SAQA celebrates 18 years of lifelong partnership and collaboration
By Tumelo Modisane
Staff of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) gathered on 22 August 2014 to celebrate the organisation’s 18th birthday. The occasion was also a platform to celebrate Women`s Month.
SAQA has come a long ways since the SAQA Act was passed on 4 October 1995. There has been growth and challenges in the past 18 years." We started off with two directorates – namely Directorate for Framework Development and Directorate for Framework Implementation. Now we have a staff complement of 215 people," said SAQA CEO Mr Joe Samuels at the celebration.
We`ve made a great contribution in the education and training landscape with the National Learners` Records Database – an inclusive information management system that holds records of qualifications and part-qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as well as learner achievements, he said. The organisation is also responsible for evaluating foreign qualifications, and for recognising and registering professional bodies and professional designations.
SAQA contributes to the development of qualifications frameworks internationally and has also conducted or commissioned investigations on issues of importance to the development and implementation of the NQF. Through the NQF and Career Advice Helpline, SAQA has assisted in the establishment of the Career Development Services project.
Challenges include the review of the NQF that started in 2001 and came to an end when the NQF Act was passed in 2008. This review resulted in an affirmation of the NQF and its role in the education and training landscape.
These are some of the milestones of SAQA`s 18-year journey. On 3 August 1996 SAQA held its first board meeting. The NQF and Quality Assurance Framework were established in 1998. In 1999 the first qualification was registered. The NQF Act replaced the SAQA Act in 2008 in an effort to meet the needs of our dynamic education and training landscape. In 2010 SAQA and the Department of Higher Education and Training launched the multi-channel NQF and Career Advice Helpline reaching out to deep rural areas in our country. It did not stop there, SAQA registered the first professional body in 2012. The organisation has also enjoyed 16 successive unqualified audits from the Auditor-General.
SAQA had also invited the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) to speak to members of staff about women and money. Ms Prem Govender from the FPI encouraged women to take control of their finances - especially as global life expectancy figures show that women are likely to live longer than men. Ms Govender also highlighted that women have a shorter career span than men when one factors in taking time off work to have children, and also working less hours to help raise children. She encouraged staff to pay themselves first and include this in their budget. Ms Govender emphasised that one needs to cut one`s garment according to the cloth one has. This means that one must be clear on the difference between a want and a need. The presentation was well received by staff. The birthday and Women`s Month celebrations ended with staff enjoying colourful cupcakes.
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