Login to my courses



The different Role-players in the Education System


DoEDepartment of EducationDoLDepartment of Labour
SAQASouth African Qualifications AuthoritySETASector Education Training Authority
SGBStandard Generating BodiesETQAEducation & Training Quality Assurance body


What is the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)?

South Africa needed to create a national education and training system that provides quality learning, is responsive to the ever-changing influences of the external environment and also promote the development of the nation that is committed to life-long learning. The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a strategy in response to these demands. It provides a framework within which the South African Qualifications system is constructed, representing a national effort at integrating education and training. The NQF is the set of principles and guidelines by which records of learner achievement are registered to enable national recognition of acquired skills and knowledge, thereby ensuring an integrated system that encourages life-long learning.

The South African Qualifications Authority Act (1995) created a new framework for education and training in South Africa by:

  • The NQF is a framework on which qualifications, courses, and learning programmes are registered.
  • Achievements obtained by learners are recorded and recognized nationally. It is therefore an integrated approach towards education and training.

 The NQF Framework

The structure of the NQF is outlined below:

NQF LevelBandQualification Type












·         Post-doctoral research degrees


·         Doctorates


·         Masters degrees

·         Professional qualifications

·         Honours degrees


·         National first degrees



·         Higher diplomas

·         National diplomas

·         National certificates


Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC)












Further Education Certificates

General Education and Training Certificate (GETC)



Grade 9 | ABET Level 4



GET National Certificates

Qualifications and unit standards are registered at the specified level of the NQF with a number of credits allocated to it.

This means that a learner could accumulate credits for successful completed unit standards towards a qualification making learning more flexible to meet learner needs.

South Africa has implemented a new Qualifications Framework which is broadly structured into three bands, and 10 levels of education and training:

HETHigher Education Training


Levels 5 – 10

FETFurther Education and Training (vocational training)


Level 2 – 4

GETGeneral Education and Training (entry level – schools and ABET – Adult Basic Education and Training


Assessment Process

Purpose of Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to determine if you have an understanding of the identified outcomes and if you are able to apply the skills in a simulated environment, as well as the workplace.




Assessment Approach

An integrated assessment approach is followed.



This implies that a variety of assessment methods are used, and unit standards are assessed in an integrative manner to avoid unnecessary duplication.


The assessment practices include the following:

·         Self-Assessment

·         Continuous Evaluation of Learners Performance

·         Formative Assessment

·         Summative Assessment

·         Final Integrated Summative Assessment

The Occupational Qualification Framework (OQF )

The NQF has been reviewed and the new Occupational Qualification Framework (OQF) is implemented as illustrated in the following diagram.

This framework provides learners with more qualification and skills development routes.

What is the South African Qualifications Authority?

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is the oversight body of the NQF and the custodian of its values and quality character.

Functions of SAQA

The role of SAQA, as stipulated in the NQF Act, is to advance the objectives of the NQF, oversee the further development and implementation of the NQF, and co-ordinate the Sub-Frameworks. SAQA’s functions are set out in section 13 of the NQF Act which, in summary, mandates SAQA to:

  • Oversee NQF implementation and collaborate with the Quality Councils
  • Develop and implement NQF policies and criteria
  • Register qualifications and part-qualifications on the NQF
  • Recognise professional bodies and register professional designations
  • Undertake research and collaborate with international counterparts
  • Maintain the National Learners’ Records Database
  • Provide an evaluation and advisory service with respect to foreign qualifications
  • Inform the public about the NQF
  • Provide advice to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

Social Share:

Sector Education and Training Authority bodies (SETAs)

Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA), is a vocational skills training organization in South Africa. As of March 2011, there are 21 SETAs. Each SETA is responsible for managing and creating learnerships, internships, unit-based skills programs, and apprenticeships within its jurisdiction.

Their roles include:

  • Develop a sector skills plan within the framework of the national skills development strategy
  • Implement its sector skills plan by:
    • Establishing learnerships
    • Approving Workplace Skills Plans (WSPs)
    • Allocating grants in the prescribed manner to employers, education, and training providers and workers
    • Monitoring education and training in the sector
    • Promote learnerships

Education and Training Quality Assurance bodies (ETQAs)

ETQAs are responsible for ensuring the quality of learning achievements.

ETQAs evaluate the learning programs of different providers in a process of accreditation, thereby assuring learners and other users of the system that any learner who has been deemed successful after participating in that learning program, has displayed the learning outcomes required for that qualification or standard. ETQAs are responsible for ensuring the quality of learning achievements.


Quality Council for Trades and Occupations

The development of occupational standards and qualifications is one of the QCTO’s main priorities in supporting learning for the workplace.

In accordance with the bill of rights, every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely. The QCTO’s role is to ensure that there are occupational qualifications that respond to skills development priorities of the country.

