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AET Level 4 vs NQF 4. What is the difference?

What is the difference?

What exactly is the difference between AET Level 4 and NQF Level 4?

Quite simply that AET 4 is equivalent to a Grade 9 while NQF 4 is equivalent to Grade 12.

There is a further 3 levels of study required from AET 4 (NQF 2) to reach NQF. For adults the way to accomplish that is to complete Foundational Learning Competence (FLC) and upon completing FLC the person will have an NQF level 4 qualification.

 

What is the NQF?

South Africa is one of many countries in the world who have decided to develop a national qualification framework in which skills and knowledge activities may be organised and recognised.

South Africa’s framework and those around the world share many similarities and is key to establishing a global recognition of learning.

Other countries who also employ an NQF include New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Malaysia, the Philippines, Rwanda. Hong Kong SAR, India, Maldives, United Republic of Tanzania, Mexico, Norway and Ireland. In total more than 143 countries globally are either migrating or have migrated to a unified meta-framework similar to the South African NQF. The purpose is to provide credible and comparative recognition for learning. In layman’s terms this means that what you learn in South Africa will be recognised in other countries across the globe.

The NQF is a single comprehensive and integrated system. It was approved by the Minister of Basic Education, The Minister of Higher Education and Training and The Minister of Labour.

It consists of ten (10) levels that’s divided into three (3) bands.
  • BAND 1 : NQF Level 1 – 4 (GET) equates to high school grades 9 – 12 or vocational training (AET and FLC).
  • BAND 2 : NQF levels 5 – 7 (FET) are college diplomas and technical qualifications,
  • BAND 3 : NQF levels 7 – 10 (HET) are for University degrees.

The NQF is the way to unify the efforts of education, training and development through its activities and encourages lifelong learning and the recognition thereof. It is a key element to building the value of learning into the core of society, and compiles, within a single framework, the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of people learning at work or any other learning body, school or institution.

The NQF ensures, through its principles and guidelines, that learning and qualifications are accessible to learners from all environments, be it formal, informal or non-formal(1)

The person’s academic achievements are recorded on the National Learner Record Database (NLRD) so that knowledge is retained and recognised even if the person move between careers.

Qualifications registered on the NQF are made public only after rigorous evaluation and consultation processes have been followed. Such qualifications are posted on the SAQA website.

(1) Non-formal education is a loosely defined term that refers to schooling that takes place outside the formal education system.
 

Objectives of the NQF in summary:

  • Single integrated national framework for learning achievements;
  • Facilitates access to, and mobility and progression within education, training and career paths;
  • Unifies standards and enhances the quality of education and training.
 

Provider Accreditation and the NQF

Accreditation for training providers are classified according to their focus of delivery. Providers that offer any programmes that result in the achievement of General Education and Training (GET) grades are accredited by Umalusi.

Umalusi is the only body sanctioned to accredit AET providers.

If a provider offers occupational certificates, trades, learnerships, apprenticeships and work-based learning, it is required to acquire accreditation through the QCTO (Quality Council for Trades and Occupations).

The NQF has three sub-frameworks. They are:
  • The General and Further Education and Training Sub-Framework (GENFETQSF);
  • The Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) and;
  • The Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF).

The GFETQSF have qualifications registered from NQF Levels 1 – 4 , The HEQSF have qualifications registered from NQF levels 5 – 10 and the OQSF generally have registered qualifications from NQF level 1 – 6. NQF levels 7 and 8 may be available if the QCTO (Quality Council for Trades and Occupations) motivates for a qualification in partnership with a recognised professional body and the Council for Higher Education. SAQA will coordinate such a process.

 

The South African Qualifications Authority

SAQA was established by the government to; promote the objectives of the NQF; Manage any further developments and the implementation of the NQF; and to coordinate the sub-frameworks.
  

Who is Umalusi?

Umalusi is the custodian of the sub-framework that manages learning in General and Further Education and Training (GET and FET). It ensures that the quality of education within this framework is maintained according to the conditions and requirements of the law.

The Umalusi council is appointed by the Minister of Basic Education and they also answer to the Minister of Higher Education and Training in terms of FET qualifications.

Umalusi moderates assessments according to the principles of fairness, validity and reliability and verifies the authenticity of assessments.

 

So where does AET fit into the NQF?

AET used to be known as Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). It is found in the GET band of the NQF and can be compared with the schooling system up to Grade 9.

Where AET fits into the NQF image

Adult Education and Training (AET) is registered with the NQF at NQF level 1, but AET consists of 4 levels. The 4 levels as a whole, when completed is the equivalent of NQF level 1 or Grade 9. In other words the four (4) levels of AET is equivalent to Grades R – 9. The table below indicates where in the NQF, AET is situated:

AET is the fundamental, and therefore crucial, foundation for all work-based competence training in South Africa. It is available to adults who wishes to complete their basic education and perhaps also so they can move onto a higher level of education.

There are nearly 4 million totally illiterate adults in South Africa and so AET was created because of this need and extensive work in the field of adult literacy. It was discovered that literacy alone was not adequate in accomplishing real social transformation that is much needed in South Africa. AET is designed to offer a solution for adults to acquire general education that is at providing a significant improvement in the quality of their lives and those around them.

AET training consists of:
  • Language, Literacy and Communication (in English)
  • Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences
  • Natural Science
  • Arts and Culture
  • Life Orientation
  • Technology
  • Human and Social Sciences
  • Economic and Management Science