The NQF and the National Learners` Records Database (NLRD)
What is the National Learners` Records Database?
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is responsible for the further development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The primary objective of the NQF is the creation of a single integrated national framework for learning achievements, enhancing the quality of the education and training system in South Africa so that it embraces the concept of life-long learning for all.
One of the features of a quality system such as the NQF is the ability to manage and report information about the system accurately. The NLRD, which has been in operation since November 1999, is the electronic management information system that facilitates the management of the NQF and enables SAQA to report accurately on most aspects of the education and training system of South Africa.
View Presentation: Introduction to the NLRD
The NQF and the National Learners` Records Database (NLRD)
With its reports from the NLRD, SAQA continues to be recognised as the key national source of information for human resource and skills development in policy, infrastructure and planning.
Publication: Mostly Occupational: 2002 to 2011:Trends in NQF-aligned Qualifications and Unit Standards
The third major report of the NLRD was launched in December 2013. The SAQA CEO noted, "We are beginning to see recorded the development of a culture of learning emerging in the workplace. For some, this may be a small start, but it is certainly something to build on and to expand. The call from the Minister of Higher Education and Training is to make every workplace a learning space. Deeper analysis of the NLRD data may further help to shape policies and incentives to steer the system in the direction pointed to by the Minister."
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Publication: Trends in Public Higher Education in South Africa 1995-2004
The second major report of the NLRD was launched in June 2007 by the then-Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor.
Referring to data on the number of graduates from Trends in Public Higher Education in South Africa 1995 to 2004 , the Minister noted that in 1995 there were 542 398 graduates in the available pool. More...
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What information is provided by the NLRD?
The NLRD provides the following information:
- Qualifications and part qualifications (including unit standards) registered on the NQF, their purpose statements, exit level outcomes and assessment criteria, and the NQF sub-framework allocated to each qualification and part qualification;
- The twelve organising fields and the subfields of the NQF;
- Recognised professional bodies and their Professional Designations that are registered on the NQF;
- Quality assuring bodies , including Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and Quality Councils (QCs), and the qualifications and part qualifications for which accreditation has been granted;
- Accredited providers;
- Registered assessors;
- The records of learners who achieve qualifications or part qualifications registered on the NQF and their achievements
This information is not published on the SAQA website, but proof of qualifications achieved can be requested via SAQA`s Verification service: follow the links on the SAQA website or e-mail email@example.com
Most of this information is downloaded to the SAQA website in various ways, in detailed and summary format. Aggregated records and analyses of learner achievements are available via the NLRD`s publications.
How does information get into the NLRD?
Each education and training provider sends its learner achievement data to the quality assuring body that has accredited the provider to offer that particular qualification. These datasets are sent in the format specified by each quality assuring body, and providers are encouraged to obtain these specifications from their quality assuring bodies.
The quality assuring bodies submit their datasets to the NLRD (in the format specified by SAQA) for batch-loading onto the NLRD.
Each Quality Council receives information on qualifications and part qualifications (title, level, credits, purpose statement, outcomes, assessment criteria and much more) that have been developed, within their respective NQF sub-frameworks. Once the accreditation process has been finalised, the Quality Councils submit these qualifications and part qualifications to SAQA`s Directorate for Registration and Recognition (DRR). These are evaluated by DRR, and then handed over to the NLRD for on-line capturing. The qualifications and part qualifications then follow an approval process before being registered on the NQF.
Is information generally available?
Information is downloaded daily from the NLRD to the searchable databases on the SAQA website.
In addition, SAQA provides information to respond to appropriate queries, on the basis that confidentiality is ensured for all sensitive information.
How do I access information on qualifications and unit standards?
Click on Services, then on Qualifications and Part Qualifications (this can also be found under Quicklinks), which will take you to the searchable databases of qualifications and part qualifications. Within this facility, you will also find - concerning the facility and qualifications and part qualifications in general - Help, Frequently Asked Questions, and A guide on searching the database of qualifications and part qualifications, plus summary lists (in Excel) of all registered qualifications and unit standards.
For those clients who need to download large volumes of this data, there is an "XML URL Builder" service available at a subscription fee.
How do I access information on which providers are accredited to offer which qualification?
Search for the relevant qualification on the searchable databases of qualifications and part qualifications. Each qualification shows a list of providers currently accredited to offer it.
How do I access information on Professional Bodies and Professional Designations?
