The SAQA Process for Recording of Short Courses
Early in 2000, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) embarked on a process whereby short course providers were encouraged to record their short courses on a central electronic database at SAQA. This stemmed from the need to clarify the management and ultimate accreditation of short course providers and their programmes. Also, in the absence of appropriate unit standards, it was necessary to reassure providers and learners that a process was put in place to bring this area of provisioning into the new system in a coherent and systematic way.
However, it was made clear that the recording of short courses does not constitute or replace accreditation with the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance Body (ETQA), but that this is an interim process until the ETQAs are established and can deal with their constituent providers in a meaningful way. SAQA does not register or accredit courses - this is the responsibility of an ETQA. There are now 30 accredited ETQAs and short course providers who did not submit their courses for recording at SAQA, should approach the relevant ETQA directly. The contact details of some ETQAs are available here. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
It is for this reason that the short course recording process has come to an end on 30 November 2001. The contact details of the short course providers who did submit their courses to SAQA, will be sent to the relevant ETQAs, but it should be noted that it is still the responsibility of providers to embark on an accreditation process with the ETQA.
Therefore, the recording process was put into place with the following objectives in mind:
- To enable SAQA to establish an electronic record of short courses that are currently offered by education and training providers
- To establish a process whereby the standards associated with these courses can be brought into the SAQA standards setting process and regularized in order for the standards to ultimately be registered on the NQF
- To establish a process whereby the providers of these courses can be brought into the quality assurance processes by informing ETQAs about their constituent providers and by informing providers about the relevant ETQA that should be approached for accreditation
The information submitted by the short course providers provide the base material for Standards Generation Bodies (SGBs) to identify skills and knowledge that are desirable for the learner to know, regardless of which course is followed. SAQA will register the learning outcomes and its associated assessment criteria emanating from the standards generation process, as a unit standard on the NQF.
The process regarding existing courses in the market place is as follows:
On submission, courses of a similar nature are grouped together and fed into a SGB established and recognized by SAQA
The primary function of the SGB is to identify the learning outcomes and associated assessment criteria that are supported by these courses, and their relationships to qualifications
The common standard will then be submitted for registration on the NQF
Providers may access the standard and will be able to ensure that their courses support the requirements of the registered standard
ETQAs can accredit providers for provisioning against registered unit standards, bringing this area of provisioning into the quality assurance loop
The benefits to all stakeholders in the short course recording process are substantial. For providers: - the names of providers who have entered into this process can be verified on request by SAQA. However, this does not guarantee that students who are currently completing courses of such providers, will gain credits towards standards and qualifications that are registered on the NQF at a later date. It also does not guarantee the quality of provisioning at any of the providers.
For standard setting: - the NQF is being built through the setting of standards in a participatory and transparent manner. It establishes a process whereby each provider that is currently in operation, is able to contribute to the generation of standards and, in that way ensure that the skills and knowledge that are addressed in their own particular courses is brought into the standards generation process. In addition, it gives a clear picture of where the most urgent need for the development of standards currently lies, for example, over 1500 course were submitted in the generic management sub-field.
For ETQAs: - through the recording of their short courses, providers prove commitment to the development of quality education and training by means of participation in the quality assurance system of the ETQAs.
However, it must be emphasized that participation in the recording process does not mean that individual providers or courses of providers have been accredited by SAQA or ETQAs.
To conclude - the recording of short courses by SAQA on a central electronic database has come to an end. This points to fact that the system is increasingly becoming more accessible through the structures that have been put in place, i.e. Education and Training Quality Assurance Bodies (ETQAs) and Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs). Just as important to note is that the overwhelming response from short course providers points to a commitment to quality education and training. This bodes well for our emerging education and training system in South Africa.
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