No date yet for implementation of new law on fake qualifications
Cape Town - Fourteen months after signing into law the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Amendment Act, President Cyril Ramaphosa has yet to proclaim the date for its implementation.
The Act, which clamps down on fake qualifications, was passed by the National Assembly in November 2018 and the National Council of Provinces in March 2019 before being signed into law by Ramaphosa in August 2019.
The NQF Amendment Act gives the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) the responsibility to verify all national qualifications and part-qualifications.
Employers, government departments, education and training institutions and professional bodies are obliged to verify if their employees or members’ qualifications are registered on the NQF register.
In the term sof the Act, those guilty of having misrepresented their qualification will be liable to a fine or sent to jail for a maximum period of five years, or both a fine and imprisonment.
In its 2019-20 annual report, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) said in simplifying the NQF, SAQA has worked on reducing the proliferation of qualifications in the higher education space.
"As part of its preparation for the proclamation of the NQF Amendment Act, SAQA developed a roadmap for the implementation of the amendments.
"This included putting in place plans to set up separate registers of professional designations, and misrepresented and fraudulent qualifications. These registers are aimed at protecting the quality and integrity of our education system," SAQA CEO Julie Reddy said.
Reddy, however, noted that the Act was signed into law and would be implemented on a date to be announced by Ramaphosa.
In its report, SAQA said the NQF Amendment Act, once proclaimed, will establish the Register of misrepresented qualifications.
"For now, SAQA maintains a list of misrepresented qualifications."
It said the list of misrepresented qualifications was updated and produced bi-monthly reports on misrepresented qualifications and sent these reports to Higher Education Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande.
SAQA said it could not update the register of fraudulent qualifications because Rramaphosa has not proclaimed the NQF Amendment Act establishing the register.
"The NQF Amendment Act, once proclaimed, will establish the Register of Fraudulent Qualifications. In the meanwhile, SAQA has developed a template for the Register of Fraudulent Qualifications and will be in a position to report on it once the NQF Amendment Act has been proclaimed."
Meanwhile, the Higher Education, Science and Technology Department said NQF Amendment Act was necessary to provide for measures in dealing with issues of fraudulent and misrepresented qualifications and part-qualifications.
In its annual report, the department confirmed that the amendments would only be implemented on a date still to be announced by Ramaphosa.
It also said the initial amendments did not cover all the recommendations of the Evaluation Implementation of the NQF Act, 2008 study.
The department said it has prepared a Consultative Paper on Proposed Amendments to the NQF Act for public comments in March.