Since the publication of the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF) on October 2007, the South African higher education sector has long anticipated the publication of the implementation plans for this ambitious framework. In the period August 2008 – August 2010, a number of Communiqués were published jointly by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) (formerly the Department of Education), and the South Africa Qualifications Authority (SAQA), providing institutions with clarification and some guidance regarding the HEQF. Specifically, Joint Communiqué 3 provided interim procedures and guidelines for the implementation of the HEQF for the period 2009 and 2010.
In October 2010 the CHE published CHE-HEQF Communiqué 1 indicating the intended plan for the implementation of the HEQF. This plan adopts a phased approach and is anticipated to span a five-year period starting in January 2011 and ending December 2014. All existing institutions, public and private, offering existing and previously accredited higher education programmes will be impacted upon by this process in some manner or form, whether it be through a minor name change or a complete re-curriculation of the programme content. The purpose of this handbook is therefore to provide institutions with the tools and information necessary to implement the HEQF as effectively and efficiently as possible. It is designed in such a way as to answer many questions raised by institutions since the publication of the HEQF in terms of implementation, and to attempt to clarify any areas of concern as they relate to the implementation of the HEQF as published.
This document does not, however, in any way attempt to address any of the areas of contestation relating to the content of the HEQF: the qualification types, admissions requirements or progression routes, or any other areas of concern related to the HEQF itself. These matters will be addressed by the CHE as part of the HEQF Review to be finalised in 2011. Further, while this handbook briefly addresses the issue of co-ordination between the various stakeholders, it does not take into account the specific responsibilities of each roleplayer beyond the CHE and HEQC in the implementation of the HEQF.
This handbook should be read in conjunction with the HEQF and CHE-HEQF Communiqué 1, as well as the Joint Communiqué documents published by the CHE, DHET and SAQA.