An evaluation of the roles of CHE and the SETAs in the accreditation of NQF Level 5 learning programmes

Nxumalo, Edmund Linduyise (2009-03)

Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The Further Education and Training (FET) and Higher Education and Training (HET) bands in South Africa are characterised by major challenges resulting in the high rate of unemployment in the country despite the promulgation of a plethora of transformative pieces of legislation post-1994. These challenges include failure by post-matric applicants to meet minimum university requirements for admission; unemployed graduates; and tension within the higher education and Training (HET) band among various quality assurance bodies and explicit mutual doubt about each other’s capacity to perform quality assurance of HE learning programmes. In an endeavour to find solutions to these problems, the researcher contemplated whether the cause could not be the current system of quality assurance in South Africa. This perception has dominated the current discourse on quality assurance, which has warranted a need for research in this area to find concrete answers to the current problems, as well as potential solutions. In this study, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) are used as units of analysis to determine the veracity of the arguments pervading the current quality assurance discourse that there are uneven levels for quality and different and presumably inconsistent varying capacities for quality assurance in the current education system. The objective of the study was to test the veracity of this hypothesis for the purposes of making recommendations informed by concrete and scientific empirical data. The major findings of this study are that the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) policy, requiring CHE and the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) to coordinate the entire HET band, has not been implemented as envisaged. The degrees of quality assurance and capacity for quality assurance in South Africa vary dramatically between the SETAs and CHE and also among the SETAs when compared with one another, and there is a lack of consistency and co-ordination at National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 5. Furthermore, the current legislative framework underpinning the SETAs and CHE is fundamentally contradictory. On the basis of these findings it is recommended that the current quality assurance and accreditation system be overhauled by bringing about one council responsible for the quality assurance and accreditation of all workplace and vocationally orientated learning programmes in line with international best practices. CHE should concentrate on learning programmes that are academically orientated. Lastly, the current legislative framework governing the operations of SETAs and CHE should be amended.

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