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Feedback from APPETD: NQF stakeholder forum

2 March 2019 – Emperors Palace

 On a very short notice, APPETD was invited to a stakeholder forum on Saturday 2 March 2019 from 09h00 to 17h00.  The purpose of the forum was for key stakeholders to engage around the NQF environment and share their thoughts on how to address systemic challenges.

 

Seven stakeholders were invited to give feedback within the context of current legislation.  The seven stakeholders were each allowed 7 minutes of formal feedback.  Ms Cynthia Reynders, CEO off APPETD, attended on behalf of APPETD, Dr Wilma Guest-Mouton was invited by the APPETD board to do the formal 7-minute presentation.

 

SAQA hosted the event, and our Minister of Higher Education, Dr Naledi Pandor, was an actively involved participant.

 

The meeting was conducted in a good spirit and after the Minister and guests were welcomed, the Minister opened.  She expressed her appreciation to delegates who sacrificed their Saturday. Her focus was to listen to what stakeholders say about a framework that is 21 years old.  She said that they are striving for “elegant simplicity”.  She also referred to the complex mix of entities that must work together and she made the comment that even though the NQF is broadly accepted by South Africans a lot of people still do not understand it.  She said the NQF is still not as easy as it should be, and that the silos in the system creates obstacles.  Something is missing.  She said students cannot become the victims of our inability to collaborate with one another.  She urged us to work together in a collegial manner. Mobility needs to be secured, and articulation needs to happen.  As architects and custodians, we need to treat each other with respect and address the real issues. We need to see what we can do to simplify the NQF and what can we do to collaborate more and move forward.

The next presentation had the theme: “The NQF unplugged”. Mr Joe Samuels CEO of SAQA gave feedback on a research project and he shared a trends report of the NRLD.  The report was from 1995-2014.  He discussed learning pathways, and asked whether it is working?  An issue is that adults do not move from Occupational qualifications to Higher qualifications.  Dr Heidi Bolton then went through six questions from the Minister to SAQA (Presentations will be made available).  A suggestion was that bridging courses are needed.

 

Dr Shirley Lloyd and Mr Mathews Mokhele then gave feedback on the NQF Amendment bill that will deal with the issues of misrepresentation of qualifications and also fraudulent qualifications.

That took us to 11h00.

 

Ms Amanda Jitseng off DNA Economics then shared recommendations from the NQF Implementation Evaluation.  In a short background she said it was to look at systemic challenges, and to see what is working and what is not working.  Four questions were addressed, and the findings included the following positives:

  • Significant progress was made with the implementation of the act;
  • It is supported by a comprehensive policy framework and supported guidelines
  • There is good collaboration between SAQA and stakeholders
  • There is extensive progress in re-aligning older qualifications
  • There is considerable progress in updating and maintaining the NRLD.

Challenges included:

  • Lack of funding and other human resources

We rushed through this presentation and it will also be available .

In the stakeholder forum all representatives kept to their seven minutes and one representative did not pitch -the representative bodies were:

  • APPETD
  • USAf
  • SACPO
  • SAPHE
  • SATN
  • Professional bodies and
  • SETA -did not show

In the seven minutes allocated to us, we were able to look at the following positives:

  • Structured learning
  • Progression
  • The framework emphasises educational principle: “freedom within boundaries”
  • Use of level descriptors
  • International comparability
  • Standard setting and quality assurance

We said that we need to “create a competent empowered workforce” irrespective of the type of training, and we focussed on the how, not the what.  We could share the following remarks:

  • We need to “trust” one another, and respect private providers as well as public providers;
  • Do not take away what works e.g. life-skills
  • Do not take fundamentals out, English remains a second /third language in many regions
  • Know the stakeholders, listen, assess results, marry education and economy, assess performance and know the industry you work in;
  • Bridge the gaps b,e result orientated
  • Look at finance, put yourself in the shoes of the stakeholder, if you do not pay for services rendered
  • Do not fix if it is not broken e.g. legacy qualifications that work-why do you want to phase them out?
  • Do not be too academic look at implementation, and a Level 4 can do a Level 2 of fields differ e.g. success story in retail where all new employees have matric but enter on NQF 2 learnership to learn to understand the industry
  • Link legislative requirements : NQF, Skills Development, Skills Development levies, EE and BBBEE-Acts
  • Appreciate attendance certificates
  • Appreciate the value of FETs do not create a snobbish learning culture
  • Budget time for progression-keep learners for three years in the system if possible (young adults/disabled learners)
  • Look at the gaps in the NRLD, where learners sometimes enrol for more than one qualification at different institutes or where learners cannot enter if they haven’t exited yet
  • The comparison with our NQF and the framework of SADEK and other countries

 

What we wanted to say , but ran out of time:

  • Do not enforce, enhance
  • Look at matric, what happens with adults without a matric and how can they be accommodated in the system.

 

The afternoon session was four break-away groups and general feedback received includes:

  • More time for stakeholder planning and feedback