By Frederick Philander
“In the eleven months since regulations setting up the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) were gazetted, the developments associated with it have been impressive,” according to the Chair of the NQA Council, Eckhart Mueller, after the recently-held Council meeting.
“Close to three 350 unit standards have been registered on the NQF, and a further 150 are in the final stages of quality assurance” reported Mueller after the meeting. Thirteen qualifications based on these standards have also been registered.
Unit standards represent the occupational standards that must be met by learners if they are to gain certification in the new qualification system. These standards are developed by sector experts and stakeholders and are then submitted to the NQF for registration.
The standards also become the benchmarks against which courses must be based if the courses are to be accredited by the NQA.
Standards have been registered for industry sectors such as Hospitality and Tourism, Bricklaying, Clothing Production, to mention but a few. The director, Franz Gertze, has reported to the Council that interest in the development of unit standards has been keeping the NQA busy.
“We are currently actively involved in developments being led by the PMU-NTA, Roads Authority, Office of the Prime Minister, NamPost, the insurance sector, and have had preliminary discussions with a number of other
sectors,” he reported.
According to the chairman of the council, some of the recent registrations have been significant.
“The Council is very pleased to have registered unit standards on HIV/AIDS awareness as these must be key elements in any education and training programmes in this country. Also, the recent registration of standards for assessors will greatly enhance the quality of assessment decisions,” Mueller asserted.
Gertze noted that NQF developments have not been confined to qualifications based on nationally-endorsed unit standards.
“The NQF allows both unit standard and non-unit standard-based qualifications to be registered. The regulations require qualifications to be clear on what competencies they cover. Unit standards are only one way of expressing these competencies. The NQA has been active in engaging with a number of providers, both public and private, to assist them in aligning their qualifications with the new system of NQF Levels and Credits,” he said.
The NQA is expecting to register a number of these qualifications before the end of this year.
“The NQF is keeping us very busy, but it is a labour that we are pleased to accept and undertake,” Gertze informed the council.