SAQA + Quality Council for Trades and Occupations 2016/17 Annual Report, with Minister & Deputy Minister

Higher Education, Science and Technology

25 October 2017
Chairperson: Ms C September (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Annual Reports 2016/17

The meeting witnessed the presence of the newly appointed Higher Education Minister and her Deputy who expressed their desire to collaborate with the Committee on matters relating to her portfolio. Subsequently, the Quality Council for Trade and Occupations (QCTO) did a presentation which highlighted that it had a vacancy for the position of Deputy CEO in charge of Quality Assurance, which was a strategic post and had to be filled urgently. QCTO also noted an increase in the number of certificates and qualifications which it was requested to verify. However, it would only be able to carry this task out optimally if the quality assurance functions carried out by the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) were fully transferred to its institution. QCTO noted that they had a clean audit for the previous financial year, but had a surplus of R11 million because of under expenditure. QCTO also outlined some of its challenges which included inadequate financial resources and issues related to the organisational structure. There was also an acknowledgement of high expenditure relating to consulting fees.

Members were particularly worried about the high vacancy rate which prevailed at QCTO as well as whether the high number of qualifications which it accredited were able to ensure insertion in the labour market. There was also a query with regards to if the qualifications considered global education and training standards and if the qualifications could be used outside of South Africa.

Concerning SAQA, the institution was able to obtain a clean audit and celebrated its’ 20th Anniversary by holding a forum with other national quality assurances agencies. The forum led to the creation of an African Network of Qualification Boards which aimed to collaborate in carrying out their responsibilities. SAQA noted it would be able to increase its capacity to do qualification assessment, if the process was streamlined by transferring SETA functions. SAQA also said that the resignation officials were not an issue and that the number was just a fraction of its total employed personnel. SAQA assured Members the issue of misrepresentation was not as bad as it seemed, and they were taking steps to remedy the situation.

Members noted with dismay the issue of misrepresented foreign qualifications with the highest number coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), India, Pakistan and Nigeria and it was requested that more needed to be done to prevent this from occurring. The high number of resignations was an issue which was also raised by Members. 

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Members to the meeting. She especially welcomed Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, and requested that the agenda be slightly altered to allow Minister Mkhize to say something before she needed to depart to attend a cabinet Committee meeting.

Minister Mkhize welcomed and informed Members that, together with Deputy Minister, they were able to meet with the Director General and senior officials in the Department to discuss their current state and aspirations. She was also in discussions with the President about priorities and the necessity of taking a position on the issue of finances for university students. She stressed that this emphasis on university finances was not made at the exclusion of other institutions, such as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) colleges, but recognized the high expectations of many to know the final position of the President on the issue of university fees. She stated that this was on the top of her list of priorities and that she was agitating for discussions after a budget vote, to be able to take a clear position on the issue of university fees. She stated that she remained committed to the resolutions that all policy conferences were taken in terms of the full coverage of the education of children from poor and working-class families. She was planning to visit universities, starting with the most vulnerable, like University of Zululand, University of Venda and others that were in the most rural areas. She stated that she would be happy to meet with the Committee once she had resolutions on the pressing issues surrounding university fees.

The Chairperson thanked her and asked for questions from Members.

Mr C Kekana (ANC) expressed his gratitude for the Ministers presence at the meeting and noted the general concern surrounding the upcoming mid-year financial statement.

Dr B Bozzoli (DA) agreed with Minister Mkhize regarding the prioritising of the funding issue and expressed her concern about the delayed release of the Fees Commission of Inquiry. She wrote to the Chairperson of this Committee, asking that the report be summoned to be presented to this Committee as a matter of urgency.

Ms J Killian (ANC) welcomed Minister Mkhize and stressed the mounting pressure surrounding the release of the fees report. She noted that the country was at a critical juncture, where access to education needed to be extended while quality was improved so that qualifications were held in high regard internationally.

