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SAQA: Higher Education Act: Higher Education Qualifications Framework

Higher Education Act: Higher Education Qualifications Framework

Download a copy of the act form the SAQA website:

http://saqa.org.za/docs/pol/2007/not0928.pdf

GOVERNMENT NOTICE

DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION

No. 928                                                                                                                                5 October 2007

The Higher Education Qualifications Framework

HIGHER EDUCATION ACT, 1997 (Act No. 101of  1997)

I, Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, Minister of Education, hereby publish  The Higher Education Qualifications Framework as set out in the Schedule as policy in terms of section 3 of the Higher Education Act, 1997  (Act No. 101 of 1997).

Separate and parallel qualifications structures for universities and technikons have hindered   the   articulation   of   programmes   and   transfer   of   students   between programmes and higher education institutions.  Education White Paper 3: A Programme for  the Transformation of Higher Education (1997),  acknowledges the need  for   a  single  qualifications  framework   applicable  to  all  higher  education institutions.

The development of this policy has benefited from extensive discussion and consultation  within  and outside higher  education following the  publication by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) of A New Academic Policy for Programmes and Qualifications  in  Higher  Education:  Discussion Document  (2002).   I express  my appreciation to the CHE and all others who contributed to the development of this policy.

This new qualifications framework has been designed to meet demanding challenges facing the higher education system in the 21st century. It will guide higher education institutions  in  the  development  of  programmes  and  qualifications  that  provide graduates with intellectual capabilities and skills that can both enrich society and empower themselves and enhance economic and social development.

C:A!/ifl       ·

  1. N. M. Pandor, MP

Minister of Education

Date: 7 September  2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE NEW FRAMEWORK IN CONTEXT …………………………………………………………                    5

A single qualifications framework for a diverse system…………………………………  5

The framework and the NQF………………………………………………………………….   6

Standards generation in higher education…………………………………………………  7

Qualifications, volumes of learning and credits…………………………………………..                  8

Accumulation of credits towards qualifications……………………………………………  9

Work Integrated  Learning……………………………………………………………………..  9

THE FRAMEWORK ………………………………………………………………………………….  1o Characteristics…………………………………………………………………………………….  1o Number of levels and level descriptors…………………………………………………….   11

Qualification types………………………………………………………………………………  11

Undergraduate………………………………………………………………………………..                       11

Postgraduate ………………………………………………………………………………….                          11

Qualification descriptors……………………………………………………………………….  12

Naming of qualifications……………………………………………………………………….  12

Qualifications and academic transcripts……………………………………………………                13

Language of qualification certificates and academic transcripts………………….  13

Transcript supplement………………………………………………………………………  14

Admission to higher education ………………………………………………………………                       14

Progression within the framework ………………………………………………………….                      15

IMPLEMENTATION AND TRANSffiONAL ARRANGEIIIIENTS ……………………………..             16

Implementation  date …………………………………………………………………………..  16

Programmes and qualifications………………………………………………………………                   16

New programmes and qualifications…………………………………………………….                16

Existing programmes and qualifications………………………………………………..               16

Admission to higher education ………………………………………………………………                        17

New programmes…………………………………………………………………………….  17

Existing programmes………………………………………………………………………..  17

Full compliance ………………………………………………………………………………….                      17

Higher Education Management Information  System……………………………………            18

APPENDIX 1…………………………………………………………………………………………           19

HIGHER EDUCATION QUALIFICATION  DESCRIPTORS ………………………………..  19

Higher Certificate ……………………………………………………………………………….               19

Advanced Certificate……………………………………………………………………………                         20

Diploma ……………………………………………………………………………………………  21

Advanced Diploma………………………………………………………………………………                          22

Bachelor’s Degree ………………………………………………………………………………  23

Bachelor Honours Degree…………………………………………………………………….  25

Postgraduate Diploma …………………………………………………………………………                            26

Master’s Degree …………………………………………………………………………………                   27

Doctoral Degree…………………………………………………………………………………  29

THE NEW FRAMEWORIK IN CONTEXT

A single qualifications framework for a diverse system

Education White Paper 3, A Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education (1997),proposed a single qualifications framework for a single coordinated higher education sector. It has taken time, but this document makes good on that undertaking. It replaces the following policy documents:

A Qualification Structure for Universities in South Africa – NATED Report 116 (99/02)

General Policy for Technikon Instructional Programmes – 1JATED Report 150 (97/01)

Formal Technikon Instructional Programmes in the RSA – NATED Report 151 (99/01)

Revised Qualifications Framework for Educators in Schooling, in Norms and Standards for Educators (Government Gazette No. 20844, February, 2000). In addition, the Criteria for the Rcecognition and Evaluation of Qualifications for Employment in Education will be amended to ensure consistency with this policy.

The policy also provides the basis for integrating all higher education qualifications into the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and its structures for standards generation and quality assurance. It improves the coherence of the higher education system and  facilitates the  articulation of  qualifications, thereby enhancing the flexibility of the system and enabling students to move more efficiently over time from one programme to  another as they pursue their  academic or professional careers.

Public confidence in academic standards of  higher education institutions requires public understanding of  the  achievements represented by  higher education qualifications. The qualifications framework is thus  designed to  be readily understood and to  ensure a consistent use of  qualification titles and their designators and qualifiers.

