Revised OQSF

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations has published its revised policy document for Occupational Sub-Framework of the NQF. It was published on 2 March 2020. You can download it from here.

There have been a number of significant changes.

  1. The requirement for the Foundational Learning Competence for occupational qualifications at NQF Levels 3 and 4 has been removed. While originally intended to be an enabler the FLC has become a blockage in the implementation of occupational qualifications.
  2. Qualifications at each level of the NQF now have a different name.

The nomenclature of these occupational qualifications is similar to the nomenclature in the Higher Education Qualifications Framework, e/g. higher certificate, advanced certificate, diploma, advanced diploma etc.


  1.  minimum credit levels are now defined for each qualification type and for the level of the qualification:

For NQF levels 1 – 5

  • Minimum total credits: ranging from 240- 280
  • Minimum credits at Exit Level: 60%

For NQF levels 6 – 8

  • Minimum total credits: ranging from 240- 280
  • Minimum credits at Exit Level: 60%

For one-year qualifications this poses no difficulties but for multi-year qualifications this becomes a challenge. A three year occupational qualification means that only 20 % of the credits can be allocated to the first level of learning, 20 % of the second level of learning and 60% has to be allocated to the final year of learning, if we strictly apply the ratios.  It my view this creates a top heavy approach. It destroys a careful a meaningful build-up of knowledge and skills from foundational through intermediate to the practitioner level. Scaffolding in the curriculum becomes a numbers driven game. Conformance to this requirement will increase the difficulties in the implementation and assessment of occupational curricula.

4. Soft skills are now required to be included explicitly. Most occupational qualifications have included soft skills as part of the overall package. “… an occupational qualification must now contain between 5% and 10% of soft skills which may include personal development, self-learning, workplace preparation, personal finance management, basic entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence amongst others.”

The revised OQSF document took effect on the day it was published int he Government Gazette.