The functions of SAQA, and the ambit of its authority, are set out in Section 13 of the National Qualifications Framework Act 67 of 2008. Any person or body considering taking legal action, and citing SAQA as a respondent thereto, in circumstances where SAQA is not the decision-maker of the impugned decision, is required to have regard to the jurisdiction. SAQA should only be cited if it has a material and sufficient interest in the outcome of the legal action
What is the South African Qualifications Authority?
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is a juristic person - that is an entity given a legal personality by the law. The South African Qualifications Authority Board is a body of 12 members appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training.
The Minister must invite nominations for the appointment of members by notice in the Gazette, from-
- persons involved in education and training;
- organisations involved in education and training;
- professional bodies;
- organised labour;
- organised business; and
- organisations representing community and development interests.
The objectives of SAQA are to
- advance the objectives of the NQF;
- oversee the further development and implementation of the NQF; and
- co-ordinate the sub-frameworks.
SAQA must advise the Minister of Higher Education and Training on NQF matters in terms of the NQF Act. SAQA must also perform its functions subject to the NQF Act 67 of 2008 and oversee the implementation of the NQF and ensure the achievement of its objectives.
In terms of the NQF Act no. 67 of 2008, the Quality Councils, must amongst others, do the following in order to achieve the objectives of the NQF:
- perform their functions subject to the NQF Act 67 of 2008 and the law by which the QC is established
- develop and manage their sub-frameworks, and make recommendations thereon to the Minister
- ensure the development of qualifications or part qualifications as are necessary for their sectors, which may include appropriate measures for the assessment of learning achievement
- recommend qualifications or part qualifications to SAQA for registration
SAQA has the following role with respect to qualifications:
- SAQA must develop and implement policy and criteria, after consultation with the QCs for the development, registration and publication of qualifications and part-qualifications, which must include the following requirements:
- The relevant sub-framework must be identified on any document relating to the registration and publication of a qualification or part-qualification;
- Each sub-framework must have a distinct nomenclature for its qualification types which is appropriate to the relevant sub-framework and consistent with international practice.
- SAQA must register a qualification or part-qualification recommended by a QC if it meets the relevant criteria;
- SAQA must develop policy and criteria, after consultation with the QCs, for assessment, recognition of prior learning and credit accumulation and transfer.
The Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) regulations were also published in 1998 and provided for the accreditation of Education and Training Quality Assurance bodies. These bodies are responsible for accrediting providers of education and training standards and qualifications registered on the NQF, monitoring provision, evaluating assessment and facilitating moderation across providers, and registering assessors. The ETQA responsibilities of SETAs will remain according to the mentioned SAQA regulations, until such time as the Minister Higher Education and Training publishes new regulations replacing the existing regulations, thereafter the responsibilities will reside with the Quality Council for Trade and Occupations (QCTO).
SAQA has the following role with respect to professional bodies:
- must develop and implement policy and criteria for recognising a professional body and registering a professional designation for the purposes of this Act, after consultation with statutory and non-statutory bodies of expert practitioners in occupational fields and with the QCs;
- recognise a professional body and register its professional designation if the relevant criteria have been met.