New NQFs still vulnerable: Gertze

18 Jun 2013 08:00
WINDHOEK, 18 JUN (NAMPA) - The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) says the new National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) being developed across the world are still vulnerable and their long-term impact is by no means guaranteed.
An NQF is an instrument for the development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge and competencies along a continuum of agreed levels, and was first mooted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the early 1970s when it wanted to see a closer link between education and employment.
The NQF spans all forms of certification ranging from those awards offered whilst at school to those offered at university such as certificates and doctoral degrees.
It is intended to be a central device in promoting and enhancing lifelong learning.
NQA CEO Franz Gertze, who was speaking at the signing ceremony of a recognition and collective bargaining agreement between the NQA and the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) in the capital on Tuesday, said the existence of NQFs is not well-known to ordinary citizens, and the unions must therefore assist in advocating NQFs.
He added that the shift to learning outcomes promoted by the NQFs is viewed with scepticism by some groups, with the argument being that the focus on learning outcomes is new and draws attention and resources away from pedagogy and learning contexts.
Gertze noted that the use of learning outcomes is combined with learning inputs, and the approach is seen as complementary rather than exclusive.
Stronger engagement with labour market actors therefore remains an important challenge and must be addressed without delay, he stressed.
He called on labour movements to become the voice of employees in respect of qualifications that are developed, delivered and awarded in Namibia.
?Let us, together with all the other equally critical stakeholders, ensure that skills are developed by Namibians, for Namibia. Let us together think about education that must reshape our economy. Together we can realise the vision of the NQA, which is to be a globally reputable qualifications authority empowering people in Namibia,? the NQA CEO stressed.
According to Gertze, Government's vision was for a skilled and knowledgeable people equipped to participate in and contribute towards the growth to Namibia as a lead player.
Clearly, the NQF should play a vital role in supporting reforms and it should be part of a wider national strategy of socio-economic development, he added.
He went on to say that the key to successful NQF implementation is to develop a broad strategy that takes into account all factors such as policy coherence across different ministries, an enabling funding regime, and support to training providers and the involvement of critical stakeholders.
The most important intervention is to develop genuine support and trust for the NQF amongst other stakeholders, he said, noting that employers' and workers' organisations have a key role to play in this process.
Gertze stated that the process of developing an NQF must take into account the need to foster trust amongst the various stakeholders so that they have confidence in the integrity of the resultant framework.
?It is thus vital that these stakeholders be identified and consensus building mechanisms be advanced and the framework developed through dialogue,? he said.
In Namibia, the identified critical stakeholders in the development and administration of the NQF include inter alia, organised business, labour organisations, professional bodies, training providers, employers, government and lobby groups, he said.