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Breaking Down NQF Levels In SA: Full Qualifications From Start To Finish

by | Aug 15, 2019 | Education Insights

Reaching the end of your high school years can be both daunting and exciting. On the one hand, you may start working immediately and become independent while you figure out which career path you’d like to take. On the other, you may be waiting for responses to enrolment applications from tertiary institutions. Either way, most school leavers will be faced with a myriad of life-defining choices throughout the year. 

However, it’s not only prospective matriculants who may seek to further their education in the coming year. People who are already in the workforce who want to upskill, as well as people who are looking to change careers, may be in the market for a course that falls within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). In this blog, we explain how NQF levels in South Africa work.

What Is The NQF & How Does It Work?

South Africa has a historical problem of fly-by-night educational institutions that offer unrecognised courses. These courses put money in the pockets of the people who offer them, then leave students unemployable after parting with months and even years of tuition. To curb this problem, the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education & Training introduced a universally recognised system for ranking course levels called the NQF.

In a nutshell, it’s a registry of courses that are managed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) according to qualification levels. There are ten levels altogether, which can be categorised as follows:

  • Level 1: Grade 9, ABET Level 4, or GET certificate
  • Levels 2-4: Grade 10 to 12 or equivalents
  • Level 5: National certificate
  • Level 6: Higher certificate
  • Level 7: Diploma & bachelors degree
  • Level 8: Honours degree & professional certificates
  • Level 9: Masters degree
  • Level 10: Doctorate & post-doctoral qualifications

Courses With NQF Levels At Assessment College

We offer a range of courses at NQF levels 5 and 6 for certificates, as well as a level 6 diploma course. 



Enrol For An Accredited Course With Us

In your search for a course that will be of value to you, always ensure that the institution you apply to is accredited by SAQA and falls within the NQF. At Assessment College, we offer a range of education-related courses that you can study for NQF level credits. Apply today to get started.