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What is the QCTO

What is the QCTO

The QCTO will manage and  coordinate the qualifications in the occupational qualifications  framework  in terms  of their development, provision,  assessment and  impact.  Its scope will be the development and  quality assurance of fit-for-purpose  occupational qualifications and  unit standards as required by the labour  market  for work and  employment purposes.

The QCTO will develop fit-for-purpose  occupational qualifications that will be certificated as National  Occupational Awards  or National  Skills Certificates. The awards will name the relevant occupation that the learner is now competent to practice. The focus  of occupational qualifications will be the development of occupational competence which, in turn, contributes to increased employment rates and  productivity.

The envisaged structure and  functions  of the QCTO reflect a new approach to quality assurance, in which quality assurance permeates all activities  and  is not seen as a separate function. This model  was  developed in response to appeals to bring qualifications development and  quality assurance ‘under one  roof’.

The quality assurance of the learning  process for the QCTO’s qualifications can be visualised as a structure in which the roof is supported by two pillars: design and  development on the one  side,  and  the assessment of occupational competence on the other.  The system is quality managed from the overarching ‘roof’, representing monitoring  and  evaluation through  data  analysis and research. This entire  structure illustrates the quality-assurance model.

Professional education and training practitioners definition

Professional education and training practitioners definition.

“The highest standards for teaching, training and learning, supported by the professional body.”

Professional education and training practitioners by definition:

  • are dual professionals, having deep knowledge, conceptual understanding and expertise in teaching and learning processes and contexts for diverse learners, matched with expert subject knowledge and skills,
  • have a personal commitment to reflect on and share expertise with professional colleagues, to innovate and learn from the best national and international practices, and through professional body membership,
  • enjoy professional recognition and status, and hold at least a NQF level 5 qualifications in learning and teaching, or be committed to work towards this in the near future,
  • have the ability and space to make judgements and decisions based on knowledge and experience and so practising with autonomy, trust and accountability
  • expect a professionalised environment in which to operate, where leaders and managers are responsible for ensuring a collaborative culture which secures excellence, resting on trust and confidence
  • deserve career pathways which offer suitable rewards to individual professionals as they demonstrate excellence.

QCTO – Quality Council for Trades and Occupations

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is a Quality Council established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act. Its role is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF).

The QCTO is one of three Quality Councils (QCs) responsible for a part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Collectively, the Quality Councils and the South African Qualifications Authority (whose role is to advance the objectives of the NQF and oversee its development and implementation), all work for the good of both learners and employers. Another important role for the QCTO is to offer guidance to service providers who must be accredited by the QCTO to offer occupational qualifications.

Following the format of the organizing framework for Occupations (QFO), occupational qualifications are categorised into the eight major employment groups.

  • Managers;
  • Professionals;
  • Technicians and Associate Professionals;
  • Clerical Support Workers;
  • Service and Sales Workers;
  • Skilled agriculture, forestry, fisheries, craft and related trades
  • Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers; and
  • Elementary Occupations.

Our vision is to qualify a skilled and capable workforce; our mission is to effectively and efficiently manage the occupational qualifications sub-framework in order to set standards, develop and quality assure national occupational qualifications for all who want a trade or occupation and, where appropriate, professions.

Personal commitment to their own professionalism

Personal commitment to their own professionalism

Individual teachers and trainers have a responsibility for their own professionalism. They shape and influence their own development often in collaboration with peers and with the support of their employers and their professional body. Leaders and managers have the responsibility for the culture, ethos and systems that support a professional workforce to be at its best. The employer does not own the professionalism of individual practitioners, as this would damage and detract from the vital personal commitment of being an up-to-date and reflective professional. PETA-SA professional body membership supports teachers and trainers to look curiously and widely to best practice nationally and internationally, as well as enabling reciprocity and sharing of good practice between members. Commitment to collaboration is integral to the professional identity and roles of all teaching and learning practitioners and to the work of the professional body in fostering this, as well as leaders and managers.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) keeps individuals on the top of our game and encourages everyone to maintain and development as teachers and trainers, and prevents stagnation by keeping up to date through CPD rewarding programmes.

QCTO accreditation of assessment centres

Summative assessment A component of the assessment process and refers to the culmination of the summative process when learners are subjected to a final sitting at the end of the learning cycle for an integrated externally conducted assessment.
Verification The process managed by the relevant AQP for externally checking moderation processes and confirming or overturning moderation findings.

1. Preamble

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) was established in 2010 in terms of section 26G the Skills Development Act of 1998 as a juristic person. It was listed as a public entity in Government Gazette No 33900 of 31 December 2010 effective from 1 April
2010 to establish the sub-Framework for Trades and Occupations. The QCTO is responsible for the development, maintenance and quality assurance of qualifications within its sub-
framework.
The QCTO focuses quality assurance of the provision of assessment on the final external integrated summative assessment. The external integrated summative assessment of all QCTO qualifications will be conducted in accredited assessment centres or approved assessment sites to ensure that the required facilities and processes are in place to conduct standardised assessments for determining the required occupational competence to be awarded the qualification.

