n Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - Questions, queries, quibbles and quarrels : the SAQA experience : the last word

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-0069



The South African Qualifications Authority was promulgated by enabling legislation through the SAQA Act (59 of 1995). The mandate of SAQA is quite simply to establish and maintain the National Qualifications Framework or NQF. This is a structure derived after study and investigation of a number of similar systems internationally, especially in the USA, UK (more specifically Scotland), Australia and New Zealand. Note that all the countries used as exemplars are developed countries. The philosophy underlying this process emanates from the avowed intention to shift thinking from education for employment to education about employability - to be effected via the critical crossfield outcomes, thus OBE. The upside of the process has been that SAQA has laudable aims and objectives and is democratic with a strong emphasis on relevance. Some serious hiccups in the system have led to the setting-up of the NQF Study Team being appointed to scrutinise the activities and functionality of the NQF, and to ensure that the work of SAQA be . The SAQA structure as devised is not user-friendly to higher education institutions. The recommendation by the Study Team, that issues dealing with higher education should be transferred to the appropriate structures, is strongly supported. This would make it possible, for example, to have a more flexible and workable structure of qualifications and concomitant level descriptors.

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