Why some learner achievement records are not on the NLRD and what SAQA has done about it
19 August 2020
Maintained by SAQA, the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD), which was implemented in 1999, is the electronic information management system of the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The NLRD enables SAQA to manage the NQF and report accurately on aspects of the education and training system in South Africa.
The earliest learner achievement recorded on the NLRD was obtained in 1914. As at the end of July 2020, the NLRD had, among other records, more than 19 million learner records, over 17 million qualification achievement records, 95 183 learners who achieved qualifications or part-qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and more than 1 million people with professional designations.
The NLRD provides policy makers with comprehensive information on qualifications, part-qualifications, learner achievements and professional designations to enable evidence-based decision making and policy planning. It also reveals the types of qualifications registered and provides learners and employers with proof of qualifications obtained.
Despite being South Africa’s largest database with learner records and other related information, there are some data gaps in the NLRD. These data gaps are mainly due to two reasons. The first is that much of the pre-1994 data has not been digitised and therefore cannot be loaded on the NLRD. The second is that some education and training institutions (both public and private) have not been reporting or submitting qualifications and learner achievement records to the Quality Councils and subsequently to SAQA.
Over the years, SAQA has conducted several projects to digitise a lot of the pre-1994 information for uploading on the NLRD. However, given that this is a very costly exercise there is still more data that needs to be digitised and processed. SAQA continues to seek funding to ensure that all pre-1994 data is digitised and available on the NLRD.
The NLRD was designed and implemented under the SAQA Act and with the transition to the NQF Act, the Quality Councils were mandated to maintain a database of learner achievements in their respective Sub-Frameworks and load that data onto the NLRD. SAQA assisted two of the three Quality Councils by allowing providers to load their learner achievement records directly onto the NLRD. A process is now underway to fully hand over this responsibility to the Quality Councils.
SAQA calls on all public and private education and training institutions to ensure that their qualifications are registered on the NQF. They should also submit learner achievements against those registered qualifications to the relevant Quality Councils. This will ensure that learners are not prejudiced when the NQF Amendment Act, No. 12 of 2019 comes into effect.