NQF History and Objectives
The objectives of the NQF as outlined in the NQF Act No 67 of 2008 are to:
- Create a single integrated national framework for learning achievements
- Facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, education, training and career paths
- Enhance the quality of education and training
- Accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities
A brief history
The NQF traces its origins back to the labour movement of the early 1970s. From the early 1970s, black trade union demands for a living wage were repeatedly rejected by employers, on the grounds that workers were unskilled and therefore their demands were unjustified. This in turn led to black workers seeing training as a means to achieving their demands for better wages. The struggle to persuade employers to accede to worker demands continued into the 1980s and in 1989 the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), established a research group comprising workers and union officials, to formulate recommendations on training.
On the assumption that skills development would lead to better wages, an integrated proposal was formulated, based on a staged improvement in skills, linked to grading increments. The proposal stressed the need not only for basic education, without which workers would not be able to access the proposed system, but also for portability and national recognition of training so that workers would not be at the mercy of a single employer. The proposal was formally adopted by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in July 1991.