Mr M Mbatha (EFF) welcomed Minister Mkhize and noted the atmosphere of high distrust in South Africa, where universities, students and workers could not work together. He pointed out that Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) was closed intermittently for the past three weeks. He stressed the importance of Minister Mkhize’s role in addressing the problem.

Ms M Nkadimeng (ANC) welcomed Minister Mkhize.

Ms S Mchunu (ANC) welcomed Minister Mkhize and expressed her appreciation that a woman was acting as the Minister of Home Affairs. She highlighted the issues at the University of Zululand and requested that there was more focus given to the issues of underfunding at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) section, the quality of lecturers and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). She echoed other Members in their plea for the release of the fees report.

The Chairperson stated that she wanted the report to be tabled and to know how Cabinet planned to deal with any of the issues raised in the report. Particularly on University of Zululand, an outcome of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) report was required. Yesterday a report was adopted, so the Chairperson trusted that the Speaker would presently write to Minister Mkhize regarding the reports that were now adopted.

Minister Mkhize then departed.

Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

The Chairperson, Professor Peliwe Lolwana introduced herself, Mr Vijayen Naidoo, CEO, and Ms Ndhivudzannyi Madilonga-Khondowe, CFO.  She then explained the senior management structure of QCTO and noted the vacancy in the Chief Director: Occupational Quality Assurance position. Mr Naidoo previously occupied that position until June 2017, when he was promoted to the position of CEO.

Ms Lolwana explained that the CEO operated within three council committees:

  • Occupational Qualifications Committee, that oversaw the development of qualifications and the accreditation of providers who offered those qualifications;
  • Quality Assurance Committee, which looked after the assessments and the certification of learners. Occasionally, these two committees would hold joint meetings to develop and maintain standards.
  • There was also an Audit and Risk Committee as well as an Internal Audit Committee.

She said that the QCTO set two main goals for themselves: to establish an organisation that had a sound foundation and enable it for sustainability for years to come; and to ensure that South African citizens had access to credible skills training that supported both industrial and social development. She explained that the QCTO took its cue from different legislations that were put in place; the National Development Plan, Ministerial Guides, White Paper on Post-School Education, National Skills Development Strategy and the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP), but there were many, including the Bill of Rights, and Constitution, the Skills Development Act of 1997 which was amended in 2008, and the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) Act. To achieve its mandate, Ms Lolwana stated that the QCTO considered some national priorities which included the development of industry-based qualifications, including trades; strengthening the TVET college system; and building the capacity of the colleges so that they could deliver QCTO’s occupational qualifications. Contributing to educational industry partnerships, the QCTO thought that its work was enriched and enlarged by being able to work with other people who were already doing things that resonated with the mandate that QCTO recognised. This included for example, the partnership with Energy and Water SETA (EWSETA), the War on Leaks, and the Dual System Pilot. They also have worked extensively with the Department of Health on Community Health Practitioners.

Highlights of the QCTO included:

  • 154 Occupational Qualifications registered
  • 30 External Integrated Summative Assessments (EISA’s)
  • 221 Skills Development Practitioners accredited
  • Certification was going on well
  • 89% KPI (key performance indicators) target reached coming from baseline previously of 50%
  • Clean audit

Ms Lolwana said that some of the challenges experienced included funding, which was always a perennial problem. Baseline funding was insufficient, and it impacted on organisational structure. The SETA levy was locked at 0.5% despite work that was growing. She stated that the QCTO submitted a business case to the Department about how financial problems could be solved. It continued to do stakeholder engagement but had variations of stakeholders, so it was difficult to have a common approach. Because of the many stakeholders, and the fact that they came from different angles, it was difficult to meet all expectations. QCTO were quality assuring almost two systems at the same time; historically registered qualifications and the new occupational qualifications, because it coexisted.

Ms Madilonga-Khondowe outlined the framework. The Occupational Qualifications sub-framework was a mixture of qualifications. These were historically registered qualifications, comprising NQF Level 4 to NQF Level 6 programmes which were primarily offered within the TVET colleges as well as unit standard based qualifications. A process engaged in at the moment was through delegation, where some of the quality assurance functions were delegated to SETAs and professional bodies, called Quality Assurance Partners (QAP’s). The process was to realign these qualifications into the new QCTO Occupational Qualifications Model. QCTO was also pursuing new ways of carrying out quality assurance and were actively pursuing issues including e-assessment and e-verification, where appropriate, to answer to the issues of access. Open learning was critical to going forward.

She said that in terms of standards, QCTO set standards by the effective management of processes, information, resource and systems. It accredited skills development providers and quality committees and ensured that there was compliance. The strong point of the QCTO model was the external integrated summative assessment and these were national assessments which imbibed national standards and that was a key element of the model that QCTO had in place. It also had the successful validation of QCTO qualifications, which ultimately led to the certification of successful candidates. Employers could be confident that candidates were work-ready with very limited additional training required. This was the further strongpoint where learners qualified for the External Integrated Summative Assessment (EISA) via the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route, they all undertook the same standardized EISA, so there was movement away from the discriminatory practice previously, where candidates were being discriminated against if they came through via the RPL route. In assessment and in certification thereof, there was no such indication of the route followed. The learner displayed the competence and would carry the necessary certification. Learners were also able to apply their knowledge and skills and that was by virtue of the integration, the knowledge and the practical workplace component in the qualification.

She said that with regards to achievements that were linked to KPIs, QCTO recommended 80 qualifications to SAQA for registration and of these, 48 were trade qualifications that were registered. These were trade qualifications that were linked to the national list of trades which numbered 125. QCTO was making good progress in terms of the trade qualifications. It had 20 prioritized qualifications with learner uptake. That might seem low in terms of the number of qualifications, and one of the reasons for that was that the new qualifications were replacing the historically registered ones. These historically registered still had a lifespan up to 2018 and a teach-out period up to 2020. Therefore, providers were not willing to “re-tool”; it was a costly exercise, so providers would rather push with the old until they had got no option but to switch to the new. QCTO had 37 assessment quality partners and 32 quality assurance partners that were monitored. Comprising the 30 QAPs was 21 SETAS and 9 professional bodies that QCTO monitored. A total of 78 historically registered qualifications were identified for deactivation. What that meant was that QCTO went back and looked at the enrolments and the uptake. If there were qualifications that were lying dormant, which meant there was no uptake for the past two or three years, QCTO requested SAQA to deactivate those qualifications. In this manner, QCTO had a way of answering one of its key mandates which was to simplify the NQF.

She said that skills development providers were accredited within the turnaround times and that was a 90-day turnaround time. Some of the providers that were accredited so far were 43 TVETS and private providers for the trade qualifications. QCTO had 137 assessment centers accredited at the moment, several which were TVET colleges. QCTO appointed three new quality partners and had ten extensions of scope. In the year under review, QCTO issued 19 625 certificates, well within a turn-around time of 21 days, in fact boasting a processing time of 5 days. The CFO emphasised that, in its model, providers would not necessarily do their own assessments and that was to ensure that there was quality. Therefore, QCTO had independent assessment centers where the learners would have to take their assessments.

She said that to date, 58 900 trade certificates were issued and a large number of these were certificates outstanding prior to July 2013, so the backlog in trade certifications were cleared out. Included in 19 000 certificates were 183 certificates that were issued against new occupational qualifications. She highlighted that QCTO received massive amounts of verification requests to verify the authenticity of trade certificates. Dealing with 8 710 certificates for the reporting period, QCTO had between 7-9% that it could not authenticate. Together with DHET, QCTO processed approximately 18 000 backlogged diploma applications. The role that QCTO played there was to develop the tools so that these could be evaluated, and set up processes. QCTO processed almost 3 000 and then the model was adopted by the DHET and that backlog was sorted out.

She then explained the indicators not achieved. With regards to the quality assurance function delegated to the SETAS and professional bodies, the plan was that QCTO would take this back, but this was not achieved, linking primarily to issues of funding as well as the landscape not being entirely clear. What QCTO did for 2017/18 was prioritised by summarising this under the broader mandate. It was treated as a separate item, now embedded in its processes. Historically registered qualifications were delegated to the SETAs and QCTO would now start to carry out quality assurance and in that way, they would take that function over. Counsels also put forward a plan called Vision 2020 and that plan would identity particular SETAs that QCTO would be targeting for takeover of all of the functions over the next three years. QCTO was focusing mostly on SETAs that were offering trade currently (eight).

She added that the uploading of learner achievements onto the NLRD was also not achieved. It was a QCTO responsibility but was not achieved primarily because of the Network Information System (NIS) which was 70% developed at this point in time. However, SAQA was still maintaining that process. SETAs and other professional bodies uploaded directly to SAQA at this point in time. The system was taking care of that.

She stated that the QCTO met with Portfolio Committee in 2016 and there were a few recommendations. One recommendation was about improving systems to monitor providers, so QCTO established a quality assurance unit dedicated for monitoring of providers. They were ensuring that monitors who applied were accredited and then monitored the quality assurance partners who currently managed accreditation of providers.

With regards to additional resources to be made available, QCTO put together a business case which was submitted to the DHET to address the resource issues. Regarding the digitalisation process of learner records, QCTO was glad to say that the NSF granted them R19.5 million over a three-year period for them to undertake that project.

She said that bookkeeper qualifications were registered and replaced a number of the NQF Level 4 to NQF Level 6 programmes. Events manager, personal assistant, travel and tourism was developed and submitted to SAQA for the approval process. Office administrator was currently in its public comment phase. On engineering NQF Level 4 to NQF Level 6, QCTO was busy with that right now.

With regards to the learner uptake, a recommendation was for critical/scarce skills programmes to be expanded. On the Dual System pilot project, run with DHET, QCTO identified 13 trades and would ensure that those 13 trades were now registered so that that project was not stalled by qualifications not being available. QCTO also linked its processes to the War on Leaks as well as Operations Phakisa.  

She said that on the Income Statement, there was a gradual improvement although not to expectation. Revenue stream remained the same, QCTO still had the DHET allocation which only increased to the extent of inflation. There was a submission through DHET for an increase in a baseline because when QCTO was established, the baseline was set incorrectly. There was now a realization of what work was involved and what it would cost, so there was a submission that went to the DHET which was under consideration together with National Treasury to consider the increase of the baseline by at least R30 million; there was hope that growth would be achieved. She said that the DHET allocation was at R23.138 million.

She said that the SETA allocation also grew from R40 million to R60 million and the finance income was interest received from investments which was R1 million. In 2015/16, QCTO had NSF funding and 16/17 that funding was already spent since the project concluded. Going forward the R19 million was a conditional grant specifically for the digitisation which would then be factored in the forthcoming financial year. Other income was verification and certification fees which counsel approved recently.

She said that with regards to expenditure, compensation of employees grew due to the increase in the staff compliment. Cost code payment measures were implemented to try to ensure that wastage was avoided, and expenses were minimized where possible. The ratio of compensation to expenditure needed to be kept in check to make sure that compensation did was not excessive. A benchmark of 60% was set and QCTO was still within that. Last year QCTO was at 52%, and for 2016/17 56%.

She highlighted that there was a net surplus of R11 million. This was a committed surplus and commitments were not included in formula. When an application was submitted to National Treasury for roll over, QCTO included commitments and wanted to inform the Committee it declared a nil surplus and National Treasury accepted. So, it was not, in technical terms, a real surplus because there was commitments that were not factored. QCTO received feedback from National Treasury so it did not have a roll over, declared a nil surplus, and National Treasury accepted so it was not rolling over any funds.