The QCTO manages the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF), which is one of the three integrated sub-frameworks of the National Qualifications Framework. SAQA registers occupational qualifications on the OQSF as recommended by the QCTO.

The availability of registered occupational qualifications facilitates skills development that supports labour market needs and developmental state initiatives.

What is a Skills Program?

A Skills Program is occupationally based and when complete will constitute credits towards a Qualification registered on the NQF, on provision it is undertaken by a training provider accredited by an ETQA (Skills Development Act No.97 of 1998). A Skills Program is a type of Short Learning Program directed at a particular skill that might be required to improve performance.

The Skills Programs offered by The Cannabis Institute might include one, two or more Unit Standards and will be assessed against criteria to prove competence. The Skills Programs are all registered with a particular SETAs and therefore credits are accumulated and can be used, on achievement, as building blocks towards the particular Qualification where they occur.

Short Courses

A Non-Credit Bearing Short Course can be trained/delivered by a Skills Development Provider (SDP) to acquire a skill from any of the Qualifications or parts of Skills Programs offered by The Cannabis Institute. These can be clustered and contracted as required but will have Certificates of Completion.

There are short courses and credit bearing programs that are available for employers to access for their employees, and the Institute will assist employers to assess whether they are good quality and relevant programs.

Unit standards are the building blocks of a qualification.

unit standard describes the learning outcomes to be achieved by the learner, as well as the assessment criteria against which the student’s performance will be judged. These unit standards are the minimum levels of competency as agreed by an entire industry.

A learning outcome is what a student will know and be able to do when they have completed their qualification and have been judged competent. These outcomes will be recognized through national standards and qualifications.

Unit standards are your source document for the design of assessment tools.

They are used to measure a person’s competence (the candidate can demonstrate his or her competence in the skills and knowledge required to achieve that particular unit standard). You can use unit standards to find the ‘gaps’ in your knowledge and/or skills.

Each unit standard is registered with SETAs and recognised by SAQA and can be ‘pegged’ on an NQF level. A unit standard will have a certain number of credits which helps to understand the complexity of the knowledge and skills required by the unit standard.


1 credit = 10 notional* hours of study e.g. research, days spent in a lecture, reading, etc.

A *notional hour is any activity that can be directly linked to the acquisition of skills, knowledge and understanding for that particular unit.

Modules make up a skills cluster (specialization) that are linked to an occupational competency as defined in the requirement for a job profile or designation (occupational code) for a career path or vocational choice for job seekers in the industry.


Fundamental Modules

Fundamental modules are usually compulsory and cover material without which further study would be impossible or extremely difficult. The Fundamental Component consists of unit standards totaling 36 credits; all of which are compulsory.


Core Modules

Core modules are compulsory for all students on that course.


Elective Modules

Elective modules are courses (specialisation categories) you can choose, while compulsory Core and Fundamental modules are mandatory courses that you must study to meet your program requirements. Electives, when added to your Core courses, make up the total number of credits needed to complete your qualification. Electives allow you to study topics that interest you.

Learners are to choose one specialisation category and complete all the unit standards, totaling at least 63 credits, listed for that specialisation category. Should the unit standards in a specialization category total less than 63 credits, learners are to choose additional Elective unit standards, except those unit standards which are listed as unsuitable for the category, to give a minimum of 63 credits for the Elective Component.

“Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in South Africa has, unlike similar initiatives in other countries, a very specific agenda. RPL is meant to support transformation of the education and training system of the country. This calls for an approach to the development of RPL policy and practices that explicitly addresses the visible and invisible barriers to learning and assessment. Such an approach must generate the commitment of all role players to remove these barriers and to build a visible, usable and credible system as an effective and creative vehicle for lifelong learning. It is important that consensus be generated around the criteria and support systems within which the integrity and quality of all assessments will be protected.” SAQA RPL policy (2002, p. 11).

Definition of RPL

“Recognition of prior learning means the comparison of the previous learning and experience of a learner howsoever obtained against the learning outcomes required for a specified qualification, and the acceptance for purposes of qualification of that which meets the requirements.” National Standards Bodies Regulations (no. 18787 of 28 March 1998)

This means that regardless of where, when or how a person achieved the learning, if such learning meets the requirements of a unit standard or a qualification (or part thereof), it could be recognised for credits. In this sense, RPL is an important principle of the NQF. RPL also involves an assessment process of preparing for RPL, engaging with RPL candidates, gathering evidence, judging evidence, giving feedback and reporting results.

Purposes of RPL

The “Criteria and Guidelines for the Implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning”, opted 13 August 2003, indicate that the purpose of RPL could include access and appropriate placement at a particular level at an institution, granting advanced status, advanced standing, crediting and certifying learners for unit standards or the parts of the qualification where all the requirements have been met, or depending on the context, a combination of these. It should also be noted that the NSB Regulations make it clear that a learner could achieve a qualification wholly or in part through the process of RPL. Furthermore, RPL could be used to establish whether people meet minimum requirements for entry to a job.

Process of RPL and status of recognition through RPL

The SAQA RPL policy states: “there is no fundamental difference in the assessment of previously acquired skills and knowledge and the assessment of skills and knowledge acquired through a current learning programme. The candidate seeking credits for previously acquired skills and knowledge must still comply with all the requirements as stated in unit standards and qualifications. The difference lies in the route to the assessment” (SAQA, 2002: 8).

All assessment involves the gathering and judging of evidence provided by and/or about the candidate in relation to agreed criteria, regardless of whether the candidate is a recent learner or developed their skills, knowledge, understanding, attitudes and values in the past. Assessors are required to uphold the principles of currency, sufficiency, authenticity, reliability and validity of evidence. Credits awarded through an RPL process are therefore just as valid as credits awarded through any other assessment process. The emphasis on RPL is brought about by the need for recognition in assessment practice of evidence from prior learning activities that may have been negated in the past or were simply not considered as evidence for various reasons. In addition, many providers of training and assessment only offer assessments based on their learning programme. A person seeking RPL will not necessarily attend the full learning programme and will therefore require assessment that is not dependent on a particular learning programme, but one that recognises broadly equivalent skills and knowledge as reflected holistically in the relevant unit standard(s) or qualification.

The Benefits of RPL


  • Formal recognition of learning (skills, competencies, expertise and knowledge) in order to gain competence
  • Credits awarded for past informal learning
  • Access to a unit standard or qualification based on the informal learning or experience that a person has acquired
  • Improved job opportunities within the same area of work or in different areas
  • No need to learn something twice if competency can be proved
  • Opportunity for further development and a career path
  • Higher self-esteem or self-confidence


  • Recognising informal training will help to identify the actual education and training needs and lead to better planning for the development of employees
  • Better planning and more effective use of budget for education and training
  • More effective utilization and placement of employees
  • Increase in productivity and profit margins if employees are better placed and utilized
  • Greater competitiveness with a better qualified work force
  • Lower levels of staff turn-over and absenteeism as a result of greater job satisfaction

The overriding difference is that with assessment in an outcomes-based education and training system, the criteria are explicitly stated up-front, whereas in the past people were assessed in relation to criteria that were largely unstated. Stating the criteria up-front creates clarity for teachers, trainers, learners and course designers, as well as encouraging consistency of teaching and assessment.

Outcomes-based assessment is transparent because the person being assessed is extensively consulted and informed about standards and methods being used.

In outcomes-based assessment there is an emphasis on direct observation of work activities that is complemented by methods assessing the application of knowledge and understanding.

Outcomes-based assessment requires detailed documentation. These assessments require that decisions are justified. Outcome based assessments take the same form no matter what the purpose of the assessment.

Outcomes-based assessment is not solely focused on assessing what learners can do but also what they know and how they integrate generic abilities to demonstrate achievement. This term generic abilities refer to elements such as problem solving, decision making , analyzing, communicating , organizing oneself , using science and technology, demonstrating and understanding the world as a set of related systems.

In the traditional system the focus is more on “ inputs” i.e. subjects and modules as opposed outcomes in the OBE system. Traditional systems also are more focused on exams whereas the OBE system focuses on continuous assessment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of OBET on:


Become empowered and are thus more self confident.

Focus is on output. Accessibility of qualification.

Knowledge and skills can be applied practically.

Life-long learning.


If the learner does not take ownership, they never reach the end process.

Lazy learners will not keep up with continuous assessment.


Will sit with competent and skilled workforce.

Morale will be high – enthusiastic workforce.

Company specific material.

National quality assurance.


Do not want to invest money into learnerships.

Fear that competent workers might leave.

Concerned about production.

Institutions (Universities, Technikons, Colleges, Schools)


Focused on outputs. Students are more prepared for “real world”.

Credibility increases  – registered national standards.

Impact of OBET on:

More confident / empowered and skilled learners. Productivity increases.

Life long learning. Relevant to field of work – skills and learning.


Competent and skilled workforce; less injuries and more quality work.

Institutions (Universities, Technikons, Colleges, Schools)

Registered national standard and national quality assurance.

In OBET (Outcomes-based Education Training) assessment there is an emphasis on direct observation of work activities that is complemented by methods assessing the application of knowledge and understanding.

Outcomes-based assessment requires detailed documentation. These assessments require that decisions are justified. Outcome based assessments take the same form no matter what the purpose of the assessment.