2. Objectives and criteria for assessment

This policy outlines the criteria applied by the QCTO for the accreditation of assessment centres. It provides guidelines for bodies wishing to apply for accreditation as assessment centres. Accreditation describes the process followed by the QCTO to determine if a body meets the QCTO’s minimum specified criteria and has the capacity to conduct secure, reliable and objective external summative assessments.

3. Legislative and regulatory framework

In terms of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998) the QCTO will accredit assessment centres, including trade test centres to conduct the external summative assessment for specified occupational qualifications, part qualifications or trades recorded on the NLRD but without an associated occupational qualification.
This policy and criteria is based on the QCTO Policy on Delegation of Qualification Assessment to Assessment Quality Partners (AQPs) and the Assessment Policy for Qualifications and Part Qualifications on the OQSF.

4. Audience and applicability

This policy applies to assessment centres seeking accreditation to assess occupational qualifications, part qualifications and trades recorded on the NLRD but without associated occupational qualifications. Assessment centres may include accredited trade test centres, workplaces, providers, education and training institutions (e.g. FET Colleges or Universities of Technology) or professional bodies. These bodies should have the required facilities and meet the requirements specified by the relevant AQP for the related occupational qualification or part qualification.
Bodies seeking accreditation as an assessment centre must apply to the relevant QCTO appointed AQP responsible for recommending the accreditation of assessment centres to the QCTO.

5. Responsibilities of an assessment centre

An assessment centre must:
a) assess the occupational qualification or part qualification in accordance with the standards set by the delegated AQP;
b) comply with the QCTO and AQP assessment policies and procedures;
c) conduct integrated external summative assessments in accordance with the AQP
requirements;
d) adhere to standards set by the AQP in order to maintain accreditation;
e) enter into a formal agreement with the relevant AQP;
f) if also a training provider, provide an assessment area separate from the training area;
g) only allow candidates registered for assessment and assessment practitioners
conducting the assessment into the assessment area;
h) ensure that candidates are not assessed or moderated by the facilitator responsible for their training; and
i) have appropriately qualified human resources to conduct assessments as specified by the AQP.

6. Responsibilities of the AQP

6.1 The relevant AQP will recommend to the QCTO, in the form and manner required by the QCTO:
a) the accreditation of assessment centres for all occupational qualifications and
part qualifications that require the use of assessment centres for conducting external summative assessments; and
b) the de-accreditation of accredited assessment centres where required.
6.2 In respect of each occupational qualification or part qualification falling within its scope, and requiring the accreditation of an assessment centre an AQP will:
a) ensure standardisation of the external integrated summative assessment through the development of nationally standardised assessment instruments;
b) determine criteria for accreditation of assessment centres to be able to conduct the external integrated summative assessment;
c) conduct external moderation to ensure that the external integrated summative assessment is conducted in an appropriate manner; and
d) make recommendations to QCTO for the issuing of certificates.
6.3 In respect of an assessment centre accredited to assess competence against an occupational qualification or part qualification, an AQP will:
a) provide criteria, guidelines and procedures for registration for assessment;
b) provide criteria and guidelines on security processes required to curb irregularities during the assessment process;
c) provide criteria and guidelines for capturing learner achievements according to
the QCTO’s MIS requirements;
d) monitor the performance of the accredited assessment centres;

e) ensure that candidates are not assessed or moderated by the facilitator responsible for their training; and
f) report to the QCTO on the assessment centre’s performance in the form and
manner required by the QCTO.
6.4 In the event of de-accreditation of an assessment centre the AQP must arrange an alternative assessment centre for candidates already enrolled for assessment.
6.5 In terms of section 26A of the Skills Development Act, the NAMB will recommend to the QCTO the accreditation of trade test centres.
6.6 Trade test centres currently accredited by the SETAs will be deemed accredited by the NAMB for trades recorded on the NLRD for a period of 3 years from the publication date of the Trade Test Regulations during which a recommendation to be accredited by the QCTO must be submitted by NAMB.

7. Responsibilities of the QCTO

7.1. The QCTO must consider recommendations from AQPs for assessment centre accreditation.
7.2. The QCTO will evaluate and may verify the information on the AQP recommendations for the accreditation of an assessment centre.
7.3. The QCTO will make a decision as to whether to accredit the recommended assessment centre within 30 working days of receiving the recommendation.
7.4. The QCTO must notify the AQP of its decision in writing and may refer the recommendation back to the AQP for outstanding information or additional information to be provided.
7.5. If the QCTO grants accreditation of an assessment centre, it will publish it on its official website the following information –
a) the relevant details of the accredited assessment centre; and
b) the occupational qualifications the assessment centre is accredited to assess.
7.6. If accreditation is withdrawn, the QCTO must inform the AQP and assessment centre
and remove the assessment centre’s details from its official website.