With regards to the statement of financial position (balance sheet), QCTO was pleased to see strengthening from the 2015/16 financial year to the 2016/17 financial year. Growth was in asset base and there was a decrease in liabilities. Ultimately, the liquidity ratio improved from last year, when it was 1,5:1 and now it was 3,8:1 which meant that basically assets were more compared to liabilities.

She then gave a summary of audit outcomes, which included a clean audit received. Last year QCTO received an unqualified audit, and QCTO committed themselves to get a clean audit this year. It intended to maintain this and sustain the clean audit outcome for years to come. 

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked QCTO for the presentation, noting that members of DHET as well as personnel from the Auditor-General’s office were present in the meeting for questioning.

Ms J Killian (ANC) wanted to understand the reason for the vacancy in Quality Assurance Chief Director post and process to fill critical vacancies. She also wanted to know how QCTO would rank or if they ranked colleges to build capacity to deliver occupational qualifications; how did SAQA determine whether it could deliver qualifications. With regards to achievements, she wanted an explanation on the 90 625 applications for certification processed. How many of these were public versus private institutions, because what was determined was that for some reason, private colleges were growing and there was increased pressure on quality councils to accredit them and DHET to register them. What was the QCTO’s experience? On indicators not achieved, such as the quality assurance functions delegated to SETAs, as QCTO wanted to take those back, did QCTO have any ideas for how to realign SETA sector could impact on that?

Mr Van der Westhuizen commented on the internationalisation of qualifications. He asked to what extent was international comparison a priority? To what extent would qualifications be recognised for South Africans abroad and for people coming to SA? Concerning the quality of curriculum (content) and capacity of training institutions, he noted that institutions were reluctant to “re-tool”. To what extent would QCTO be able to encourage training institutions to update their training equipment? What did under development mean and when could that qualification be expected to be registered?

Ms Mchunu commended them for a clean audit. She asked whether during the verification process, QCTO identified any misrepresented occupational qualifications. She also inquired whether QCTO utilised work of labour market intelligence research findings and recommendations in the development of occupational qualifications. The vacancy of Chief Director (Quality Assurance) was worrying because that was their core mandate. Was there any relation between non-achievement and the vacancy?

Ms Mchunu asked about the expenditure of R6.978 million for consulting and professional fees. What services were provided for under this expenditure? Was QCTO considering building in-house capacity? In relation to the underexpenditure (R11.10 million), it appeared as a surplus, but it was committed somewhere, so why was it not spent?

Mr Mbatha believed that the making of those centers was not up to standard. He felt that more often as a government body, maybe SAQA needed to provide some assurances around, for instance, the basic expectation for people to perform in a trade center. In this manner, the barometer and expectation were equivalent to the outcome, because that could be altered by mere perception. Did management adhere to values in a professional way and were they enhancing relationships with stakeholders? He also expressed his concern about the over reliance on numbers used in the report.

Ms Nkadimeng appreciated the findings and acknowledged it was an improvement from what was presented the previous year. She was worried about the high number of vacancies and asked what necessitated the need for additional 177 posts and what percentage of QCTO budget would go towards personnel cost for 220 posts? What was the vacancy rate as of October 2017? She inquired whether the development of occupational qualification addressed the area of scarce and critical skills and whether recent employment was in-line with Employment Equity targets.

Ms Bozzoli wanted to know what the relationship was between QCTO and SETA and what taking over SETA accreditation would involve for QCTO. She asked if they were aware of or had statistics on how many qualifications were given out by SETA and how many were accredited? In relation to international assessment, she referred to the World Skills Competition and asked how many South Africans went and what did they achieve? How did SA team look in international terms?

