Professions tested against new SA state policy

SA Qualifications authoirity Saqa will test eight professional bodies and designations in 2011, against its new draft policy on professional registration.

Professional bodies are invited to apply and motivate by 15 August 2011 to be part of a pilot project for recognition of professional bodies and registration of professional designations, by a motivating letter from CEOs or chairpersons of current or new professional bodies.

None of the bodies contesting representation of occupational safety practitioners would be part of the pilot, and two have said at public meetings that they would not make the 2012 deadline for implementation of the policy on professional organisation, but would apply later.

Among construction safety bodies, the Institute of Work at Height (IWH) is the furthest advanced in a process of obtaining state sanction for its bid to register its members, backed by local application of an international sub sectoral practice standard.

Public meetings on the recognition of professional bodies and the registration of professional designations were held in July 2011, to which two representatives of each professional body and aspirant bodies were invited.

Saqa said it would conduct site visits to pilot professional bodies, during which it would test;
• Different options, including peer review
• Key focus areas as outlined in the policy and criteria
• Developmental approach to be followed, based on principles of efficiency, incrementalism, cost effectiveness.

DHE Minister Blade Nzimande had meanwhile warned professional bodies that they should not merely set training requirements, experience requirements, exams, policies, codes of conduct, and await graduates to register, but should actively assist learners to access opportunities and skills mentoring (see post ‘Professions should develop skills)

NLRD data uploads

The Saqa pilot phase will include a data upload from the professional bodies, by an agreed process, to the National Learners Records Database (NLRD). A data testing facility will be made available and a workshop will be conducted to support the applicants.

Professional Bodies will be expected to manage and utilise their own information, including verification of who holds which designation. SAQA will not perform verifications of professional designations.

SAQA will produce aggregated statistics on professional designations, and on how these form part of overall pathways with respect to work and learning. Aggregated statistics are based on privacy, and never include identification of who holds which designations and qualifications.

Saqa will provide learners and employers with proof of qualifications obtained. The NLRD “will not provide proof of people’s professional designations”.

Professional bodies could apply to be part of the trail phase to by stating;
• Nature of professional body (statutory or non-statutory)
• Membership numbers
• Date of establishment
• Name of liaison person.

The eight professional bodies in the test phase, before adoption of the policy in 2010, will include a mix of these types of bodies;
• Two statutory and six non-statutory bodies
• Small, medium and large bodies
• Long standing and newly established or emerging bodies
• A body operating across two sub-frameworks of the NQF
• A body operating in more than one economic sector
• A body operating in only one sector
• A body that can lay claim to a qualification already registered on the NQF
• An aggregated body such as a federation.

PHOTO; Saqa CEO Samuel Isaacs consulted professional bodies in July 2011. The SA Qualifications Authority will tests its new professional designations policy on eight bodies in 2011, and implement the policy in 2012.

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