Late last year the South African government passed a new law that was aimed at punishing fake qualifications fraud with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Amendment Bill.
In light of that earlier this week the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) thanked the Higher Education and Training Minister, Naledi Pandor, and the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training for the NQF Amendment Bill, which is now awaiting the President’s signature.
According to SA News, the Bill aims to protect the integrity of the South African education and training system by giving SAQA the legal responsibility to verify qualifications and part-qualifications.
Added to this is the ability to make provisions for the registration by the Higher Education and Training Department of all private education institutions and skills development providers and for the accreditation of these providers by the Quality Councils.
“This means that in the case of the national qualifications and part-qualifications, SAQA must verify that they are authentic. In case of foreign qualifications, SAQA must first verify that they are authentic and then compare them with South African qualifications for placement within South African NQF, by so doing the quality of both national and foreign qualifications would be protected,” said SAQA CEO Joe Samuels.
SA News adds that the Bill further makes provision for organs of State, employers, educational institutions, skills development providers and Quality Councils to refer qualifications and part-qualifications to SAQA for verification and evaluation, while providing for the formulation of criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications.
“The Bill clearly defines misrepresented as well as fraudulent qualifications. In the event that a qualification or part-qualification is found to be misrepresented or fraudulent, it will appear in the register of misrepresented qualifications or part-qualifications or fraudulent qualifications. This will deter would be qualification fraudsters from misrepresenting qualifications,” explained Samuels.
Furthermore, it will also have charge of penalties to not only the qualification fraudsters but also to education institutions and skills development providers that falsely claim that they are registered and accredited to offer qualifications and part qualifications.