The NQF and the National Learners Records Database NLRD
What is the National Learners’ Records Database?
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is responsible for the development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The primary objective of the NQF is the creation of a high quality education and training system in South Africa that embraces the concept of life-long learning for all.
One of the features of a quality system is the ability to manage and report information about the system accurately. The National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) is the electronic management information system that facilitates the management of the National Qualifications Framework and enables the South African Qualifications Authority to report accurately on most aspects of the education and training system of South Africa.
What information is provided by the NLRD?
The NLRD provides the following information:
- SAQA and its sub-structures, including Standards Generating Bodies (SGBs) and their areas of competence and member details;
- Unit standards and qualifications registered on the NQF including exit level outcomes and assessment criteria;
- Accredited Education and Training Quality Assurance bodies (ETQAs) and the unit standards and qualifications for which accreditation has been granted;
- Accredited providers and registered assessors;
- SAQA-appointed Moderating Bodies (to be implemented as and when required);
- The records of learners who achieve the outcomes of unit standards or qualifications registered on the NQF and their achievements (this information is not published on the SAQA website, but can be obtained through the verification service explained below).
Most of this information is downloaded to the SAQA website in various ways, in detailed and summary format. Records of individual learners are not available via the website – the only way for learners to check their own records is to contact the NLRD Directorate. Aggregated records and analyses of learner achievements are available via the NLRD’s publications.
How does information get into the NLRD?
Each Education and Training Provider sends its learner achievement data to the Education and Training Quality Assurance Body (ETQA) that accredits the particular qualification. This data is sent in the format specified by each ETQA and providers are encouraged to obtain these specifications from their ETQAs.
This includes Private Higher Providers sending learner achievement data to the Council on Higher Education.
The ETQAs hand this data over to the NLRD (in the format specified by SAQA) for batch-loading onto the system.
Each Standards Generating Body or Task Team submits the qualifications and unit standards that they have written to SAQA’s Directorate for Standards Setting and Development (DSSD). These are evaluated by the consultative panels, and then DSSD hands these over to the NLRD for on-line capturing before publishing them for public comment.
Is information generally available?
Information is downloaded daily to searchable databases on the SAQA website.
In addition, SAQA provides information to appropriate queries only on the basis that confidentiality is ensured for all sensitive information.
Who can make use of the NLRD information?
- As a learner you can request, from the NLRD, a record of your own personal learning achievements. (Information already stored on the NLRD: South African university achievements up to 2004 and South African technikon / university of technology achievements from 1999 to 2004.)
You are able to see a full list of the standards and qualifications registered on the NQF. You will be able to verify the accreditation status of providers of the qualifications you wish to pursue.
- As a provider of education and training, you are able to see a full list of the standards and qualifications registered on the NQF, and you will be able to find out which ETQA is responsible for the quality assurance of the standards and qualifications. You are able to find out details about the contact people and areas of activity of the twelve organising fields and their associated SGBs.
- As a member of business and industry, by contacting the NLRD, you are able to verify the achievements of applicants for work. (Information already stored on the NLRD: South African university achievements up to 2004 and South African technikon / university of technology achievements from 1999 to 2004).
You are able to see a full list of the unit standards and qualifications registered on the NQF in order to choose which are relevant for your organisation and so plan your training programmes accordingly. You are also able to find out which providers have been accredited and which ETQA is responsible for the quality assurance of the standards and qualifications.
- As a worker, you can request from the NLRD, a record of your own personal learning achievements. You are able to see a full list of the standards and qualifications registered on the NQF and to plan your programme for life-long learning.
- Politicians and government departments benefit from NLRD information as it enables informed policy decisions regarding education and training and human resource development in the areas of industry development, immigration and deployment of available resources.
- Society has verified data on the education and training that is available as well as an informed view of the nature and quality of the labour force and education system at a national level.