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    18 Dec, 2020

    SADC countries in advanced stage of aligning national qualifications frameworks to regional standards

    A number of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States reached the advanced stage of aligning their national qualifications framework to the regional framework during 2019 and 2020.

    The SADC Qualifications Framework (SADC QF) is aimed at enhancing mobility of skills, including those of researchers and students across the Region.

    To date, South Africa and Seychelles have aligned their national qualifications framework to the regional framework while Mauritius has submitted its Alignment Report for Adjudication.

    Education and skills development is a key component in the Region for ensuring the availability of literate, educated and skilled human resources to facilitate poverty reduction, equitable economic growth, and competitiveness in the labour market economy.

    The region attained a very important milestone by establishing the SADC QF with the accompanying quality assurance guidelines.

    The SADC Member States continued to provide support to the Secretariat, in the implementation of the SADC QF activities on a rotational basis in order to augment the capacity of the Secretariat.

    The SADC QF is an overarching 10-level qualifications framework underpinned by learning outcomes and quality assurance mechanisms in SADC. It was approved and launched by Ministers responsible for Education and Training, Science, Technology and Innovation to set minimum standards for quality assurance and to facilitate the recognition of qualifications in the SADC region.

    The SADC QF is a comprehensive Regional Qualifications Framework (RQF) for Schooling, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Higher Education. The vision is that, in the SADC Region, all new qualifications -- certificates, diplomas and other documents issued by competent authorities -- will contain the relevant descriptors on the SADC QF.

    The purpose of the SADC QF is to enable easier movement of learners and workers across the SADC region and internationally. It seeks to provide a mechanism for comparability and recognition of qualifications in SADC; facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications in all Member States; harmonise qualifications wherever possible; promote the transfer of credits within and among Member States and even beyond; and create SADC regional standards, where appropriate.

    The SADC QF holds numerous benefits to the beneficiaries. These include promoting dialogue and mutual understanding, creating a wider pool of knowledge, skills, values and experience in the Region as countries can begin to fill their training gaps and collaborate in highly specialised training; increasing access to skilled and knowledgeable personnel through a more efficient, rational and standardised system; allowing learners and workers greater flexibility and mobility within the region and increasing the pool of learning opportunities; facilitating determination of qualification comparability and credit transfer in the SADC region; and regulating cross-border provisioning.

    The benefits also include streamlining and rationalising training resources leading to greater economies of scale in developing highly technical and rare skills and knowledge; promoting greater co-operation and unity of purpose between SADC Member States and education and training stakeholders; enhancing partnerships between governments and private education and training providers to improve QA practices and relevance of qualifications; and ensuring more justice in access and equity of disadvantaged groups.

    The principles on which the SADC QF are based on are regional solidarity and co-operation; interaction with global and local frameworks of qualification reference; strengthening of national education and training systems; quality enhancement and strengthening of education and training in the region; respect for regional and multilateral decisions; autonomy and interrelatedness of the sectors of learning; pragmatism in development; prioritisation of projects; position in terms of globalisation and internationalization; transparency, flexibility and validity; mobility relation to national education systems; equity within and among member states; responsiveness and relevance.

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