The new qualifications framework establishes common parameters and criteria for qualifications design and facilitates the comparability of  qualifications across the system. Within such common parameters programme diversity and innovation are encouraged.  Higher  education  institutions  will   have  ample  scope  to   design educational offerings to realise their different visions, missions and plans and to meet the varying needs of the clients and communities they serve.

The policy thus operates within the context of a single but diverse and differentiated higher education system. It applies to all  higher education programmes and qualifications offered in South Africa by public and private institutions.

The framework  and the NQF

The higher education qualifications framework is an integral part of the NQF. The terms used in this policy are therefore consistent with NQF practice.

A qualification is the formal recognition and certification of learning achievement awarded by an accredited institution. The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) stipulates that  the  learning outcomes of  all South African qualifications should include critical cross-field or generic skills to promote lifelong learning as well as discipline, domain-specific or specialised knowledge, skills and reflexivity. The format for qualification specification, where appropriate, should include the title and purpose of  the qualification, its  NQF level, credits, rules of combination for  its learning components, exit-level outcomes and associated assessment criteria, entry requirements, forms of integrated assessment, and arrangements for the recognition of prior learning and for moderation of assessment. The recognition of prior learning should enable potential students, including those who had suffered disadvantage in the past to be admitted to particular higher education programmes depending on their assessed knowledge  and skills.

A programme is a purposeful and structured set of learning experiences that leads to a qualification. Programmes may be discipline based, professional, career-focused, trans-, inter- or multi-disciplinary in nature. A programme has recognised entry and exit points. All higher education programmes and qualifications must have a core component and may have a fundamental and or elective component depending on the purpose of the programme or the qualification. The credit allocation for core, fundamental and elective learning will depend on the purpose of the programme or qualification.  The internal organisation of programmes is otherwise not prescribed by this document.

The Ministry of Education has overall responsibility for norms and standards for higher education, including the  qualifications structure  for  the  higher education system.

This policy determines the qualifications structure for higher education, which is the Ministry’s prerogative. The  Ministry recognises that  professional bodies have a distinct  role,  derived  from  legislation or  undertaken in  terms  of  international professional conventions and agreements, to  set    requirements for  professional registration,  membership  or  licensing, and  to   regulate   professional conduct. Professional bodies determine  whether  a  particular  qualification  offered  by  a particular  higher  education institution  meets the  requirements for  registration, membership or licensing. This policy does not deal with such matters, which fall outside the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.

Similarly, this policy recognises the responsibility of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for registering standards and qualifications in terms of the SAQA Act, 1995 (Act No. 58 of 1995) and the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council on Higher Education’s responsibility for quality assurance in higher education in terms of the Higher Education Act, 1997.

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) is also assigned the responsibility for the generation and setting of standards for all higher education qualifications and for ensuring that such qualifications meet SAQA’s criteria for registration on the NQF in terms of section 1 (f) (ii) of the Higher Education Act.

Standards registered for  higher  education qualifications must  have legitimacy, credibility and a common, well-understood meaning, and they  must provide benchmarks to guide the  development, implementation and quality assurance of programmes leading to  qualifications. The  CHE will  put  in  place appropriate safeguards to ensure the integrity  of standards generation and quality assurance processes respectively.

Standards generation in higher education

The framework incorporates a nested approach to qualifications design. Within a nested  approach  to   standards  setting,  qualification  specification  requires  a movement from generic to specific outcomes. The most generic standards are found in the level descriptors. The most specific standards are found in the programmes that lead to qualifications. Specific standards always meet the requirements of the generic standards within  which they  are nested or  framed. Within this broader context, the focus of the HEQF is on qualification type descriptors – the second layer of a nested approach.

The nested approach also allows for the appropriate allocation of jurisdictions and responsibilities and can potentially minimise the volume of national standards-setting required for higher education.

The NQF level and its  level descriptor form the outer and most generic layer of qualification specification. The  level descriptors describe the  required generic competencies at each level of cognitive complexity in the HEQF.

One or more recognised qualification types such as a certificate, a diploma or a degree is pegged to each NQF level. A qualification descriptor specifies tile exit level of       the   qualification  type,    its    minimum  credit  rating   and   its    purpose  and characteristics. A qualification type must meet the generic competencies described in the level descriptor for the level concerned. The basic qualification types, namely certificates, diplomas and degrees, are used as points of reference for the design of specialised qualifications and the programmes that deliver them.

Jhe next layer of qualification specialisation nested within the qualification type is the designator.   For example, a Bachelor of Science degree is a designator of the

generic  Bachelor’s degree.  Such  designators apply  only  to  degrees  and  not  to certificates or diplomas. A degree designator describes a generic field of study and is stated in the qualification nomenclature and described through statements of desired educational  training  and  outcomes  and  their  associated assessment criteria.  A designator meets the generic specifications laid down for the  qualification type of which it  is a variant. For example, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) complies with the generic requirements for a Bachelor’s degree.

The last and most specific layer of qualification specification in the nest, on which most programmes are based, is the  qualification specialisation. This is reflected in the  qualification’s qualifier. For example, the learning outcomes and specifications for a BSc (Hans) in Geology meet the learning demands and specifications laid down for a BSc (Hans) and include specialised learning outcomes related to the field of Geology.

Qualifications, volumes of learning and credits

The framework is a qualifications framework, represented by level descriptors, the main              qualification   types     and     their     descriptors,    qualification    standards    and designators for  designated variants  and standards and  qualifiers  for  qualification specialisations.