Outcomes-based assessment is not solely focused on assessing what learners can do but also what they know and how they integrate generic abilities to demonstrate achievement. This term generic abilities refer to elements such as problem solving, decision making , analyzing, communicating , organizing oneself , using science and technology, demonstrating and understanding the world as a set of related systems.

These are the national recognition of achievement by an individual. Each qualification is registered with SETAs and recognised by SAQA and can be ‘pegged’ on an NQF level. A qualification can be made up of skills programs (mini-awards) to form a full qualification and can be measured against national unit standards. A qualification is made up of a number of different unit standards and has three parts, namely:

Fundamental, Core (mandatory) and Elective (optional) unit standards.


E-assessment is the use of electronic systems for the development, operation and delivery of accredited qualification assessment or the collection of performance evidence, which contributes to the awarding of a unit or an accredited qualification.

E-assessment is any type of assessment that has an electronic component and incorporates one or more of e-testing, e-portfolios and e-marking.

Examples of e-assessment include:

  • Assessments that are distributed, completed, marked automatically and administered electronically using local intranets/networks and individual workstations.
  • Assessments that are distributed, completed, marked automatically and administered electronically using the internet.
  • Assessments comprising a combination of automatic marking and manual.
  • Electronic test delivery, with all marking completed manually on screen or on paper.
  • A range of multimedia formats for submitting assessment.
  • Electronic scanning of completed assessments for marking.
  • Tests downloaded from the internet by the centre.
  • Delivery of assessments and submission of completed assessments by secure email.
  • E-portfolios to store and manage candidates’ evidence electronically.
  • Assessments that are automatically marked and react adaptively to student performance.

Why e-assessment?

Due to the increasing use of technology in the Skills Revolution for the development, delivery and administration of education, many organisations prefer to harness the affordances of technology to assess students and reporting of assessment.

In the South African context, e-assessment is a huge advantage to students as they do not need to wait for too long before they get the results of the assessment, and the system is cost-effective as students do not need to shoulder any postage costs.

Use of e-assessment is motivated by several factors that include:

  • The dispersed nature of students served by a provider.
  • Flexibility of taking tests/exams – learners can register and sit the exam whichever day and time suits them.
  • Cost effectiveness of transporting assessment documentation electronically rather than physically, and the relative security associated with electronic delivery of assessment.
  • Mechanism for getting regular feedback from users.

In the online learning mode, The Cannabis Institute has curated all your training material into learning outcomes learner guides (e-books in PDF) for easy access, although you can move around in the subject material if you wish.  You will be allocated to an online e-lecturer who will assist you with queries, and e-tutorials, and keep you on track.  The course material is a combination of e-learning and pre-recorded videos that you work through systematically in your own time, at your own pace and in your own space. You can repeat any lesson or video at any time, which is impossible to do in class.  This means you can review difficult concepts slowly and often for deeper learning and insight.  You will have the same number of contact hours as a learner who completes the training in a classroom, just you will have more flexibility.

What are the entry requirements for online learning?

Learners must have a PC or tablet (or smart phone, but this could be too small for effective learning) with sufficient internet connectivity to download the online learning materials and view videos.

In addition, learners need to be proficient in English at National Senior Certificate level.

A good level of computer literacy is also an advantage.


  • The cost of our short courses for public advocacy of CBD Lifestyle and Social Developmental are ZAR 1299.00.
  • The industry courses vary depending on NQF level and credit value.

Yes we offer payment plans for our occupational qualification modules.

  • Access to all TCI learning modules; each is filled with engaging videos and SAQA unit standard aligned written materials and contextualised by the leading cannabis experts.
  • Quizzes at the end of every section to help you assess your knowledge and prepare for the final exam.
  • TCI Customer Support is ready to take care of you, while you complete your course or even after you are finished.
  • Interactive forum where you can connect and share knowledge with other professionals from around the world.
  • Downloadable references to keep and access anytime.
  • Invitation to join TCI’s online community, where we’ll help you network with members of the cannabis industry and alert you to opportunities that fit your skill set.
  • Upon passing the final exam, you’ll receive a TCI Certificate that acknowledges your accomplishment and your credibility to the cannabis industry.

The courses are open to everyone over the age of 18. 

No prerequisites other than ability to access our platform or mobile App (need a computer , tablet or smartphone)

Courses are weighted on credits. Typically 1 credit = 10 hours of learning required.

  • The modules are accessible for 1 month on the platform though students can finish the courses within 7 days.
  • The pace of learning is determined by the learner for the month access you have.
  • If you have had challenges and could not complete in that 1 month, students can renew their access for another month at a subsistence fee for time required for course completion.

Currently DSA positions.

Get a job or become an entrepreneur.

No, you can work for a Company that is authorised to.

  • You can apply to take the assessments once again. 

Yes. Refer details HERE.

Books are provided for Contact Learning classes. 

Social Share: