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Background to the accreditation process

What is accreditation?

In its widest sense, the term ‘‘accreditation’’ refers to the act of giving an individual or an organisation formal recognition of some sort or another. In the South African education and training context, accreditation is essentially a stamp of approval, indicating that the accrediting body (e.g. the SASSETA ETQA) is satisfied that the accredited organisation (e.g. the provider) meets their requirements and can offer quality learning programmes against national standards registered on the NQF. SETA ETQAs are there to ensure that education and training providers applying for accreditation meet the required standards of quality in providing education and training to learners, and where providers meet these standards to recognise this by accrediting the provider.

What is the value of accreditation?

The SASSETA is responsible for the accreditation of education and training providers that provide programmes relating to the primary focus of the SASSETA. This accreditation process ensures that the provision of quality education and training is consistent with the principles of the NQF (as outlined in the points below), and providers should deploy these principles when managing, developing and delivering learning programmes:

  • Integration - Different systems and approaches to be brought together (e.g. theory and practice and education and training)
  • Relevance - Education and training to be relevant to the social, economic and political development and to learner needs
  • Credibility - Education and training system to have national and international value and acceptance
  • Coherence - Areas of learning to be connected together in a framework of learning, which enables learners to move easily from one learning situation to another, building up certificates and credits as they go
  • Flexibility - Different routes or pathways to lead to the same learning ends
  • Standards-based - Programmes to be based on nationally and internationally accepted units of learning, which are structured around outcomes, and presented in a nationally agreed framework
  • Legitimacy - All national stakeholders to participate in the planning and co-ordination of standards and qualifications
  • Accessibility - Prospective learners to be able to easily enter the education and training system at the appropriate level to pursue relevant learning and career pathways
  • Articulation - Learners to be able to move between the various parts of the education and training system as they complete each accredited unit
  • Progression - Learners to be able to move up and across the different levels of the education and training system, following various routes, and thereby build up a national qualification
  • Portability - Learners to be able to transfer the credits and qualifications gained in one learning situation or institution to another
  • RPL - Credit to be given to learning that has already been acquired, e.g. through life experience or non-formal training courses
  • Guidance for learners - Learners to be assisted to understand and make decisions about entry into and progression through the education and training system.

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