The National Qualifications Framework

What the NQF does:

If you imagine a bridge you will know that a bridge connects communities, it allows people to flow, and supports the economic and social development of a community.

We encourage you to see the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as the most appropriate bridge to life-long learning.

If you read the objectives of the NQF in the NQF Act 67 of 2008 you will discover words like access, mobility, progression, career path, and full personal development. When thinking about the bridge metaphor these words; access, mobility, progression and path come to life. You can easily imagine how the bridge opens doors to new opportunities; enables travel to new unexplored places, and ultimately supports the rise to new heights of achievement.

The NQF has been established to provide the same opportunities from learning for you. A modern well engineered bridge is also always reliable. This is another important feature of the NQF. The NQF has been built on the principles of relevant and appropriate standards, quality and excellence. Therefore by selecting an NQF accredited qualification, you are assured of choosing a quality and genuine qualification that is nationally benchmarked and internationally comparable. You are encouraged to see the NQF as your life-long learning bridge. By communicating collaborating and cooperating with the NQF you can be assured of being guided across your most appropriate bridge towards your own goals and dreams.

The objectives of the NQF as outlined in the SAQA Act are as follows:

  • To create an integrated national framework for learning achievements;
  • Facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within education, training and career paths;
  • Enhance the quality of education and training;
  • Accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities;
  • Contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the nation at large.

Level Descriptors

Level descriptors, as the nomenclature suggests, provide a description of each of the eight levels on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The purpose of such description is to assist a writer of standards or qualifications in designing a qualification by allocating a level to a unit standard or a qualification, and to formulate outcomes and criteria for assessment that could clearly indicate the level of knowledge of a learner required to successfully achieve the unit standard or qualification.

The NQF consist of three bands, namely General Education (level 1 schooling up to grade 9 and ABET), Further Education and Training (levels 2 4: grade 10 12), and Higher Education (levels 5 8). After completion of level 1 of the NQF, a learner could achieve a GETC and after completion of level 4 of the NQF, an FETC.

NQF LEVEL BAND QUALIFICATION TYPE
8 HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
  • Post-doctoral research degrees
  • Doctorates
  • Masters degrees
7
  • Professional Qualifications
  • Honours degrees
6
  • National first degrees
  • Higher diplomas
5
  • National diplomas
  • National certificates

FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING CERTIFICATE
4 FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
  • National certificates
3
2

GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING CERTIFICATED
1 GENERAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Grade 9

ABET Level 4

  • National certificates

In line with the level descriptors, qualifications and unit standards are registered at the specified level of the NQF with a number of credits allocated to it. This means that a learner could accumulate credits for successful completed unit standards towards a qualification making learning more flexible to meet learner needs.