SAQA's Executive Officer shares SA NQF experience at conference in UAE
By Tumelo Modisane
"Early ambitious views of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) have been replaced by more modest views of NQFs as frameworks of communication that grow incrementally," says the Executive Officer of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Samuel Isaacs.
Mr Isaacs was speaking at the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Qualifications Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 5 and 6 April 2009 where he spoke about the experience of setting up the South African NQF and its evolution.
The conference was organised by the Qualifications Framework Project (QFP) - the official representative of the UAE in this field. It also served as the second GCC meeting of the Joint Group for developing GCC Qualifications Frameworks. The theme of the conference was 'Towards Internationally Recognized Qualifications Frameworks in the GCC Countries.'
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG) also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are working towards an integrated qualifications framework that would help to link the needs of the job market and the skills of the available workforce.
It would serve as a frame of reference for existing qualifications, a grounding for the design of new ones and a basis for comparison with foreign qualifications. It would cover vocational and school qualifications and help ensure workers are properly qualified for the jobs they are hired to do.
The conference was held against the backdrop of international developments on how qualifications are understood and interpreted. Added to this is the fact that many countries have already embarked on the process of defining their qualifications in terms of 'learning outcomes' and organising them in 'qualification frameworks'. Regional 'meta-frameworks' are being developed that enable qualifications to be interpreted and compared across international boundaries.
It is the above factors and the January 2009 international conference - 'Linking to a Globalised World' held by the European Training Foundation at the European Parliament in Brussels that formed the context of the GCC Qualifications Conference.
The conference gave decision-makers in the UAE and the other GCC member countries an opportunity to gain insight into the above-mentioned concepts and to consider the issues and challenges that may arise in introducing national qualifications frameworks, and developing a regional meta-framework for the GCC Countries.
Other speakers at the conference included Aileen Ponton CEO of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), Balakrishnan Vassu Director Quality Assurance Coordination Division at the Malaysian Qualifications Authority (MQA), and Claire Byrne Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications at the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI). Carlo Scatoli EQF Coordinator at the European Commission (EU) spoke about the experience of creating meta-frameworks of qualifications.
Click here to view the presentation given by Samuel Isaacs.
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