The Chairperson, in reference to the statistics on the number of certificates issued, asked whether QCTO spoke to responsive needs in the labour market and whether the outcome of statistics was contributing to a productive workforce in the country. She wanted to know what benchmark was used to effect quality and the standard of education. The Chairperson agreed with Mr Mbatha about the budget surplus and asked what was not completed to have acquired a surplus.

Ms Killian wanted a better understanding of performance rewards and the new post structure.

Mr Naidoo stated that the delay in filling vacancies was due to the need to establish a link with the new organisational structure. There was a need to move towards a new structure which would allow them to ensure quality assurance which currently lied with SETA and should be moved to QCTO. He explained this would lead to a cluster model and would allow qualifications to be better categorized. In addition, he said that previously they needed to fill vacancies with people who had generic skills, but now they needed individuals with specific skills, so by March or April, they intended to have filled the vacancies.

Mr Naidoo said that there were no rankings of TVET colleges but all TVET’s had to be accredited by the QCTO because they could not offer courses without being accredited. He stated he did not have a breakdown of the 19 000 certificates offered but believed the bulk came from private institutions. He said that QCTO had to take back quality assurance responsibility as well as certification which were being done by SETA. He acknowledged that all qualifications had to show international comparability but also noted with regards to curriculum content, they could not force private institutions to offer certain qualifications unless they were accredited.

Mr Naidoo stated 8% to 9% of certificates could not be verified and regarding the quality of the trade centres, he said that more than 600 accredited centres existed; they visited 200 so far to assess what standards were produce, so it was an ongoing process.

He said he could not give a response on the state of skills development but agreed that the report was very quantitative and as time evolved, it had to become more qualitative. He said that the numbers reflected the end of a process and he wished to use it to understand how qualifications responded to national demands such as the NDP. Concerning the quality of education, he said that this was done through industry involvement as the qualifications were industry endorsed and as a result, this led to a National Standardised Assessment.

According to Ms Madilonga-Khondowe, there was an R11 million committed surplus and it was not possible to use the money on last minute proposals because National Treasury scrutinised such proposals. In relation to the R6 million for consultation fees, it was for a once off project whose last payment was made in 2016/17 and that was why there was such a high cost. However, Ms Madilonga-Khondowe stated that the QCTO was building in-house capacity and promised the next report would not include such high consultant expenditure. She stated there was a performance management policy which determined how employees were rewarded.  

Ms Lolwana concluded the discussion by stating the CQTO based its efforts on integrity, intellectual capacity and compassion.

SAQA Briefing

Mr Joe Samuels, CEO, SAQA, carried out the presentation whereby he focused firstly on governance issues and presented the members of the Board. He also explained the committee structure as well as how assessments were conducted. He laid out the objectives of SAQA and provided an outline of their overall yearly performance.

Mr Samuels highlighted that it was SAQA’s 20th anniversary and it had a reflection with other national verification agencies to debate on the challenges faced. SAQA noted the rise in fake verification agencies and resolved to form the African Qualifications Verification Network to help address the matter. He stated that SAQA established a partnership with Durban University of Technology to improve its capacity to verify qualifications.

Regarding foreign qualifications and misrepresentation, Mr Samuels noted the highest number of misrepresented qualifications was from the DRC and steps were being taken to root out the problem, although these formed a small proportion of the qualifications received. He expressed his desire for State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) to send the qualifications of their staff and board members to SAQA for verification.

Ms Reddy expressed her concern about the amount of finances they had available but understood that in the present economic context they would have to cope. Ms Reddy said that SAQA was able to save R30 000 through various saving measures. With regards to corporate social investment, SAQA embarked on outreach initiatives and raised R8 000 for World AIDS Day activities. In terms of staff composition, most employees were black and there were 53% females compared to 47% males at the institution. Ms Reddy also noted the success of the intern programme and expressed her desire to build on it.

Mr Barry Urban, Acting CFO, SAQA, stressed the need to increase savings because of the lack of available funds.   