Level descriptors and qualification descriptors are expressed in terms of learning outcomes. The design of programmes makes assumptions about the volume of learning that is likely to be necessary to achieve the intended outcomes. Currently within  the higher education system, this measure of volume may be expressed in terms of study time, for example the number of academic years of study required, or the number of notional hours of study, expressed as credits.

In this regard, this framework recognises credits as the   measure of the volume of learning required for a qualification and not academic years of study; quantified as the number of notional study hours required for achieving the learning outcomes specified for the qualification. The credit rating of a qualification is independent of the mode of delivery of learning. The attainment of the expected learning outcomes is demonstrated through appropriate assessment.

The volume of learning required for a qualification can be specified in terms of the total minimum number of credits required, and in terms of the minimum number of credits required at its specified exit level on the qualifications framework. Where appropriate  the  maximum  number  of  credits  from  the  preceding  level  may  be specified.

Jhcredit-rating  system rates 10 notional study hours as equivalent to one credit. Certificate, Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree and Bachelor (Honours) Degree qualification types assume a 30-week full-time  academic year. Master’s Degree and Doctoral qualification types assume a 45-week full-time academic year. An average full-time equivalent  student  is  expected  to  study  for  a  40-hour  week,  thus  requiring  a minimum credit-load of 120 credits per academic year for Certificates, Diplomas and

Bachelor’s Degrees and  180  credits per academic year  for  Master’s Degrees and

Doctorates.

Credit ratings  specified on the  framework  are  minima.  Programmes may require credit loads above the minimum.

Study leading directly to a qualification will normally  build upon assessed learning from earlier stages of a programme but it may also build on assessed prior learning achieved by private study, in the workplace or elsewhere.

Accumulation of credits towc1rds qualifications

Credit accumulation and transfer (CAT) is the process whereby a student’s achievements are recognised and contribute to further  learning even if the student does not achieve a qualification, and whereby credits obtained at one institution may be recognised by another  as meetin9 part of the requirements for a qualification; where credits for an incomplete qualification may  be recognised as meeting part of the requirements for a different qualification, and where, subject to limits, credits for

a completed qualification may be recognised as meeting part of the requirements of another qualification.

Any and all credits for  an incomplete qualification may be recognised as meeting part  of  the  requirements  for  a  different  qualification  in  the  same or  different institution.

7rhe Ministry of Education intends to undertake systematic work on the development of a national higher education CAT scheme in collaboration with the higher education community, the CHE and SAQA. In the interim, a maximum  of  50% credits of a completed qualification  may be transferred  to  another  qualification, provided also that no more than 50% of the credits required for the other  qualification are credits that have been used for a completed qualification.

Work Integrated Learning

Some qualifications will  be designed to incorporate  periods of  required work that integrate  with  classroom  study.  Where  Work  Integrated   Learning  (WIL)   is  a structured part of a qualification the volume of learning allocated to WIL should be appropriate to the purpose of the qu21lification and to the cognitive demands of the learning outcome and assessment criteria contained in the appropriate level descriptors.

It is the responsibility of institutions, which offer programmes requiring WIL credits to place students into  WIL programmes. Such programmes  must be appropriately structured, properly supervised and assessed.

THE FRAMEWORK

Characteristics

The higher education qualifications framework is designed to:

  • Be sufficiently  flexible  to  accommodate  different   types  of  higher  education institutions and enable institutions to pursue their own curriculum goals with creativity and innovation;
  • Facilitate the education of graduates who will contribute to the social, cultural and economic development  of  South Africa and participate  successfully in the global economy and knowledge society;
  • Enhance the development of a vibrant, high quality research system;
  • Be compatible with international  qualifications  frameworks  in  order to  ensure international recognition and comparability of standards;
  • Be suitably flexible to accommodate the development of new qualification types and specialisations as the need arises;
  • Be simple, clear, easy to understand and user-friendly for the higher education system and its clients;
  • Facilitate qualification articulation across the higher education system and assist students to identify potential progression routes, particularly in the context of lifelong learning; and
  • Articulate with the rest of the NQF.

Scope and application

The HEQF applies to  all higher  education institutions,  both  public and private. It complements other policies of the Minister of Education in higher education.

The HEQF regulates and specifies all higher education qualification types, including qualifications based on  unit  standards, in the  higher  education  system and their designators and qualifiers, and the manner in which the qualifications are designed and relate to one another. It does not deal with nor does it prejudice the design and registration of unit standards to meet specific learning outcomes.

Number of levels and level descriptors

The National Qualifications Framework has ten levels. Higher education qualifications occupy six levels of the NQF, levels 5 to 10. Levels 5-7 are undergraduate and levels

8-10 are postgraduate.

Each NQF level has a level descriptor. Level descriptors provide guidelines for differentiating the varying levels of complexity of qualifications on the framework.

The level descriptors are the outermost layer of qualification specification. At each level they describe the generic nature of learning achievements and their complexity. Level descriptors are thus broad qualitative statements against which more specific learning outcomes can be developed, compared and located. The positioning of two or more qualifications on the same NQF level only indicates that the qualifications are broadly comparable in terms  of the general level of learning achievements. It does not indicate that they have the same purpose, content or outcomes (except at the   generic   level  of   critical   cross-field   outcomes),   nor   does   it   necessarily demonstrate equivalence of qualifications.