8. Criteria for the accreditation of assessment centres

8.1 The QCTO will accredit an entity as an assessment centre for a specified occupational qualification or part qualification if recommended by an AQP and if that entity satisfies the criteria listed below.
The entity must:
a) be a juristic person registered or established in terms of South African law;
b) have a valid tax clearance certificate issued by the South African Revenue Service if applicable;
c) have a suitable and compliant MIS in accordance with QCTO specifications;
d) be safe, secure and accessible to candidates;
e) meet the relevant standards for occupational health and safety;
f) have the required physical resources (e.g. venue; equipment, machinery or protective clothing), specified by the AQP to assess learners’ competence regarding the occupational qualification or part qualification;
g) have appropriately qualified human resources as specified by the AQP; and
h) make provision for any other requirements specified for the relevant trade, occupational qualification or part qualification.

NOTE: Although the QCTO accredits assessment centres and sites, the accredited assessment centre or site remains responsible and accountable for ensuring the safety of the centre staff, students and visitors. The QCTO will not be liable for any loss, damage, expense, costs, delays or other liability whatsoever that the assessment centre or site may incur during its operations.

9. Duration of accreditation

9.1 The accreditation of an assessment centre to conduct assessments for the specific occupational qualification or part qualification is valid:
a) for a period of 5 years from the date the QCTO grants accreditation; or b) until de-registration of the qualification; or
c) until de-accreditation is recommended by the AQP.
9.2 Trade test centres currently accredited by the SETAs will be deemed accredited by the NAMB for trades recorded on the NLRD for a period of 3 years from the publication date of the Trade Test Regulations during which a recommendation to be accredited by the QCTO must be submitted by NAMB.

10. Applying for accreditation

10.1 An application for accreditation must be made to the relevant AQP in accordance with the criteria and guidelines of the AQP.
10.2 A centre that applies for accreditation to conduct the external integrated summative assessment for a specified occupational qualification or part qualification must provide evidence of:
a) the required physical resources (e.g. venue; equipment, machinery or protective clothing), specified by the AQP to assess learners’ competence with regard to the relevant occupational qualification or part qualification;
b) the required technical expertise (qualified personnel) to conduct the integrated external assessment for the relevant occupational qualification or part
qualification;
c) compliance with the quality assurance requirements needed to conduct that particular assessment; and
d) systems to handle complaints and appeals.

11. Amendments to the scope of accreditation

11.1 An accredited assessment centre may increase its scope by applying to one or more AQPs for conducting integrated external summative assessments for additional occupational qualifications or part qualifications.
11.2 The AQP will recommend the amendment of scope to the QCTO.
11.3 The QCTO may amend the scope, if:
a) the AQP recommends the assessment centre to conduct assessment for one or more additional occupational qualifications. In such a case the generic requirements will be deemed to be met, and the extension of scope application will be restricted to the additional curriculum components; and
b) the QCTO determines that an accredited assessment centre no longer has the capacity to conduct the external summative assessments for
which it has been accredited.
11.4 In all cases of an amendment to scope, the QCTO will inform the AQP and fulfil all its responsibilities as detailed in Section 7 above.

12 Withdrawal of accreditation

12.1 The QCTO, may on reasonable grounds, withdraw on recommendation from the relevant AQP the accreditation of an assessment centre in respect of all or a specific occupational qualification or part qualification which it is accredited to assess. Reasonable grounds include, but are not limited to:
a) inability to meet the accreditation criteria;
b) assessment irregularities;
c) failure or refusal to fulfil accreditation responsibilities;
d) failure or refusal to comply with the relevant QCTO policies and procedures; and e) failure to comply with the relevant AQP requirements including but not limited to:
i) poor record keeping and reporting on assessments;
ii) poor internal moderation; and
iii) ineffective reporting to the AQP.
12.2 The assessment centre may appeal the de-accreditation recommendation to the
QCTO at a cost determined by the QCTO.
12.3 If de-accreditation is appealed, the QCTO will convene an appeals committee to consider any representations received, and will notify the AQP and assessment centre of its appeal decision in writing.

13 Irregularities

13.1 The assessment centre must address irregularities relating to the integrated external summative assessment which include, but are not limited to:
a) a candidate cheating, copying or accessing assessment instruments in advance;
b) a candidate bribing, blackmailing, threatening or harassing an assessor or others involved in the assessment process; and
c) any party that falsifies documents or evidence for access before or during an assessment.
13.2 The AQP must address irregularities relating to the integrated external summative assessment which include, but are not limited to:
a) an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP not declaring a conflict of interest, such as, but not limited to a family or business relationship with a learner;
b) an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP taking bribes or responding to threats, etc. in such a manner that advantages one learner over
another;

c) an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP demonstrating bias (e.g. in relation to race, class, gender, educational background, ethnicity or religion) that unduly influences assessment or moderation decisions; or
d) an assessment centre staff member approved by the AQP not making appropriate arrangements for learners with disabilities or language
disadvantages (unless the assessment in question is assessing the language in
question).

14 Complaints and appeals

14.1 Complaints and appeals against irregularities under 13.1 must be referred to the relevant AQP.
14.2 Complaints and appeals and appeals against irregularities under 13.2 must be referred to the QCTO.

15 Quality assurance and monitoring of policy implementation

15.1 The delegated AQP will monitor the performance of accredited assessment centres.
15.2 The QCTO will monitor the performance of the AQP in terms of this policy.
15.2.1 The QCTO will review this Policy on Accreditation of Assessment Centres at least every three years.

 

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