July 15, 2024

NQF stands for the National Qualifications Framework, which is the South African framework used to arrange levels of learning achievements. SAQA (the South African Qualifications Authority) has been using this framework since the NFQ Act of 2008.

How it works is that there are 10 levels of learning achievement, and every registered South African qualification needs to specify its NQF level – basically, what it will teach the student and enable him or her to do in terms of acquired skills.

The NQF focuses on a list of ‘applied competencies,’ so each NQF level signifies a specific standard of intellectual and academic skills, including problem-solving abilities and learner autonomy. So, the higher the NQF level of your qualification, the more intellectually skilled you are (at least within this specific academic measure).

WHICH QUALIFICATIONS REPRESENT NQF LEVELS
QUALIFICATIONS ?
NQF Level
General Certificate 1
Elementary Certificate 2
Intermediate Certificate 3
National Certificate (Matric) 4
Higher Certificate 5
Diploma & Advanced Certificate 6
Bachelor’s Degree & Advanced Diploma 7
Honours Degree & Postgraduate Diploma 8
Master’s Degree 9
Doctoral Degree 10
For a more visual glance at SAQA’s 2015 NQF Level Descriptors, click here.

So, what does it qualify me for?
SAQA looks at 10 main academic skill areas, and depending on your level of NQF qualification, it suggests that you are more skilled in these areas the higher your NQF level is.

Here are the ten skill areas the NQF focuses on, with a rough description of what they imply:

Scope of knowledge – do you understand what you’re studying?
Knowledge literacy – can you apply that understanding?
Method & procedure – can you apply specific theories, technique and methods of what you are studying?
Problem-solving – can you think for yourself, critically, and find solutions to problems?
Ethics & professional practice – can you stick to codes of conduct and do you understand the values of your society?
Accessing, processing & managing information – can you interpret and analyze information relating to what you are studying?
Producing & communicating information – are you able to accurately communicate what you have learned, in words and writing?
Context & systems – do you understand the systems and environment of your field of study?
Management of learning – are you able to evaluate and take responsibility for your own learning, as well as the learning of others?
Accountability – are you able to properly use resources, to be accountable and responsible for your actions, as well as work effectively?
If you want to read in detail what level of these skills is expected from you if you graduate with a qualification on a respective NQF level, then have a read through this SAQA document (2012). It lists everything for you in bullet points.

But what about requirements?
Yes, in order to be able to study towards a certain NQF qualification, you need to meet certain requirements. For example, in order to study towards a Bachelor’s degree, you need to have finished school, or have completed a NQF 4 qualification (like having a National or FET Certificate equivalent to Grade 12).

If you want to know the specific requirements for a qualification (at a certain South African institution), then go to this website. It’s an awesome database that has all the info you’ll need. Just type the qualification you want into the blank search bar where it says “Qualification Title,” followed by the percentage sign (e.g. “Diploma%”). You can then specify further with key terms.

Finished High School? Now What?
Luckily for you, there are many options available to you. If you are looking to up your NQF level, Damelin College offers accredited degree and diploma programmes through part-time as well as distance learning programmes. Both options provide students with various payment options, such as paying per module, per semester, or managing payment over monthly payment plans.

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