Qualification types

The framework has nine qualification types mapped onto the six levels of the NQF occupied by higher education qualifications.   Some levels have more than one qualification type. The framework comprises the following qualification types:

Undergraduate

  • Higher Certificate
  • Advanced Certificate
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Bachelor’s Degree

Postgraduate

  • Postgraduate Diploma
  • Bachelor Honours Degree
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree

The nine qualification types and their designated variants are expected to accommodate present requirements but the list is not immutable. The Minister, on the  advice  of  the  CHE, may  approve  a  new  qualification  type  and  its  unique descriptor when a proven need arises as a result of  developments in knowledge production or acknowledged international practice. The use of qualification types is regulated by this policy. A qualification  type may only  be used if the qualification fulfils the specifications for the type.

Qualification descriptors

Each qualification type has a unique descriptor stating its purpose and how it relates to other qualification types.

Qualification descriptors designate the specifications such as the 1IQF exit level and credit-rating, purpose and characteristics of qualification types recognised by the framework. Each descriptor is a point of reference, which enables comparisons with other qualifications and provides a basis for designing, approving and reviewing programmes. All  qualifications  using  the  same  qualification  type  (and  where appropriate, designated variant) in their titles must be consistent with the descriptor for each qualification type as defined in this policy.

Descriptors for the  nine qUalification  types recognised by the  framework are at

Appendix 1.

Naming of qualifications

Th.e qualification type is the first name given to a qualification.

The designator is the second name given to a qualification, to indicate its broad area of study, discipline or profession. All degrees (Bachelor, Master and Doctor) have designated variants of the degree type, but designators are not used for certificates and diplomas. The linking word between the qualification type and the designator is of(e.g. Bachelor ofSocial Science), and when abbreviated the ‘of’ is omitted (e.g. BSocS).                                                                                               .

The Council on Higher Education (CHE), is hereby mandated in terms of section

,S(l)(f)   of the Higher Education Act to determine and publish the criteria to  be

ppplied in  adopting  degree  designators and  qualifiers,  including  exceptions as appropriate. 1lo  designator or qualifier may be used in a   qualification unless it is consistent with  the  criteria  determined by  the  CHE in  terms  of  this  policy. In registering standards for higher education qualifications,  SAQA will ensure that the naming of  higher education qualifications, including degree designators, are consistent with this  policy, to ensure that  the nomenclature of higher education qualifications is applied consistently.

The third name given to a qualification type is the qualifier. Qualifiers may be used in all qualification types in order to indicate a field of specialisation. The linking word between the qualification type or its designator and the qualifier is always in (e.g. Bachelor of  Arts  in  Linguistics., Bachelor of  Engineering in  Electronics).  When abbreviated, the  in  is  dropped and the  qualifier is  placed in brackets (e.g. BA (Linguistics), BEng (Electronics)). Bachelors degrees may include a second qualifier. The second qualifier qualifies the first. An example would be a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Electronics. When abbreviated, the in is dropped and the qualifiers are placed in brackets, e.g. BSc  (Eng)  (Electronics). The CHE will determine all

primary qualifiers for  bachelor’s de<grees,  honours and masters degrees, and institutions may add secondary qualifiers.

In the case of qualifications  where there is no designator, the qualifier follows immediately after  the  qualification type (e.g.  Postgraduate Diploma in  Drama/ abbreviated to PG Dip (Drama)).

A further area of specialisation for a qualification may be indicated as above; in being the linking word to the second qualifier (e.g. Postgraduate Diploma in Drama in Performance, abbreviated to PG Dip (Drama) (Performance}).

In  order to use a qualifier, at least 50% of the minimum total credits for the qualification and at least 50% of the minimum credits at the qualification’s exit level must be in the field of specialisation denoted by the qualifier. The same applies to the  use of a second qualifier. Qualifilers and second qualifiers are attached to  a qualification type and designators are subject to the criteria set by the CHE.

Qualifications and academic transcripts

Award of qualifications

Qualifications are awarded to  mark  the  achievement of  defined outcomes. No qualification may be awarded as compensation for a student’s failure at a higher level,or by default.

Issue of transcripts

An academic transcript is not a qualification but a document issued by an institution to  provide a descriptive record of  tile  learning a  student has achieved at that institution, whether or not a qualification has been awarded.

If a student is unable to complete a qualification and must exit the institution, an academic transcript of the student’s record will assist the admitting authorities if the student wishes to complete the qualification later or register for a different qualification. A transcript issued by a higher education institution must be a full academic record of the student concerned at that institution.

Language of qualification certificates and academic transcripts

The language of each qualification certificate and transcript issued to a student within  the South African higher education system must  be consistent with  the Ministry of Education’s Language Policy for  Higher Education (Pretoria, November

2002) and the approved language policy of the issuing institution. A central aspect of

the Ministry’s policy is the promotion of multilingualism.

To   enable  employers,  academic  institutions,  parents  and   others  (including international academic institutions or employers) to understand the achievements

and attributes represented by a qualification title, a certificate or transcript must be issued in English in addition to any other official language.

The  use of  Latin in  qualification  certificates  has been  practised by  some South African institutions  as a historical legacy. Its  continued use for this purpose is not encouraged but is left to the discretion of individual institutions. A certificate in Latin must also be in English in addition to any other official language.

