SQA reviews country’s National Qualifications Framework |29 November 2023
The Seychelles Qualifications Authority held a half-day validation workshop yesterday morning to review the Seychelles National Qualifications Framework (SNQF).
The workshop at the Seychelles Institute for Teacher Education (SITE) followed a series of consultations with stakeholders.
SQA had been meeting with them since September this year to revise the current SNQF which dates back to 2008. The framework provides a picture of the ways an individual moves upwards or between different qualifications, as well as mechanisms for managing and ensuring the quality of qualifications.
Representatives of various stakeholders, including the education ministry, the University of Seychelles, professional centres and other educational institutions, and SQA board members among others, were present at yesterday’s workshop and they had the opportunity to view the findings as well as provide further feedback, with the aim of making the document as comprehensive as possible.
The data collected and findings were presented by James Keevy, the chief executive of JET Education Services, a South African based consultancy firm working with SQA for the review.
It is to be noted that Mr Keevy was heavily involved in the development of the first SNQF.
SQA’s mission is to develop and enhance a national qualification framework that elevates and recognises competencies while promoting quality education and training.
Around the world, qualification frameworks are formal systems for describing qualifications. In Seychelles, it is defined as a comprehensive system, approved by the minister, for the development, classification, registration, publication, evaluation and articulation of quality-assured qualifications.
After 14 years of implementation, the review of the SNQF is now necessary to keep it relevant, responsive, and aligned with the changing needs of society, the job market, the education sector, as well as with international developments.
With the review, it is expected that education quality and workforce skills will be enhanced, it will facilitate mobility and international recognition, promote inclusivity and reduce skills gaps, encourage lifelong learning, boost international competitiveness and investment and guide effective policy and data collection for informed decision-making.
Speaking on some of SQA’s weaknesses and recommendations in his presentation, Mr Keevy pointed out that inadequate staffing or capacity prevented the organisation from fully delivering on its mandate, and these should be addressed to enable it to implement the framework.
Another point raised was the lack of a functional management information system. This he said was a very important and critical component, which needs to be addressed urgently to enable the authority to keep up with international developments and provide the SQA with a platform to maintain its data more effectively.
In an interview to local media, Mr Keevy said although the country had done well over many years, there was a need to refresh the system and make it more internationally competitive.
“Although SQA has a good foundation it is the best time now to renew the system and make it comparable to what is happening across the globe,” he said.
When opening the validation workshop, the vice-chairperson of the SQA board, Jean-Michel Domingue, said that since its inception in 2008, the SNQF has enabled the Seychelles to make significant and positive changes in the way programmes are developed, education and training are delivered, and in the way qualifications are awarded. This, he added, has been possible with the support of SQA partners and stakeholders, many of whom were present at yesterday’s validation workshop.
“This is clear demonstration of your commitment towards quality education and training and your willingness to continue to work with the SQA to ensure that our NQF continues to remain relevant and on a par with developments regionally and internationally, and continues to safeguard the interest of all learners,” said Mr Domingue.
In an interview with the media, the chief executive of SQA, Fiona Ernesta, said it was necessary to review the SQNF and update it given that many current qualifications did not feature in the framework. Mrs Ernesta said further consultations will take place following yesterday’s validation workshop, before the draft document is finalised by mid-2024.
Patrick Joubert/SQA press release
Photos by Patrick Joubert