National Qualifications Framework South Africa

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a ten level framework in South Africa that provides an important framework for determining the levels of training required across different areas of study. The NQF was created by the South African Qualifications Authority. The framework allows students to track their academic achievements and ensure that qualifications are recognised. The NQF consists of various levels starting at N1 (General certificate) and ending at N10 (Doctoral Degree).

Before a qualification can be listed on the national qualifications framework (NQF), it must be reviewed and quality assured by the Council of Higher Education. The Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) ensures that any qualifications added must meet the minimum standards required by NQF.

Once the HEQC has approved a learning programme, it is registered by the Department of Higher Education and Training. It is also listed on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), administered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Are South African NQF levels internationally recognised?

Several other countries, for example, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, employ their own NQF standards. Their authorities also require that qualifications comply with specific minimum standards to guarantee their quality through accreditation. The authorities in these countries will assess whether the South African NQF level is equivalent to their NQF level. This process will determine if your qualification is recognised in that country. 

The advantage of the South African NQF levels is that they are somewhat portable between countries that employ similar NQF levels. This way, your qualifications can be transferred from one institution to another. The recognition process will be similar for countries that do not have NQF levels (like the US). The authorities will need to determine the equivalent level in their education system.

Students must study a qualification accredited by the HEQC and registered on the NQF. This means that if you ever need to move to another country, you will be able to contact the SAQA for help obtaining recognition for your qualification in that country.

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