Transcript supplement

In order to improve the portability and transparency of qualifications, each transcript issued by a higher education institution  to a current  or former student must have attached to it an official supplement. The supplement must provide a description of the nature, level, content and where appropriate the context of the studies pursued by a student and assessed by the institution. The Minister of Education will propose the  format  and  use of  the  supplement  after  consultation  with  higher  education institutions and on advice from the Council on Higher Education.

Admission to higher education

The framework is intended to facilitate articulation between further and higher education and within  higher  education. However, the  possession of a qualification does not guarantee a student’s progression and admission to a programme of study.

In terms of the Higher Education Act, 1997 the decision to admit a student to higher education study is the right and responsibility of the higher education institution concerned.  A  higher  education   institution’s   admissions  policy  and  practice  is expected to advance the objectives of the Act and the NQF and must be consistent with this policy.

The minimum  requirement  for  admission to  a higher  education institution  from  1

January 2009 is the National Senior Certificate, whose specifications were approved by  the  Minister  of  Education  in  the  document  National  Senior  Certificate  A qualification at  level 4 on the  National Qualifications Framework published in the Government  Gazette, Vol.  481,  llo.  27819,  July  2005.  Given the  diversity  of programmes  and qualifications  in  higher  education, the  Minister has declared as policy the  Minimum  Admission Requirements for  Higher  Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree Programmes requiring a National Senior Certificate, published in the Government Gazette, Vol. 482, No. 27961, August 2005. These minima must be met by all applicants to entry  level higher education qualifications. Applicants with different  qualifications may only be admitted in they are judged equivalent by the designated equivalence-setting bodies.

Progression within the framework

The framework is designed to facilitate vertical, horizontal and diagonal progression. Vertical progression is the norm and the minimum requirements for such progression between qualification types  are  stipulated in  the  qualification type  descriptors. Students may progress horizontally between qualifications if they meet the minimum requirements for admission to the target qualification. Students may progress diagonally between qualifications by presenting a completed qualification or credits towards a qualification in  a cognate study area, and must  meet the  minimum requirements for admission to the target qualification, which they will often do by virtue of the credits obtained towards a cognate qualification

The general principle must be that the admitting institution  is satisfied that the applicant has competence in the  appropriate field of  intended study at the appropriate entry level of the target qualification.

The point of entry in the target programme must be such that at least 120 or 180 credits,  for   undergraduate  and   postgraduate  programmes  respectively,  are undertaken at the exit level. For example, a student may present a Higher Certificate for admission to the second year of a cognate Diploma programme, or a student may be admitted to the second year of a cognate Bachelor’s degree programme after completing the first year of study of a Diploma programme, or a student who has completed academic credits towards one qualification may be exempted from certain requirements in a cognate qualification, or a Master’s student’s candidature may be upgraded to a Doctoral programme. In  all cases, the admittin9 institution must be satisfied that the applicant has the necessary competence.

With due regard to the  policies, requirements and guidelines of the HEQC, institutions may recognise other forms of prior learning as equivalent to the prescribed minimum admission requirements, and may recognise other forms of prior learning for entry to given programmes. In this regard, vertical progression is possible where a person with a given qualification adds to that which is required to gain entry to a higher qualification type. In all cases, the admitting institution must be satisfied that the applicant has the necessary competence.

In  the  interest  of  transparency, each higher education institution  must clearly stipulate the requirements that  must be satisfied for  admission and make these requirements publicly accessible.

With regard to a student who fails to complete the requirements for a qualification, the  general  principle  is  that  this  student may  not  be  awarded an  early-exit qualification. For example, a  student who fails to  meet  the requirements for  a Master’s degree may not be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in lieu of the Master’s pegree.

IMPLEMENTATION AND TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

Implementation date

The  implementation date  for  this  policy  is  1 January 2009.  However, higher education institutions will need some time to phase out their existing qualifications in terms of this policy, so there will be a transition period to full compliance. The Minister of Education shall determine the date by notice in the Government Gazette.

Programmes and qualifications

New programmes and qualifications

A new programme or qualification is one which has not existed before or has been significantly changed, such as when its purpose, outcomes, field of study, mode or site of delivery has been changed to a considerable extent.

New higher education qualifications submitted for registration on the NQF must conform to  the requirements of  this  policy from the date of  implementation, 1

January 2009.

Institutions must ensure that new programmes scheduled to begin in 2009 meet the requirements of this policy.

Existing programmes and qualifications

Existing qualifications are those that have been registered or interim registered on the. NQF prior to the promulgation of this policy. Existing programmes are those that lead to such qualifications and have been accredited by the HEQC  or the former Universities and Technikons Advisory Council (AUT), or its predecessors.

Existing qualifications and programmes that  are currently offered by higher education institutions must conform over time with the requirements of this policy or must be de-registered and withdrawn. The Minister of  Education will determine appropriate transitional arrangements after consultation with the Council on Higher Education, the  South African Qualifications Authority  and  higher education institutions.

Admission to higher education

New programmes

From  1 January  2009  the  mtmmum  admission  requirement   for  entry  to  new programmes will be as set out in Gazette notice number 27961 of August 2005.

Existing programmes

From 1 January 2009 and until the date determined by the Minister in terms of this section the following will apply:

  • The minimum admission requirements for Higher Certificate will be used for admission to the National Certificate as defined in NATED Report 150
  • The minimum admission requirements for Diploma will be used for admission to the  National Diploma and  the  University Diploma as defined in  NATED Report 150 and 116 respectively.
  • The minimum admission requirements for Bachelor’s Degree will be used for admission to the Bachelor’s Degree as defined in NATED Report 116.

Full compliance

All  higher   education  programmes  and  qualifications  and  all  higher  education admission policies must comply with tbis policy by a date determined by the Minister by notice in the Government Gazette.

Higher Education Management Information System

Details of  qualifications approved and accredited in  terms  of  this  policy will be recorded on the national higher education database, in accordance with the rules of the Department of Education’s Higher Education Information  Management System (HEMIS).

The fields in the HEMIS qualifications file will be amended to ensure consistency with this policy.

In  HEMIS, the properties of a qualification determine the total number of units of state   subsidy approved by the  Minister of Education for  that  qualification. The record of subsidy units per qualification is an essential part of the determination of full-time equivalent student totals. In turn these enable the Department of Education to calculate the annual subsidy  grant for each public higher education institution. Subsidy units are at present described for each qualification in terms of “approved total  years”, “approved  formal  years”,  and “approved  experiential years”. The Department will ensure consistency between this policy and the Higher Education Management Information System.

Recording minimum study hours as sets of credits will not conflict with other properties of qualifications in the HEMIS national database.

APPENDIX 1

HIGHER EDUCATION QUALIFICATION  DESCRIPTORS

Higher Certificate

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level 5

Minimum total credits: 120

Minimum credits at Level 5: 120

Designators

Not applicable

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum two

Example: Higher Certificate in Tourism in Eco-Tourism

Abbreviations

  1. Cert. (Tourism), H. Cert. (Tourism) (Eco-tourism)

Purpose and characteristics

This is an   entry-level higher education qualification. The qualification  is primarily

vocational, or industry  oriented. The qualification also serves to  provide  students with the basic introductory knowledge, cognitive and conceptual tools and practical techniques for further  higher education studies in their chosen field of study. The knowledge emphasises general principles and application. This qualification signifies that the student has attained a basic level of higher education knowledge and competence in a particular field or occupation and is capable of applying such knowledge and competence in an occupation or role in the workplace. The Higher Certificate typically includes a simulated work experience or work integrated learning (WIL) component.

Minimum admission requirements

The minimum  entry requirement is the National Senior Certificate with appropriate subject combinations and levels of achievement as defined in the Minister’s policy, (1i(7imum Admission Requirements for  Higher  Certificater Diploma  and  Bachelor’s Degree Programmes Requiring a National Senior Certificate, Government Gazette, Vol. 482, No. 27961, 18 August 2005.

Progression

Completion  of  the  Higher  Certificate  meets  the  m1mmum entry  requirement  for admission to an appropriate Advanced Certificate. Accumulated credits may also be presented for admission into a cognate Diploma. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Higher Certificate programme.

Advanced Certificate

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level: 6

Minimum total credits: 120 l”linimum credits at Level 6: 120

Designators

Not applicable

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum two

Example: Advanced Certificate in Real Estate in Property Marketing

Abbreviations

Adv. Cert. (Real Estate), Adv. Cert. (Real Estate)      (Property Marketing)

Purpose and characteristics

This  qualification  is  primarily  vocational,  or  industry  oriented.  The  knowledge emphasises   general   principles    and    application     or     technology    transfer.     The qualification provides students with a sound knowledge base in a particular field or discipline and the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to particular career or professional contexts,  while  equipping  them  to  undertake  more  specialised and intensive learning. Programmes leading to this qualification tend to  have a strong vocational, professional or career focus and holders of this qualification are normally prepared  to  enter  a  specific  niche  in  the  labour  market.  Advanced Certificate programmes  typically  include  a  simulated  work  experience  or  work  integrated learning (WIL) component.

Minimum admission requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a Higher Certificate in the appropriate field.

Progression

Completion of the Advanced Certificate meets the minimum entry requirement into a cognate Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree. Accumulated credits may also be presented for admission into cognate Diploma or Bachelor’s degree programmes. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from an Advanced Certificate programme.

Diploma

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level: 6

Minimum total credits: 360

Minimum credits at Level 7: 60

Maximum total credits at Level 5: 120

Designators

Not applicable

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum two

Example: Diploma in Management in Finance

Abbreviations

Dip. (Management), Dip. (Management)   (Finance)

Purpose and characteristics

This  qualification  is  primarily  professional,  vocational  or  industry  specific.  The knowledge  emphasises  general  principles  and  application.  The  purpose  of  the Diploma is to develop graduates who can demonstrate focused knowled Je and skills in a particular  field. Typically they  will  have  gained experience in  applying  such knowledge  and  skills  in  a  workplace                         context.   A  depth   and  specialisation  of knowledge, together  with practical skills and experience in the  workplace, enable successful students to enter a number of career paths and to apply their learning to particular employment  contexts from  the  outset.  Vocational diploma programmes typically  include  a  simulated work  experience  or  work  integrated  learning  (WIL) component.

Minimum admission requirements

The minimum entry requirement is the National Senior Certificate with appropriate subject combinations and levels of achievement, as defined in the Minister’s policy, Minimum Admission Requirements for  Higher Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree Programmes Requiring a National Senior Certificate, Government Gazette, Vol. 482, No. 27961,  18 August 2005.  Alternatively a Higher Certificate or Advanced ertificate  in a cognate field will satisfy the minimum requirement.

