visit, whereby the matrix that was submitted to the QCTO is used on the site visit.

    How fantastic is this? Firstly, the provider’s learning material is not submitted to the QCTO, but evaluated on the site visit, on the provider’s premises (in front of the provider). This way, the learning material is secure.

    So many stories about provider learning material lost at a SETA, then the provider must submit the material on a memory stick or CD for evaluation – but what happens to these items? Learning material does get evaluated against the matrix document that the provider completed within the application. I would rather have this process done at my premises, than sending my hard work in electronic format to any organisation, as I am not guaranteed that my learning material is safe and secure.

    The fact that some individuals are selling “approved QCTO accreditation ready material” is a concern, as the QCTO does not approve of such material, nor did the QCTO give permission of their logo to be used by these individuals.

    Learning material has always been a huge issue – now there is a set standard that must be met – the published curriculum – this is the most important document that the provider needs to work with.

    Another important note on this Curriculum document, is that the provider is accountable for the learning material that must meet the requirements, otherwise the learner will be disadvantaged. So the matrix document will ensure that the standards are met, and this is evaluated on the site visit at the provider.

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  • #72130

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    Hi Lynel,
    Thank you for your response. I have edited it into paragraphs, so that it is easier to follow.

    If I understand, to summarise, the QCTO does evaluate the training material to be used at the SDP site – against the matrix. But the QCTO does not endorse any training material.

    So is there any reason why the SETAs should not be following the same process – especially noting your comment about the dangers in submitting material?

    Secondly, it does not provide a solution for the problem of people selling substandard material at a very cheap price. What is your opinion on that?

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    • #72133

      Lynel Farrell
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia,
      Yes, the learning material will be evaluated against the submitted matrix document, on the site visit. The QCTO Curriculum document is the standard, and therefor the provider needs to meet the requirements of the curriculum.

      The SETAs were established almost 2 decades ago, and had to build on their own evaluation process. And this is what they did. Each SETA will have different rules, regulations and stipulations. If we look back, we can see that there has never been a set standard on a curriculum or assessment specification document per qualification – this makes the occupational qualifications unique (because there are a set standard).

      In the beginning, there wasn’t any concern to submit learning material to the SETA at all, but as we know people change. Not all SETA staff is corrupt or unethical – we have some fantastic individuals working at each and every SETA. We are also aware of individuals being suspended and fired for things that they have done wrong. We also know that some SETAs are placed under administration, and there are reasons for this. If we had to start a discussion about what has gone wrong, we will also see that there have been providers involved – so this can of worms are huge.

      The SETAs will not follow the same process as the QCTO, because they do not have a national set standard curriculum per legacy qualification – this would be a disaster – as some qualifications fall under other SETAs. Clearly all the faults or problems experienced by SETAs were taken into account, when the QCTO started their processes and guidelines.

      Learning Material has always been a problem. If a provider obtains the learning material from the SETA, it wasn’t to the standard of the provider, as the material is generic. Also we know, that the learning material from the SETA is not reviewed and updated on an annual basis – so you are dealing with previously developed learning material, and it was up to the provider to improve and update the learning material.

      There are a couple of scenarios in cheap learning material:
      1. The individual obtained it free from the SETA, changed the format and added a bit of additional content, and starts selling it as “approved” and “accreditation ready” – the provider is not aware that the material can be obtained directly from the SETA at no cost. This is based on some legacy qualifications whereby the SETA have developed the learning material.

      2. IT and Web-Designers are contracted by providers, whereby the IT individual is given access to the provider’s server and back-up system, where all the learning material is stored. This gets downloaded, and sold at a cheap price to other providers. They merely take out the logo of the provider and some content. At times the IT individual will forget to change the properties of each document, and this is where the provider will pick up who the content writer was.

      3. An individual working for a provider, decides after a year or so they can make so much more if they go on their own. First thing they do, is download the learning material of the provider over a period of time, and once they have everything they resign. The provider is not aware of this, as they trusted the employee. The individual makes a couple of changes to the material, and starts selling it at a cheap price to start earning an income. The new providers coming into the industry buys this material, not knowing that it was actually stolen.

      4. Some Learning Material Designers have developed and designed many qualifications content over the years, and have changed it into generic packs (previously developed for a specific provider/organisation) and are competing with shenanigans whom have taken over the industry with stolen learning material. They now too start selling what they have at a cheaper price, as they have to try and stay in business.

      5. Businesses are selling learning material to providers, whereby the provider may not re-sell this material which they have purchased. Again, some providers are ethical and will use the purchased material taking into account the agreement of the purchase. But then you get the bogus providers that take the purchased material, make a couple of changes, sell it at half the price of what they bought it, and earn money which they did not work for.

      It is virtually impossible to stop individuals/businesses from selling learning material that is not their own. Only if the provider has the funds to take legal action, open a case against the individual/business and go to court. Majority of providers are small, and do not have the funds to take the legal route.

      Let’s get back to the QCTO – the QCTO does not endorse the learning material – in other words, the QCTO will not be held accountable of where or how the learning material was obtained. The provider needs to align the learning material against the curriculum, ensuring that their learning material meets the requirements of the QCTO Curriculum document. Here, the provider will notice the sub-standard learning material, and will need to amend, improve and even design more content of their learning material in order to have a standard set of learning material content.

