Towards World Class Quality in African Education and Training
A chain is only as
strong as its weakest
link. One cannot apply
a quality management
system to only one aspect
of a system or organisation.
If one part of the system
does not deliver quality
service, it has a knock-on
effect on the whole system.
Where does one begin?
Listen to Voltaire’s Candide
and start by cultivating
your own garden. Whether
you are an educational
institution, a quality assurance
body or the ministry
in charge of education and training, you should start with your own quality
The first steps
The Assessment College started cultivating its own garden two years ago
by becoming an ISO 9001:2000 listed organisation. ISO (the International
Standards Organisation) is a worldwide body that oversees standards, and
audits operating procedures for organisations throughout the world.
The Assessment College was also the first South African provider to
apply for and get accreditation, as a
provider of certain focused types of
training, from the South Africa’s recently created Education and Training
Helping others take their first steps
To help other small business providers enter the system, the Assessment
College started taking them on as licensees.
Today there are 41 well-qualified and experienced licensees of the
Assessment College in South Africa. These licensees have become an
invaluable resource used by the College to promote quality in education
and training across a broad range of clients.
Assessment College clients include industry sector authorities, professional
bodies, large corporations, other providers, NGOs, government
departments and individuals trained as assessors and moderators.
The broader picture
In “Let’s educate the Continent” (Business in Africa, November 2004), the
objectives of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) were spelled
out. One of these
objectives is to enhance the quality of education and
SAQA set up a comprehensive system to monitor and audit quality in
training. It accredited a number of bodies using rigorous criteria to become professions and occupations.
Some of these bodies (like the nursing and accounting bodies) were
professional bodies and some were industry sector bodies called Sector
Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).
The Assessment College started rendering services to some of these
quality bodies on a volunteer basis. These tasks included serving on the
SAQA Board, advising the South African Board of Personnel Practices and
serving on qualification generating bodies. It soon became clear that the
insight and experience gained through this kind of work were worth their
weight in gold.
Services to quality assurance bodies
At present some of the services rendered by the Assessment College to
quality assurance bodies are:
• the facilitation and
documentation of policy and procedures
for education and training
• setting up assessment and moderation systems
• setting up recognition of prior learning systems
• monitoring and verifying providers of education and training
• setting up and maintaining accreditation systems for providers
• training assessors, moderators and verifiers
• generating standards and qualifications
• doing impact studies, and
• evaluating education and training projects.
What do you need to set up a sound quality system?
One of the lessons learnt in South Africa is that even the authorities set up
by the ministry should function within a quality system. In fact, the entire
education system must become a quality management system for the
education, training and development of the citizens of a country.
For the system to function properly, it needs to be transparent to all participants.
You need to have proper
policies, procedures and processes in
place, together with all the necessary forms and documents. If judgements
have to be made, criteria for evaluating and assessing organisations and
individuals must be spelled out clearly.
How can we help you?
Assessment College can help you set up a quality system, building in best
practice lessons learnt all over the world.
The College has the knowledge, experience, capacity and enthusiasm
to assist your organisation. One of our objectives is always to empower our
clients. We do not want clients that remain dependent on consultants; we
want to create partners that can solve their own problems.
If you need assistance to set up a quality education and training
system, call Marietta van Rooyen, Chair of Assessment College, at
+2711678 0126 or e-mail her at [email protected]
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