Progression

Completion of a Diploma meets the minimum entry requirement for admi1ssion to an Advanced Diploma  or  to  a  Bachelor’s degree.  Accumulated credits  may  also be presented   for   admission   into   a   cognate   Bachelor’s  Degree   programme.   A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Diploma programme.

Advanced Diploma

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level: 7

Minimum total credits: 120

Minimum credits at Level 7: 120

Designators

Not applicable

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum two

Examples: Advanced Diploma in Taxation; Advanced Diploma in Communication, in

Digital Media

Abbreviations

Adv. Dip (Taxation), Adv. Dip (Communication) (Digital Media)

Purpose and characteristics

This qualification  has a number  of  different  purposes, depending on a student’s circumstances  and  the  nature  of  the  programme.  It may  provide  intellectual enrichment, enhance  flexibility  in  the  light  of  changing circumstances, enable  a change in career path, or offer an intensive, focused and applied specialisation which meets  the  requirements  of  a  specific niche  in  the  labour  market.  Programmes offering  this qualification will provide an Advanced Diploma graduate with  a deep and systematic understanding of current thinking, practice, theory and methodology in  an  area  of  specialisation. It is  therefore  particularly  suitable  for  continuing professional development.

The qualification may also provide entry-level vocational or professional preparation or specialisation for Bachelor’s Degree graduates. For example a BSocSci graduate might register for an Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management in order to enter the area of human resources, BSc graduate might  register for an Advanced Diploma in Education, in Secondary Education in order to become a science teacher, or a BSc (Pharm) graduate might register for an Advanced Diploma in Marketing in order to become a marketing consultant in the pharmaceutical industry.

Minimum admission requirements

An appropriate Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree

Progression

Completion of an Advanced Diploma may be presented for entry into a Postgraduate Diploma or  a Bachelor’s Degree. Accumulated credits  may also be presented for entry into a cognate Bachelor’s degree. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from an Advanced Diploma.

Bachelor’s Degree

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level: 7

Minimum total credits: 360

Minimum credits at Level 7: 120

Maximum total credits at Level 5: 96

or

NQF Exit Level: 8

Minimum total credits: 480

IVIinimum credits at level 7:120

Minimum credits at Level 8: 96

Maximum total credits at Level 5: 96

Designators

Bachelor’s Degree designators are specific and limited  to broad and generic areas of study, disciplines  or  professions.  Examples  include:  Bachelor  of  Arts, Bachelor  of Social Science, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Agriculture, Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Business Science.

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum  two

Abbreviations

BA, BSc, BSocSci, BCom, LLB, BAgric, IVIBChB, BEd, BBusScir BSc (Life Sciences)    1 BA (Applied  Linguistics),   BAgric  (Animal  Science),  BCom  (Human   Resource Management), BBusSci (Actuarial Sciences)

Purpose and characteristics

This qualification  has as the primary  purpose of providing  a well-rounded, broad education that  equips graduates  with the  knowledge  base, theory  and methodology of disciplines, and enables them to demonstrate initiative  and responsibility in an academic or professional  context.  Principles and theory  are emphasised  as a basis for entry into the labour market, professional training,  postgraduate studies, or professional practice in a wide range of careers.

Bachelor1S  degrees  may be structured  with  an exit  at levels 7 or 8 om the National

Qualifications Framework.

Bachelor1S    Degrees  exiting   at   level  8  are   often   referred   to   as  “professional” Bachelor’s  Degreesr  and  have  both  a  higher   volume  of  learning  and  a  greater cognitive  demand  than those exiting  at level 7. Some require  a practicum  or work­ based component.  A professional Bachelor’s Degree demands high intellectual independence   and   development   of   research   capacity   in  the   methodology  and

techniques of that discipline. A professional Bachelor’s Degree generally leads to further professional development or study for a Master’s Degree.

Some professional Bachelor’s Degree programme are designed in consultation with a professional body and  recognised by a professional body as a requirement  for a licence  to   practice  that   profession.  Such  a  qualification  requires  a  thorough grounding in the knowledge, theory, principles and skills of the profession or career concerned and the ability to apply these to professional or career contexts.

Minimum admission requirements

The minimum entry requirement is the National Senior Certificate with appropriate subject combinations and levels of achievement,  as defined in the Minister’s policy, Minimum Admission Requirements for Higher Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree Programmes Requiring a National Senior Certificate, Government Gazette, Vol. 482, No. 27961, 18 August 2005.

Progression

A Bachelor’s Degree is the minimum entry requirement for admission to a Bachelor Honours Degree or Postgraduate Diploma.   A 480 credit Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of 96 credits at level 8 may also meet  the minimum requirement for admission to a cognate Master’s Degree.  Entry into these qualifications is usually in the area of specialisation or in  the  discipline taken  as a major  in the Bachelor’s Degree. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor Honours Degree

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level: 8

1llinimum total credits: 120

Minimum credits at Level 8: 120

Designators

Bachelor Honours Degree designators are specific and limited to broad and generic

areas  of  study,  disciplines  or  professions. Examples  include:  Bachelor  of  Arts Honours, Bachelor of Social Science Honours, Bachelor of Science Honours, Bachelor of Commerce Honours.

