The difference between the legacy qualifications curriculum and the QCTO curriculum format

Written by: Hannes Nel

After approximately eight years in which the QCTO made some progress towards the development and registration of new occupational qualifications, stakeholders are beginning to wonder if the new curriculum model will ever replace the old (legacy) one and, more importantly, if it would be an improvement. We currently have the situation where legacy curriculums as well as QCTO model curriculums are registered on the NQF. It is not clear when all legacy qualifications will be removed from the NQF. However, it would be a sorry day if such curriculums are scrapped without being replaced by new and, hopefully, better ones.

The following are some of the most important differences between the QCTO curriculum structure and the legacy qualification curriculum format:

  1. Legacy qualifications are composed of a number of separate unit standards, each catering for the achievement of practical competencies (outcomes) theoretical knowledge (essential embedded knowledge) and critical cross-field outcomes.

QCTO qualifications split the legacy unit standards into three separate unit standards per unit of learning (module or subject), one providing for knowledge, one for practical skills and one for work experience.

  1. Each legacy unit standard has its own NQF level and number of credits. They can be offered as separate learning programmes or combined with other related unit standards to form a “bigger” learning programme. Credits for each unit standard can be read into the NLRD. At least some SETA Learner record databases allow this, but it is not clear if the credits are still transferred to the NLRD.

QCTO units of learning and unit standards cannot stand alone and no credits are allocated to them separately. Credits are allocated for the whole qualification. No credits can, therefore, be read into the NLRD for separate units of learning or unit standards, with the result that it would probably not make sense offering them as separate learning programmes either.

  1. Legacy qualifications are not compared internationally, although this should be done during the design process.

QCTO qualifications are compared internationally to ensure that South African qualifications are on par with international requirements and trends.

  1. Legacy qualifications and unit standards were initially designed by Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs). This process, however, was watered down considerably to working groups, probably because SGBs often did not function properly for various reasons.

QCTO qualifications are designed under supervision of a registered Development Quality Partner (DQP). This procedure is already questioned, probably because of the inability of some DQPs to perform and manage.

  1. Legacy qualifications and unit standards specify who can benefit from the qualification or unit standard in general terms, referring to job titles.

QCTO qualifications (not units of learning or unit standards) are specific in terms of the occupational profile of those who should benefit from the qualification, even specifying the OFO codes, occupational purpose, tasks and context. The occupational description that needs to be specified is so elaborate that it could well be a job profile or duty sheet.

  1. Although legacy qualifications and unit standards as well as QCTO qualifications require workplace experience, the QCTO qualifications are much more specific in this respect.

The writing of occupational curriculums is taking longer than initially anticipated, leading to discontent amongst stakeholders and rendering the process inefficient. The reason for the process being extremely time-consuming is, unfortunately, not because of thorough work but rather because of long periods of inactivity between meetings, different stakeholders joining the process at different times thereby often disrupting the smooth flow of the development process and some unnecessary bureaucratic procedures which adds no value to the process.

There are two rather important deficiencies in the current occupational curriculum format namely that too much duplication takes place and it would be difficult to compare it with HE and TVET curriculums for determining equivalence. Determining equivalence is necessary in order to achieve articulation of the three NQF sub-frameworks and articulation is necessary for opening pathways between different NQF sub-frameworks.

Already, however, some of the new curriculums are not structured in accordance with the QCTO format. Registration number 15952: Higher Certificate: Early Childhood Development, is an example of such a curriculum. One can probably argue that it is a Higher Education qualification and that it, therefore, need not follow the QCTO format. However, the Quality Assuring Body is given as the QCTO.

I intentionally did not discuss differences between the old ETQAs and the current DQPs because there are no substantive differences. The QCTO largely delegated the quality assurance function to what used to be ETQAs and now they are called DQPs.

Article sourced: Skills Universe 


Attract & Retain the Talent you Need

Attract & Retain the Talent you Need

Regardless of region or sector, companies are struggling to find the people they need to succeed. How is that possible in a country with millions of unemployed people?

Stefan Lauber, the Managing Director of i-Fundi, blames the current fast food approach to Human Resource Management as the root cause of the problem. “When companies recruit, they are looking for readymade people. Candidates are expected to have a proven track record in a position that was very similar to one that is currently advertised. There is little time to prepare anyone. New staff is needed now, someone may just have resigned or a company may need new employees to fulfil a new order.”

With no time to develop new talent for open positions, there is little else that companies can do but to recruit from the same limited pool of candidates. Company A will poach staff from Company B, only to lose someone else to a competing company. In the long term, this is a zero sum game, everyone loses, he said.

It is estimated that the costs of recruiting and training an entry level person in a call centre can easily be R 20 000, not counting lost productivity and opportunities.  Companies can easily pay twice as much for senior positions not to mention the time it takes to replace senior staff.

Of course businesses try to beat their competitors in the war of talent. Amongst the strategies that companies use, are better pay and the creation of attractive value propositions.

What must companies consider to make their offer stand out? Research shows that potential employees are looking for growth – in terms of learning, being able to apply their skills and the opportunity to advance their career. Benefits and compensation are obviously important and so is work-life balance. Millennials also like an employer that has values with which they can identify.

Paying more than the competition is however not necessarily going to work. If others follow suit it will simply raise the labour costs for the whole industry.

In order for companies to succeed Lauber believes they must design clear career paths that are matched by a corresponding ladder of learning and remuneration structure. “ All too often such plans do not exist and if they do, they are not consistently communicated or implemented. In other words these plans gather dust and fail to either attract or retain staff.”

In order for these plans to work, a company’s senior management needs to lead the charge. “At African Bank, every new employee entering the call centre is on a learnership. From there, outstanding performers, are enrolled on a supervisor qualification. All along, the company’s leadership is visible. This year alone, the CEO personally handed out over 200 certificates, taking a company picture with each of the graduates.”

That solves another problem. There is a saying that employees do not leave companies but that they leave bad managers. Having well trained supervisors reduces attrition and improves performance.But where will a company find the time and budget to train inexperienced hires and develop new supervisors? Workforce planners need to work hand-in-hand with recruiters and trainers. Rarely are they part of the same team. Typically the latter are only brought in at the last moment to react to a staffing crisis. At this point, it will be too late to implement a proactive, lasting solution.

Companies do have funding for such programmes, although they are not aware of it. The first place to find that funding is in the salary budget. New hires are willing to work for less. The second place where they will find savings is in the on-boarding budget. As attrition drops, recruitment and training costs decrease. And finally companies need to take advantage of government incentives, amongst them are the new Employment Tax Incentive, Learnership Tax Breaks and various SETA grants.

“Companies can easily save up to R 50 000 per annum per person by bringing in new talent” Lauber concludes. “All it takes is for companies to become more proactive”