SADC prioritises movement of learners and workers

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Staff Reporter
Windhoek

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will formally launch the SADC Qualifications Framework on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. This is in an effort to re-commit to and make the movement of learners and workers across the region a reality.

The SADC Qualifications Framework (SADCQF) is a regional framework consisting of 10 levels. The levels are based on learning outcomes and as they increase, their level of complexity also increases. The SADCQF enables member states to reference their National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) or national education system – in countries where NQFs are still being developed – against the agreed-upon regional framework.

This means that SADC countries are able to benchmark their qualifications against the SADCQF. The purpose of the SADCQF is to enable easier movement of learners and workers across the SADC region and internationally.

It was first established in 2011 by the Ministers of Education in the SADC region. A Technical Committee on Certification and Accreditation (TCCA) was then established to make the SADCQF a reality. The TCCA is a group of experts from the 15 SADC member states and is supported by the SADC Secretariat.

The TCCA has since agreed on a way of implementing the SADCQF. “This includes the adoption of ten alignment criteria to ensure consistency in the way SADC member states align their NQFs or national education systems to the SADCQF,” said TCCA chairperson Joe Samuels.

Six SADC member states have agreed to pilot the alignment process and the outcome of this pilot phase will guide the roll-out of the alignment for the other nine SADC states.

“Regional alignment enables individuals to make comparisons of their learning and competence and also reduces unnecessary duplication of learning and effort when moving through SADC for study or work purposes,” added Samuels. Implementation of the SADCQF also includes Quality Assurance (QA) and Verification of Qualifications.

SADC has created a set of 16 regional QA guidelines that set QA standards at a regional level. Member States must align their quality assurance mechanisms with the regional guidelines. To facilitate the Verification of Qualifications in the region, member states decided to create a regional qualifications verification network known as the SADC Qualifications Verifications Network (SADCQVN), which is a tool for SADC Member States to verify qualifications used in the region.

The TCCA is scheduled to reconvene in Johannesburg from April 18 to 20, 2017 to review progress made towards implementing the SADCQF and to plot a way forward. At this occasion the SADCQF will be officially launched, marking the beginning of an era of co-operation and easier access for learners and workers across the region.

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