      Some Learning material alignment will take far longer to “fix” by the provider, and this is where the providers will start understanding the difference between good learning material development and cheap learning material.

      The decision to have the provider align their learning material to the given curriculum document ensures that there are a set standard – we have been wanting this for many years.

      I don’t recommend that providers should support the “cheap” learning material being sold all over social networks, as this will just support those who have been unethical. It is important to know, who the learning material developer are before purchasing “stolen” learning material.

      I could write a book on what is going on in industry, how providers are being caught out, given sub-standard material (and the individuals disappear with their funds, never to be found again) – the fraudulent activities happening with learning material is far greater than what we think. It’s a mess!

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  • #72137

    sylvia hammond
    Keymaster

    Dear Lynel,
    Thank you. I really appreciate your comprehensive explanation of the history.

    What is very clear to me is that we have the structures in place for qualification development, and we have the structures in place for quality assurance. But we do not have any structures in place for the control of the material development industry.

    I have some ideas to suggest – please watch out for a new discussion.

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    • #72139

      Lynel Farrell
      Participant

      Hi Sylvia

      You are most welcome!

      Yes evaluation structures are in place for sure for qualification development as well as quality assurance! There has never been a proper structure in place for the learning material development industry, which in turn have made it very difficult for the learning material developers that design and develop quality learning material. We have previously discussed some agreement that the learning material developer can make use of to secure their work and possible remedial work thereafter, that the provider might need (pending evaluation of the material). You are right, there is NO control of this at the moment.

      Suggestions and Solutions are always welcome, and hopefully it could reach as many providers as possible, as they are the ones that are caught in the middle of all of this (but only realise it when it is too late).

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      • #72142

        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Hi Lynel,
        I have now worked out how I will approach this issue in future – it will take a few day to set up in full.

        The skills-universe strategy will be only to accept training material that has been approved by peer group or subject matter experts – or satisfied customer record.

        Those people will need to submit their approval to me & only those material developers will be able to offer training material.

        I already have one person, who has been reference and now starts my list.

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      • #72144

        sylvia hammond
        Keymaster

        Hi Lynel,
        I have now worked out how I will approach this issue in future – it will take a few day to set up in full.

        The skills-universe strategy will be only to accept training material that has been approved by peer group or subject matter experts – or satisfied customer record.

        Those people will need to submit their approval to me & only those material developers will be able to offer training material.

        I already have one person, who has been reference and now starts my list.

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  • #72143

    Tass Schwab
    Participant

    Thank you for your comments. Lynel I resonate with you “No. 4” we have had to drop prices but also dont want to step through the cheap door. I spend much of my time repairing material that is poor, and in fact am going to stop soon too, because the same providers that have gone cheap then expect an expert to charge cheap.

    The onus is still on the purchaser. What you pay for is what you will get. I’ve written articles on this before. If you are lazy about looking for quality and want to get away with buying cheap material then it’s really your own doing. Ask for samples, an SLA, ask around.

    But it’s a catch 22, I act as an agent for reputable development companies because quite simply I dont have all the material at hand. So I wouldn’t knock Sales people 😉

    Another worrying trend is people wanting to purchase Material for Training, but dont even know what a Unit Standard is or SAQA. I engaged with someone this week on a social platform who clearly has no idea, and thus also can be taken for a ride.

    I don’t know what the solution is, it’s a free market. But none the less when you go shopping for anything (shoes, cars, etc) you will want them to be quality and last, do the same with material.

    I really do however DEEPLY wish that the QCTO changes then policy, and let the SETA’s or a QCTO department pulled in from the various SETAS vet the Training Material as part of the Quality Process. Because I fear otherwise, the ones they are supposed to be serving, the Learners will be suffering. We already have a school system that is failing. Soon we might have FET going the same route.

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    • #72146

      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Tass
      On your last concern with the Basic Education – let us reserve judgement awaiting the new system that is proposed – it makes enormous sense to me & I really hope that it achieves support.
      A 3 tier system & acknowledgment of the future requirements:
      this is a long quote from the budget presentation – on 3 levels:
      “Chairperson, I am delighted to report that we have progressed quite well in the implementation of the Three-Stream Curriculum Model – namely academic, technical-vocational and technical-occupational streams. We are convinced that the roll-out of the three-stream curriculum model was definitely a step in the right direction, which resulted in the NSC Class of 2018 sitting for a cluster of three Technologies, namely Civil Technology, Mechanical Technology, and Electrical Technology. In addition, the Class of 2018 wrote new subjects, such as Technical Mathematics, and Technical Science.

      Research conducted by the University of Oxford, revealed that 45% of the current jobs, will disappear within the next 10 to 20 years; with many jobs becoming completely automated. UNESCO estimates are higher – that 65% of the current jobs will not exist in 15 to 20 years. Therefore, the need for the Basic Education Sector to refocus the curriculum towards a competence-based approach, integrating the 21st century skills and competencies across the subjects; and the introduction of new subjects and programmes that are responsive to the demands of the changing world, is inescapable.”

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