Understanding the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) oversees the implementation and development of SA's NQF levels. Understanding the South African National Qualifications Framework is vitally important when applying for a job.

 

South Africa has an abundance of diversely talented human resources. In order to accommodate for such varied skills, SAQA have been commissioned to control the national qualifications framework. The National Qualifications Framework is regulated by principles that encourage the registration of learner skills and knowledge. In order to register such diversely different people, in nineteen ninety five the NQF was implemented as an integrated and fully comprehensive system .

 

The National Qualifications Framework provides a guideline, setting out the boundaries of a standardised qualification system. In order to recognise skills and categorise these accordingly, the NQF was a necessary market requirement. By creating a standardised system practiced on a national level has made for a fully integrated system.

 

Job Seekers are sometimes confused by these NQF levels. While this is a relatively new system, many job seekers battle with connecting an NQF level to a relevant qualification. To help you along your job seeking quest let Jobs.co.za clear this up for you. To follow you will find basic explanations detailing NQF levels and how to apply them to your CV.

 

The best way to understand the South African National Qualifications Framework is by breaking it down into manageable pieces.

 

NQF levels are intended to award registered learners with national accreditation based on their skills and knowledge. Currently, there are eight NQF levels which fall into three distinctive groups.

The three groups or classification bands making up the NQF are important to understand in order to see where the qualification levels apply.

 

NQF Qualification Bands;

 

  • GET: General Education and Training

- Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET)

- Compulsory Schooling up to Standard Eight

  • FET: Further Education and Training
  • HET: Higher Education and Training

 

Qualifications making up the South African's NQF levels fit into each of these categories accordingly. Job Seekers need to be aware of these qualification levels and how to apply these to their own CV. Understanding these, Job Seekers will be better equipped to identify vacancies relevant to their skills level. With a clear understanding of the national qualifications framework, Job Seekers will only apply to relevant vacancies and stand a better chance of being placed.

 

To follow is a comprehensive list detailing the current NQF levels and where they fit in with the qualification bands. Please note that these are subject to change according to legislation.

 

 

NQF Level

Description

NQF Category

NQF: One

  • Grade four to Grade Nine (Standard two to Standard Seven)

GET - General Education and Training

NQF :Two

  • Grade Ten (Standard Eight)

FET - Further Education and Training

NQF: Three

  • Grade Eleven (Standard Nine)

FET - Further Education and Training

NQF: Four

  • Grade Twelve (Standard Ten / Matric)
  • Trade Certificate

FET - Further Education and Training

NQF: Five

  • National Certificate National Diploma
  • Occupational Certificate

HET: Higher Education and Training

NQF: Six

  • Bachelors Degree (Three Years)
  • Higher Diploma

HET: Higher Education and Training

NQF: Seven

  • Honours Degree
  • Post Graduate Certificate

HET: Higher Education and Training

NQF: Eight

  • Doctorate
  • Masters

HET: Higher Education and Training

 

 

With this new understanding of learner accreditation, Job Seekers should apply this knowledge to each job application which they submit. Nothing is more frustrating for Recruiters when Job Seekers apply to job vacancies to which their skill level does not correspond. Not only does this waste recruiters limited time but ruins your Job Seeker credibility as well.

 

Understand How to Applying NQF levels to Common Qualifications.

 

Most people go wrong when classifying their knowledge according to NQF levels. It can be quite confusing knowing what kind of qualifications corresponds to the various NQF levels.

 

Use the following list complied according to Jobs.co.za's educational levels to help you better understand where your skill fits in.

 

  • Junior Certificate - Grade 10 (NQF 2)

- GET: General Education and Training

- Highest Standard passed being standard Eight / Grade 10

 

  • Junior Certificate - Grade 11 (NQF 3)

- FET - Further Education and Training

- Highest Standard passed being standard Nine / Grade 11

 

  • Senior Certificate - Grade 12 (NQF 4)

- FET - Further Education and Training

- Highest Standard passed being standard Twelve / Grade 12

 

  • Trade Certification (NQF 4)

- FET - Further Education and Training

- Trade School or Trade College where the qualification is the equivalent to a grade 12

- Syllabus is very different to compulsory schooling subjects

 

  • National Certificate (NQF 5)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Certificate attained after completing your senior certificate or trade certification.

- Nationally recognised but may not be relevant when applying for a job outside of South Africa

- Up to two years

 

  • National Diploma (NQF 5)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Diploma attained after completing your senior certificate or trade certification.

- Nationally recognised but may not be relevant when applying for a job outside of South Africa

- Up to two years

 

  • Higher Diploma (NQF 6)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Nationally and Internationally Recognised (Dependant on the Establishment)

- No shorter than three years to complete

 

  • Graduate - Degree (NQF 6)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Nationally and Internationally Recognised (Dependant on the Establishment)

- No shorter than three years to complete

 

  • Professional Qualification (NQF 7)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Qualification obtained with a professional body of community experts

 

  • Post Graduate - Honours (NQF 7)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Only attainable after Bachelors qualification

 

  • Post Graduate - Masters (NQF 8)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Only attainable after Honours qualification

 

  • Post Graduate - Doctorate (NQF 8)

- HET: Higher Education and Training

- Only attainable after Masters qualification

 

There is a lot to understand when examining the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The most important to understand; assign the correct NQF level to your experience. Be sure you are completely comfortable with NQF levels and how to apply them to your CV application.