ZAMBIA QUALIFICATIONS ACT, FRAMEWORK ENHANCEMENT ADVANCES
21ST JULY 2020
Higher Education Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame disclosed that the Government through Ministry of Higher Education is enhancing the Zambia Qualification Authority Act, and the Zambia Qualification Framework through wide consultations to ensure that the law and the framework respond to the challenges the Zambian education system has faced over time.
Mrs Siame said the Zambia Qualifications Authority Act No. 13 of 2011 was enacted to provide for the development and implementation of a national qualification’s framework, and establish the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZAQA).
PS Siame however, explained that the enhanced Act will also provide for measures to ensure that standards and registered qualifications are internationally comparable. She further said the Zambia Qualifications Framework provides for a ten level qualifications framework with three main sub-frameworks, the General Education and Further Training, Trades and Occupations and Higher Education.
She, however, was concerned that some qualifications have not been catered for in the current qualifications’ framework making it difficult to appropriately place them on the ZQF upon evaluation.
Mrs. Siame stated that the Qualifications landscape in Zambia was until 2015 not been standardised, various institutions of learning as well as Professional Bodies offered qualifications that were not comparable even though the qualification names were similar.
She said the Zambia Qualifications Authority Act has recognised a number of Appropriate Authorities with the mandate to coordinate the outcomes from the education and training sector, and this has led to an increase in the Authorities that are providing oversight to institutions of learning consequently, coordination of the outcomes from the Appropriate Authorities is fragmented, costly and leads to conflict among the Authorities.
PS Siame however, stated that with these challenges in the education system and the problems associated with the recognition of Zambia qualifications, it became inevitable for my Ministry to review the Qualifications framework, and as a consequence of this, also the Zambia Qualifications Authority Act.
Mrs. Siame outlined that the revised legislation will provide a coordinated national qualifications framework to ensure that standards and registered qualifications are internationally comparable, providing for an efficient platform for mutual recognition of qualifications, promotion of genuine qualifications and facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, the entire education and training sector.
She further, said it will provide for a coordinated framework for quality higher education and skills training in the country as it will augment the current framework for managing and financing the education and skills training sectors to enhance access, quality, relevance, efficiency and equity.
Mrs. Siame nevertheless noted that specifically, for higher education and skills development, the role of professional bodies is increasingly taking over the role of quality assurance bodies that have internationally acceptable competencies in education and training. She observed Professional bodies have to large extents neglected their core mandate of regulating the profession.
PS Siame told the meeting that it is against this background that a review of the ZAQA Act and the ZQF is proposed through a consultative process to ensure that Zambian qualifications are internationally comparable and meeting the needs of various stakeholders.
“This, Framework and the act will be accomplished through the re-alignment of the sub-frameworks”. She said.
Mrs. Siame appealed to the experts to importantly and objectively look at the broader picture and address encumbrances to the education system that continue to disadvantage learners globally so that gaps are addressed through valuable input especially given that the global village is surrounded by competition as the order of the day.
Mrs Siame was speaking at the Zambia Qualifications Framework National Consultative Meeting held at Government Complex in Lusaka.
Mr Chanda Muwowo Public Relations Officer – MOHE