Discussion

Mr Kekana needed an explanation of the school vocational certificate equivalent to matric because he never heard of it and wanted to know if it could help to obtain employment. He cited SA’s unemployment statistics for University (7%) and TVET (33%) graduates questioning the standards of such institutions and noted that this might be a reason why people were discouraged to attend TVET’s.

Ms Bozzoli stated that in relation to the World Skills Conference that something was wrong in skills training; what was embedded in the SAQA mandate to ensure excellence? Was excellence considered? Were there sufficient incentives and punishments around quality for qualifications? How did we know which ones were good? Were any qualifications ever closed?

Ms Nkadimeng wanted to know the reason for resignations. Did SAQA do exit interviews and what was outcome? She wanted to know what were the reasons for the dismissal of two employees, how much their legal fees cost and details of legal case.

Ms Killian thanked SAQA for the good report, and noted its pleas were heard. The modest baseline increase request was noted. From reading the report and presentation, it was clear that the unit to verify qualifications for the entire public service needed to be strengthened and that was where they would need additional financial injection. Could SAQA please elaborate on this? Because unfortunately it really became a significant reality that people became extremely creative and they search around and did all sorts of things and then presented themselves and the Committee saw the effects of that in some state entities and Departments.

Ms Killian asked regarding the international qualifications, why there were so many misrepresentations and was there any sort of specific trend that was developing if SAQA looked at the past couple of years. Was is it specifically teacher qualifications or were there others? What were these other qualifications? Relating to 73 misrepresentations from the DRC, were those also in other fields? Related to articulation, was there not, between universities, also some competition that restricted articulation? Sometimes some qualifications from, for instance, a university of technology, was viewed with suspicion.

Mr Van der Westhuizen asked with regards to international qualifications, whether the development of such qualification was time consuming and labour intensive. To what extent could SAQA recognize qualifications issued by big corporations and to what extent could it be made a South African qualification by piggy-backing on some of these. He wanted to know more about gaps in qualification database as well as clarification on globalisation and how South Africa linked with international demand and the comparison with international qualifications.

The Chairperson made a humble plea and said it would help if SAQA could give the Committee a breakdown of what it was that you it was referring to. The Committee had to be convinced whether indeed SAQA was optimally spending the money that it currently had and whether SAQA was making decisions in the correct way; what would be the justification for the kind of increase that SAQA was asking for? How did SAQA plan to achieve its programmes in the light of it not getting the additional money that it was requesting? Relating to misrepresentation and with the figures that SAQA had, what were preventive measures being taken? Was SAQA engaging a process with somebody else to say that it seemed that South Africa was a haven for misrepresentation and that was easy to get into South Africa to do this? The Chairperson was worried to discover that at many of institutions, there were people who were employed with misrepresented qualification and that enough care was not taken in that regard.

The official from DHET said that unemployment was a complex issue because the Department did not create jobs, but the issue was that the economy was not growing at the same pace as the number of people graduating with qualifications. Regarding standards and quality, SAQA made sure that certain barometers were met with qualifications such as international comparability and the qualification had to be specified. Furthermore, the Quality council did accreditation.

He said that SAQA would give a report on the quality of qualifications they received and concerning the resignations, it was like a drop in the ocean because 15 out of 178 employees resigned. He noted there was a need to strengthen verification turnaround time and digitise documentation and regarding the financial details, a written response would be provided.

Ms Julie Reddy, Deputy CEO, SAQA, stated that teacher qualifications witnessed the highest misrepresentation and concerning the DRC, there seemed to be a structural problem because refugees and asylum seekers might not have access to their documentation, so there was a need to assist them. Ms Reddy said in the case of discovered misrepresentation, they applied for an affidavit and handed it to the Hawks for further investigation.

Ms Bozzoli said those found guilty of misrepresentation had to be put on a database or else they would find themselves working in the private sector.  

The Chairperson thanked all those present for their participation.

The meeting was adjourned. 

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