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum one

Examples: Bachelor of Science Honours in Microbiology or Bachelor of Arts Honours in Applied Linguistics

Abbreviations

BAHons,  BScHons,  BSocSciHons, BComHons,  BScHons  (Microbiology),   BAHons

(Applied Linguistics)

Purpose and characteristics

The    Bachelor  Honours   Degree  is  a   postgraduate   specialisation  qualification, characterised by the fact that it prepares students for research based postgraduate study. This qualification typically follows a Bachelor’s Degree, and serves to consolidate and  deepen  the  student’s expertise in  a  particular  discipline, and  to develop research capacity in the methodology and techniques of that discipline. This qualification demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence. In some cases a Bachelor Honours Degree carries recognition by an appropriate professional or statutory body.

Bachelor Honours Degree programmes must include conducting and reporting research under supervision, worth at least 30 credits, in a manner that is appropriate to the discipline or field of study.

r-t.inimum admission requirements

  • rhe minimum admission requirement is an appropriate Bachelor’s Degree.

Progression

Completion of a Bachelor Honours Degree meets the minimum entry requirement for admission to a cognate Master’s Degree. Entry into a Master’s Degree programme is usually in the area of specialisation of the Bachelor Honours Degree. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Bachelor Honours degree.

Postgraduate Diploma

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level 8

Minimum total credits: 120

Minimum credits at Level 8: 120

Designators

Not applicable

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum two

Examples: Postgraduate Diploma in Organisational and Management Systems; Postgraduate Diploma in Gender Studies or Postgraduate Diploma in Agriculture in Rural Resource Managment

Abbreviations

PG Dip (Organisational & Management Systems), PG Dip (Gender Studies), PG Dip

(Agriculture) (Rural Resource Management)

Purpose and characteristics

A Postgraduate Diploma  is generally multi-  or interdisciplinary  in nature but  may serve to strengthen and deepen the student’s knowledge in a particular discipline or profession. The primary  purpose of the  qualification  is to  enable working professionals to  undertake  advanced reflection  and  development  by  means of  a systematic survey of current  thinking, practice and research methods in an area of specialisation. This qualification demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence. A sustained research project is not required but the qualification may include conducting and reporting research under supervision.

Minimum  admission requirements

The minimum admission requirement is an appropriate Bachelor’s Degree.

Progression

Completion of a Postgraduate Diploma meets the  minimum  entry requirement  for admission to a cognate Master’s Degree, usually in the area of specialisation of the postgraduate Diploma. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Postgraduate Diploma.

Master’s Degree

Type specifications

NQF Exit Level 9

Minimum total credits: 180

Minimum credits at Level 9: 120

Designators

The designators for the Master’s Degree describe the disciplinary or career focused

base of the qualification. Examples include: Master of Artsr Master of Science, Master of Medicine, Master of Social Science, Master of Commerce, Master of Laws, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education.

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum one

Examples: Master of Arts in Linguistics or Master of Science in Astrophysics

Abbreviations

MA, MA (Linguistics), MSc, MPhil, MSc (Astrophysics)

Purpose and characteristics

The primary purposes of a Master’s Degree are to educate and train researchers who can contribute to the development of knowledge at an advanced level, or prepare graduates for advanced and specialised professional employment. A Master’s Degree must have a significant research component.

A Master’s Degree may be earned in either of two ways: (1) by completing a single dvanced research project, culminating in the production and acceptance of a thesis or dissertation, or (2) by successfully completing a course work programme requiring a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence and a research project, culminating  in  the  acceptance of  a  dissertation.  In  the  latter  case, a minimum of 60 credits at level 9 must be devoted to conducting and reporting research.

Master’s graduates must be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements using data and information  at their disposal and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, act autonomously in planning  and implementing  tasks at a professional or equivalent level, and continue to advance their knowledge/ understanding and skills.

Minimum  admission requirements

The minimum admission requirement is a relevant Bachelor Honours Degree. A “professional” Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum  of 96 credits at level 8 or a Postgraduate Diploma may also be recognised as meeting the minimum entry requirement to a cognate Master’s Degree programme.

Progression

Completion  of  a  Master’s  Degree  meets  the   mtmmum  entry  requirement  for admission to a cognate Doctoral Degree, usually in the area of specialisation in the Master’s Degree. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Master’s Degree.

Doctoral Degree

Type specifications

1JQF Exit Level 10

Minimum total credits: 360

Minimum credits at Level 10: 360

Designators

The designator of Philosophy is typically used for doctoral degrees. However, other

designators may be used to denote the areas of study or the name of the discipline.

Qualifiers

Specific, maximum one if required

Abbreviations

PhD, DPhil,DEd

Purpose and characteristics

A Doctoral Degree requires a candidate to undertake research at the most advanced academic levels culminating  in  the  submission, assessment and acceptance of  a thesis.  Course work  may  be  required  as  preparation  or  value  addition  to  the research,  but  does not  contribute   to  the  credit  value  of  the  qualification. The defining characteristic of this qualification is that the candidate is required to demonstrate high-level research capability and make a significant and original academic contribution at the frontiers of a discipline or field. The work must be of a quality  to  satisfy peer review  and  merit  publication. The  degree may be earned through  pure discipline-based or multidisciplinary research or applied research. This degree requires a minimum of two years’ full-time  study, usually after completing a

1″1aster’s Degree. A graduate must  be able to supervise and evaluate the research of others in the area of specialisation concerned.

Minimum admission requirements

The minimum admission requirement is usually an appropriate Master’s Degree.

Progression

A Doctoral Degree is the highest qualification awarded within this framework. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Doctoral Degree.