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In the middle of March 2011, the the National Independent Certificate (NIC) was submitted alongside the National Senior Certificate for Adults as advice to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. The draft qualification was recommend to the Council by its newly-appointed Qualifications Standards Committee (QSC).

Umalusi would welcome considered feedback on the National Independent Certificate now that it is in a form where it can be formally engaged with. In addition to this opportunity, there will also be an opening when the Minister publishes the qualification for public comment. Please feel free to share the draft qualification with colleagues and other interested parties.

More about the National Independent Certificate

The NIC is a qualification set to fill a critical gap in the National Qualifications Framework, one which has been traditionally served by qualifications offered by reputable private providers. The NIC has been developed as a national qualification for adults in general-vocational learning fields that private providers are keen to offer. The qualification is, however, one that any FET college is free to offer.

Unlike the NASCA, the NIC does have learning programme requirements that will need to be fulfilled before a candidate may register for the examinations. These requirements differ from one NIC programme to another.
The first NIC programmes to be developed are likely to be:
  • Business Studies (Financial Practice)
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Parliamentary Services
The main features of the qualification are:
  • The candidate must enroll for at least five subjects, two of which are compulsory.
  • A business language (either at Home Language or at First Additional Language level) and Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy are compulsory.
  • The remaining subjects are determined in accordance with the vocational programme requirements
  • A candidate is required to pass four subjects with a minimum of 45%, and be able to furnish evidence of work done during the programme of study for the subject in which the 45% minimum is not achieved.
  • NIC examinations will initially be offered once a year, but the intention is to create an examination system for the qualification that will allow candidates to be examined more frequently.
The way ahead with the NIC

The qualification policy for the NIC is in close-to-final draft from, but a great deal of work remains to be done before the qualification can be offered and examined. Much of this work may need to be done co-operatively with the Department of Higher Education and Training, one or more assessment bodies, all institutions interested in offering the NIC, and so on. Work still requiring to be done includes at least the following:
  • Programmes for the NIC
  • Curricula for the subjects identified in the policy
  • Training for teachers offering NIC subjects
  • Materials development for NIC subjects
  • Assessment system for the NIC
  • Further policy development (eg with regard to the administration of NIC exams)
  • Advice to institutional providers and accreditation to offer the NIC
  • Advocacy about the role the NIC can play in serving adult needs
  • Funding for the NIC.
While this list is not exhaustive, it points to the fact that many players need to become involved if the qualification is to become a successful offering for adults.
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