The Department of Education provided a brief summary of the main purpose of the three Bills before the Committee. The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Bill was a continuation of existing structural development under the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The intention behind the new legislation was to establish accountability in the implementation of quality assurance initiatives. The new legislative framework provided a unified and definitive structure that addressed the difficulties experienced under the previous SAQA legislation, which had failed to define accountability and roles sufficiently. The new legislation would continue to require SAQA to have a consultative role, but the framework now provided by the NQF Bill would enable a smooth transition. Two Quality Councils would be established under the Minister of Education, and a third Quality Council would fall under the Minister of Labour. This would distinguish the roles and independence of the two Ministers. Quality Councils would give support also to professional bodies. The General and Further Education Training and Quality Assurance Bill was a consequential piece of legislation providing for additional functions of the Quality Councils.
The Provinces then presented their negotiating mandates.
National Qualifications Framework Bill (NQF Bill), General and Further Education and Training Quality Amendment Bill (GFETQA Bill) and Higher Education Amendment Bill (HEA Bill): Department of Education (DoE) briefing
Mr Eben Boshoff, Chief Director of the Department of Education, addressed Members, giving a summary of the NQF and the GFETQA Bills. He stated that the NQF Bill was a continuation of existing structural development under the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The intention behind the new legislation was to establish accountability in the implementation of quality assurance initiatives. The new legislative framework provided a unified and definitive structure that addressed the difficulties that had been experienced under The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) legislation. The main problem with SAQA had been the inability to clearly determine accountability, as it had failed to fix the responsibility to administer the Act between the Minister of Education and the Minister of Labour. Another problem lay in the multiplicity of standard generating bodies under SAQA, which had led to confusion and complexity in quality assurance and control for qualifications.
The new legislation was not meant to put an end to SAQA. SAQA would continue to exist in a consultative role to provide support to the emerging dispensation now proposed by this legislation. The framework created by the NQF Bill would enable co-ordination with SAQA to ensure a smooth transition. This would require linking strategies that would ensure that any conflicts were avoided, and would promote consistent standards that were aligned with one another in the recognition of qualifications.
The NQF Bill would establish two Quality Councils (QCs) under the Minister of Education, whilst a third Quality Council would fall under the Minister of Labour. This served to distinguish the roles of the two Ministers and to create a framework that would ensure their independence and mutual co-operation. The legislative proposals also advanced the principle of simplicity and would reduce complexity and promote interactivity. The NQF Bill would also provide support and assistance through the Quality Councils to professional bodies in the performance of the quality assurance function. The GFETQA Bill was a consequential piece of legislation that provided for the additional functions of the Quality Councils.
Negotiating Mandates on the National Qualifications Framework Bill
The Chairperson requested members to table their negotiating mandates for the NQF Bill before the Committee.
Ms A Qikani (UDM,
Mr T Setona (ANC,
Ms F Mazibuko (ANC,
There were several recommendations around SAQA.
The Gauteng Committee also noted that in Clause 9(5)(3)(c) “cooperate in discharging their respective responsibilities under this Act” “and” was not captured in the Bill, and recommended that it be rectified.
The Committee also recommended that the numbering as captured in Page 2 (Amendments Agreed To) should be corrected to reflect the numbering in the Bill, and in this regard numbering errors were listed and corrected (see attached document), for Clauses 4, 5, and 9.
The negotiating position adopted by the Province was that it supported the principle and details of the NQF Bill, subject to the consideration of the issues read out by their delegate.
The mandate of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial legislature followed. This noted that the Provincial Standing Committee supported the Bill, but had also proposed some amendments. It firstly proposed that the phrase “in their personal capacities” in Clause 14(2) should be omitted. It was felt that members should be representing and reporting to recognised structures. In respect of financial implications, contained in the explanatory memorandum on page 21, it was submitted that, in principle, reducing the SAQA’s functions would result in saving which would offset the cost of adding functions to Umaluse and the Council for Higher Education (CHE), but the extent of the offset was not known. There was a concern that this could be one of the factors that would hinder the implementation of the legislation.
Mr M Thetjeng (DA,
Ms J Masilo (ANC,
Mr M Sulliman (ANC,
Ms Masilo presented the mandate for the North West Provincial Legislature. This Committee had resolved that the Bill should be published in other official languages, in the public interest and to enable communities to have a clear understanding of its aims, particularly for School Governing Bodies and elderly people.
Mr Tolo responded that the Committee felt that the translation of legislation into official languages was better left to the various Provincial Legislatures, who were expected to have their own policies regarding this issue.
Ms H Lamoela (DA,
Mr Setona suggested to the Committee that the Department of Education should be asked to give its response to these comments in the mandates at a future date, and this was agreed to by Members.
The meeting was adjourned.
- National Qualifications Framework Bill, General & Further Education & Training Quality Amendment Bill & Higher Education Amendme
- National Qualifications Framework Bill, General & Further Education & Training Quality Amd Bill & Higher Education Amd Bill
- Consideration of the Negotiating Mandates on the National Qualifications Framework Bill
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