Click on Services, then on Recognised Professional Bodies and Registered Professional Designations, which will take you to the searchable database of Professional Bodies and Professional Designations. There is also a guide on how to use this database.
How do I verify learner achievements of qualifications?
Click on one of the links to Verifications on the SAQA website, or e-mail your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who can make use of the NLRD information?
- Find a full list of the qualifications and part qualifications registered on the NQF.
- Check the accreditation status of providers of the qualifications you wish to study.
- As a provider of education and training, you can:
- See a full list of the qualifications and part qualifications registered on the NQF.
- Find out which quality assuring body is responsible for the quality assurance of the qualifications and part qualifications.
- See your own accreditation status for each of your qualifications and part qualifications.
- As a member of business and industry, you can:
- See a full list of the qualifications and part qualifications registered on the NQF in order to choose which are relevant for your organisation and so plan your training programmes accordingly.
- Find out which providers have been accredited and which quality assuring body is responsible for the quality assurance of the qualifications and part qualifications.
- Verify the achievements of applicants for work, by contacting SAQA`s Verifications Service (see the SAQA website or contact email@example.com).
- See a full list of qualifications and part qualifications registered on the NQF and plan your programme for life-long learning.
- Politicians and government departments benefit from NLRD information as it enables informed policy decisions regarding education and training and human resource development in the areas of industry development, immigration and deployment of available resources.
- Society has authoritative information on the education and training that is available as well as an informed view of the nature and quality of the labour force and education system at a national level.
How do I contact the NLRD at SAQA?
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 012 431 5099, fax 012 431 5051
Major external project assisted by the NLRD: HEQCIS
Based on SAQA`s extensive experience of handling large electronic information systems, SAQA has signed a contract to assist the Council on Higher Education (CHE), to develop, implement and manage its Higher Education Quality Committee Information System (HEQCIS). This system deals primarily with the information concerning Private Higher Institutions, their qualifications and their learners. It is now being expanded to include information on its staff as well. (The corresponding information concerning Public Higher Institutions is dealt with by the Higher Education Management Information System, HEMIS, at the national Department of Higher Education and Training.)
HEQCIS contact details: E-mail email@example.com, tel 012 431 5092, fax 012 431 5051
NLRD assistance to other countries
With the NLRD being the first and only system of its kind in the world, many requests for assistance have been received from other countries, as they develop and implement their NQF information systems. Countries that the NLRD has assisted in various ways over the years include Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Kenya, China, Palestine and Ghana.
Summary of information held on the NLRD
as at 31 March 2014
Learners: 14 503 700
Qualification enrolments and achievements of these learners: 14 345 256
Unit Standard enrolments and achievements (33 574 623) of these learners, submitted by the SETA-ETQAs, and higher education modules (60 303 067), submitted by the CHE: total 93 957 690 (many unit standards and courses per learner)
Assessors: 118 536
A total of 18 831 Assessors are currently registered to assess 916 qualifications.
The registrations of the rest of the Assessors have passed their end dates.
Qualifications that have been through the entire NQF process (New Qualifications):
Currently registered: 1 038
The Foundational Learning Competence (a 40-credit part-qualification) is included in the latter total
Number of new qualifications registered during this reporting period: 18, including the National Senior Certificate for Adults
Provider-based qualifications and learning programmes:
Qualifications and learning programmes currently registered: 9 170
Number of new provider-based qualifications registered during this reporting period: 151
Number of new learning programmes recorded during this reporting period: 29
Currently registered: 11 499
Number of new unit standards registered during this reporting period: 11
Quality Assuring Bodies that load learner achievements on the NLRD: 26
(21 SETAs; two of the QCs: CHE and Umalusi; 3 professional bodies with qualification achievements)
Quality Assuring Bodies` Accreditations to quality-assure qualifications: 11 979 (new qualifications plus Provider-based qualifications and learning programmes, mostly Higher Education linked to CHE)
12 758 Providers accredited to offer 12 749 qualifications (new qualifications and Provider-based qualifications and learning programmes, mostly Higher Education linked to CHE)
12 690 Providers accredited to offer 9 714 unit standards
Recognised Professional Bodies: 65
Number of Professional Bodies that successfully loaded data onto the NLRD by March 2014: 14
Number of people recorded thus far on the NLRD against Registered Designations: 27 311
Of these, 23 202 have been loaded by SAICA and hold the CA(SA)
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