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.

Comment on DHET’s Artisan Development plans

DHET published the Artisan Development Strategy and Implementation Plan 2017 for comment on 15 June 2018. You have until 16 July to submit comments

I only just found out about this by chance.

If I have comments I will do that in a follow up post.

Picture: A Mechatronic Technician at a World Skills event. Source

Request to SAQA – Please now register the Mechatronic Technician qualification

Activity-based learning modules

I spent time with another client this week developing activity-based learning modules. It was a manufacturing company which is introducing a new apprenticeship.

Even though we had previously used this approach as a starting point we had kept on being dragged back into the content-based approach.

First we heard suggestions such as, “You need to give the learners something.” Then we heard suggestions like, “You’ll have to compile a set of resources for the facilitator,” or “Put together a comprehensive set of x in the training room so the learners don’t have to go a find them in the factory.”

We did succumb to the latter two suggestions and compiled a set of resources. But the facilitators told us quite categorically that they don’t need them, “The guys will know!”

Content-based meant that the facilitators were in charge. Activity-based meant that the learners were in charge and the facilitators merely provided guidance.

So the guidelines to facilitators became phrases such as, ” Make sure that they have created at least 3 categories of x” or “If they don’t find relevant information of the WWW suggest this site, http…”.

In this case we ended up with four documents which made up the module:

  1. Learner guide
  2. Facilitator guide
  3. Assessment instrument
  4. Assessment guide.

15 of the 16 people who arrived as “experts” had never facilitated before. Yet within 20 minutes they had understood and supported the underlying logic of the modules. They were even willing to become facilitators if this was the approach.

I had a similar experience when using activities as the underlying basis of modules in a totally different industry and with a total different set of skills.

There will be more to come in the next few posts