The South African Qualifications Authority is a body with its beginnings routed in the 1970s where "unskilled" workers were needing a better wage for basic living. Due to their lack of education, they were not being granted improved wages and this led to NUMSA establishing a research group to formulate training recommendations.
This proposal stressed the need for basic education, as well as portability and national recognition of training. In 2001, after years of research planning and legal changes, hte NQF levels were reviewed. The NQF levels are National Qualification Framework is the structure into which each learning pathway is structured and is regulated on a 3 yearly basis by SAQA. All the qualifications that have been submitted go through a rigorous process to deem it fair and usable, clear and teachable to be added and given a unique code for that qualification. The levels are ascribed according to the learning level and includes the difficulty level of the skill. Skills are also recognised for those who have the expertise, without necessarily receiving the education for it and bridging courses established to allow labourers to aquire the necessary qualification.
Records are stored on the National database, per person. Accredited courses are on the system once accepted by SAQA and there are regular checks to ensure the standards are kept. Assessment of the SAQA courses are dones by trained assessors (teachers and educators are accepted assessors by SAQA)
Skills are converted into Unit standards, which have a layout of all the criteria necessary to achieve competency, and have credits assigned to each unit standard.
SAQA course management gives the learner the opportunity to make sure they are adept in the material, and if not that they can redo the assessment 3x, and then redo the material. It works according to comptency levels rather than percentages, as this is more accurate in determining whether the work can be applied. The ongoing learning thought process means that small assessments are done during the learning, and a summative assessment at the end of the learning to determine the competency, iwth specific criteria attached which need to be achieved. Interventions to reach competency include preparation of the learner in an equipped venue, having a registered trainer, scheduling specific time for training. The student is required to submit a POE (protfolio of evidence) with the proof that they have reached competency in the specific required criteria.
Programmes are set up to allow all learners to have the opportunity to learn skills and prove competency.
Example of a SAQA unit standard with the information attached.