The National Qualifications Framework

What the NQF does:

Before what the NQF does can be defined the terms of reference need to be outlined to allow for more clarity, which is why a glossary of terms has been provided in the form of the NQF Pedia. Please click here for the NQF Pedia which consists of the NQF glossary of terms.

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.


NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK

LEVELS SUB-FRAMEWORK & QUALIFICATION TYPES
10 DOCTORAL DEGREE
DOCTORAL DEGREE (PROFESSIONAL)
*
9 MASTER'S DEGREE
MASTER'S DEGREE (PROFESSIONAL)
*
8 BACHELOR HONOURS DEGREE
POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA
BACHELOR'S DEGREE
OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE LEVEL 8
7 BACHELOR'S DEGREE
ADVANCED DIPLOMA
OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE (level 7)
6 DIPLOMA ADVANCED CERTIFICATE OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE
(LEVEL 6)
5 HIGHER CERTIFICATE OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE
(LEVEL 5)
4 NATIONAL CERTIFICATE OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE
(LEVEL 4)
3 INTERMEDIATE CERTIFICATE OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE
(LEVEL 3)
2 ELEMENTARY CERTIFICATE OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE
(LEVEL 2)
1 GENERAL CERTIFICATE OCCUPATIONAL CERTIFICATE
(LEVEL 1)

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.