Question NW1228 to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

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30 May 2018 - NW1228

Profile picture: van der Westhuizen, Mr AP

van der Westhuizen, Mr AP to ask the Minister of Higher Education and Training

(1)What progress has been achieved by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations in the revision of the National Accredited Technical Education Diploma qualifications, which were previously called Report 190, 191, and 192 qualifications; (2) (a) whether there are any big changes envisaged, such as changes to the minimum periods over which the qualifications can be achieved and (b) how will the qualifications be named in the future; (3) by what date will the revised qualifications be introduced; (4) would the offering of the qualifications up to Level 4 standard still form part of the curriculum of technical and vocational education and training colleges?


1. The NATED N4-N6 programmes are registered on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF) as part qualifications with the N1-N3 programmes residing with Umalusi. This is due to the allocation of qualifications by the South African Qualifications Authority to the different sub-frameworks. The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) has taken cognisance of the criticisms levelled against the N4-N6 with respect to the outdated curriculum and that these programmes are not adequately preparing candidates for the workplace. The N4-N6 programmes, together with two years of relevant work experience, qualifies the candidate for a National Diploma that is currently issued by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The QCTO has embarked on a process to reconstruct the N4-N6 programmes into Occupational Qualifications. Occupational Qualifications comprise three compulsory components, namely the knowledge, practical and workplace experience. The integration of these three components would eliminate the current situation where learners complete only the N4, N5 and N6 certificates, which comprise mainly of the theory component and for which many students receive certificates of achievement but do not achieve the diploma due to a lack of workplace experience. Partnerships and linkages with employers will therefore become a key responsibility of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

The QCTO has completed the reconstruction of the N4-N6 programmes previously categorised as Business and General Studies. The table below shows the new Occupational Qualifications and the corresponding N4-N6 programmes intended to be replaced.

New Occupational Qualification

NATED programmes intended
to be replaced

Status of Occupational Qualification

Occupational Certificate: Bookkeeper

National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level: 5

SAQA ID: 98959

  • N4, N5, N6 Financial Management programmes
  • National N Diploma: Financial Management

Registered on NQF


Occupational Certificate: Office Administrator

NQF Level: 5

SAQA ID: 102161

  • N4, N5, N6 Business Management programmes
  • National N Diploma: Business Management
  • N4, N5, N6 Human Resource Management Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Human Resource Management
  • N4, N5, N6 Marketing Management Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Marketing Management
  • N4, N5, N6 Public Management Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Public Management
  • N4, N5, N6 Public Relations Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Public Relations

Registered on NQF


Occupational Certificate: Management Assistant

NQF Level: 5

SAQA ID: 101876

  • N4, N5, N6 Legal Secretary Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Legal Secretary
  • N4, N5, N6 Management Assistant Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Management Assistant
  • N4, N5, N6 Medical Secretary Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Medical Secretary

Registered on NQF


Occupational Certificate: Early Childhood Development Practitioner

NQF Level:5

SAQA ID: 97542

  • N4, N5, N6 Educare Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Educare

Registered on NQF


Conference and Events Organiser

NQF Level: 5

  • N4, N5, N6 Hospitality and Catering Services Programmes

Awaiting registration at SAQA

Occupational Certificate: Tourist Information Officer

NQF Level: 5

SAQA ID: 101865

  • N4, N5, N6 Tourism Programmes
  • National N Diploma: Tourism

Registered on NQF


Occupational Certificate: Computer Technician

NQF Level:5

SAQA ID: 101408

  • N4, N5, N6 Computer related courses and subjects

Registered on NQF


The QCTO is currently engaging the University of Witwatersrand, in partnership with the University of Venda, in the reconstruction of the Engineering programmes. The Engineering programmes cannot be treated the same as the Business and General Studies, as the Engineering programmes provide pathways into engineering professions. It is envisaged that the reconstruction of the N4-N6 Engineering programmes with the university sector, including the Universities of Technology, will ensure that the reconstructed qualifications will articulate with qualifications on the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework and vice versa.

2. (a) The most significant change is in the Occupational Certificates where the theory is integrated into the practical and workplace components of the qualification. While the qualification does stipulate the required knowledge, practical and workplace modules, they are designed to be offered in an integrated workshop environment and not in a classroom mode, as is the case with the N4-N6 programmes. This would demand that TVET colleges have the required facilities and competent trainers in order to offer the occupational qualifications.

(b) The qualifications are named as Occupational Certificates at NQF level 5. In terms of the Ministerial Directives, the QCTO may register Occupational Certificates at NQF Levels 1-8.

3. Although the Occupational Certificates currently registered by the QCTO provide a curriculum framework for the qualifications, this is insufficient to translate into detailed teaching and assessment programmes in colleges. There is a need for detailed and structured curricula to be developed for implementation. Colleges do not have the professional capacity to undertake this work. In the 2018/19 financial year, the Department will work with colleges to develop the curriculum for the Bookkeeper qualification, to serve both as a capacity-development exercise, as well as to develop guidelines to assist colleges to develop such curricula in order to be responsive to their particular environmental needs.

Further to the development of the curriculum, funding for the delivery of the qualifications will be clarified in the Department, so that colleges are able to implement the qualifications knowing how student enrolments will be funded and how the teaching and learning requirements will be met. Currently the subsidies provided to colleges do not cover the occupational qualifications. In the course of 2018, planning information will be collected from colleges to establish a baseline for occupational qualifications that colleges will need and want to deliver from 2020 and beyond. These will be prioritised for the gradual phase-in of occupational qualifications in TVET colleges.

It is envisioned that NQF level 4 qualifications on the OQSF will become significant offerings in the programmes and qualifications mix of TVET colleges, given that many of the mid-level trades and occupations are pitched at NQF levels 4-5 on the OQSF.

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