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CAPE TOWN - Parliament has officially filed the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill. 

The aim of the bill is to address challenges with regard to fraudulent or misrepresented qualifications.

The proposed laws will empower the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications.

The laws also include that a full evaluation of foreign qualifications will be added.

SAQA will also need to formulate and publish a criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications.

The new bill also introduces a number of measures to deal with misrepresentation of qualifications such as:

1. Consequences for persons who misrepresent their qualifications, or 

2. Organisations that issue qualifications that are invalid.

According to the bill, any person who claims that a qualification or part-qualification has been awarded to him or her by an education institution, skills development provider or foreign institution, where in fact no such qualification or part-qualification has been awarded, is guilty of an offence and is liable onconviction to any sentence which may be imposed for an offence of fraud.

This extends to any person or education institution which fraudulently claims that they are offering a qualification.

Any person who reproduces any of the following:

1. A false data document,

2. Certificate, 

3. Diploma, degree, 

4. Computer printouts or any falsified records in connection with a qualification or part-qualification.

South Africa has long battled with the issue of qualifications and background checks, especially since recently, Tshwane mayor’s chief of staff was hired without the required qualifications.

City of Tshwane’s chief of staff Marietha Aucamp has been placed on special leave following media reports stating that she did not have adequate qualifications for her job, and that Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga was instrumental in her appointment. 

Government has urged students and parents to beware of the private institutions of higher education and training that are not registered.

Financial Implications For the State  

According to the Bill, The proposed funding for the implementation of the Bill has been budgeted for. 

The Department of Higher Education and Training will bear the costs for the publication of the Bill for public comments.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE