The following broad phases are involved in any standards generating process:
Phase 1: Scoping the Activity
This phase is about determining what will be covered. Of special importance is the question of whom to involve in the process. These questions and this phase should involve all relevant stakeholders.
Phase 2: Recording of a Proposed SGB
Those involved in wanting to establish SGBs state their intentions to SAQA, and this will be recorded on a national database. This has several advantages. It allows for practitioners to access other relevant initiatives countrywide and to liaise or consult with them. It also allows NSBs to have a sense of initiatives going on across the framework. In their respective fields, NSBs will be able to work with the different SGB initiatives in making decisions about SGBs.
Following, or simultaneously with recording, the proposed SGB, those involved may decide to enter into discussions with the NSB regarding the establishing of SGBs, gaining representation on the SGB, or linking into an existing SGB. These structural processes might now begin in tandem with the standards generation.
Phase 3: Systems Analysis
Here the systems analysis described in the section above is conducted.
Phase 4: Crunching Outcomes
The systems analysis will have brought participants to a shared understanding of the nature of the transformational purpose of the qualifications or unit standards. This is now articulated in the names of the qualifications or unit standards to be generated.
Having the names, the question is then: What is the competence that these qualifications or standards seek to embody? In other words, at the end of a learning programme leading to this qualification, what is it that the learner will know, what is it that the learner will be able to do, and what attitudes or values do we hope to have instilled in the learner?
Phase 5: Narrow Consultation
In stating the intentions of the initiative, one of the items covered concerns groupings or individuals that will be consulted. This may cover critical interest groups, individual specialists, technical expertise, international players, or any others whose feedback is important to ongoing development work.
Here the purpose of the consultation is to gather feedback on Phases 3 & 4 and to finalise the outcomes. Narrow consultation is really targeted consultation. On beginning the task of generating standards, the body will have specified those with whom it intends to consult. This is the fulfillment of that intent. Inevitably there will be either groupings or individuals that have superb expertise from whom one would wish to receive feedback.
The purpose of the technical consultation is to ensure that the format of standards is in line with SAQA requirements, and that the standards are internally coherent as standards. Here one might rely on a consultant or a facilitator internal to the activity, or one might contract out this advising function.
Phase 6: Wide Consultation
Those SGBs ready for this phase will hand their standards to the Division for Standards Setting and Development at SAQA. The titles, purposes, levels, and credit assignments of the qualifications and the titles and specific outcomes of the unit standards will be published in the Government Gazette, and the qualifications and standards will be published in full on the SAQA web-site for public comment. In addition, the standards will be available from the SAQA office. The Division will also alert all relevant NSBs and SGBs to the standards, and these structures may choose to begin to engage with them at this point.
Public comment, as well as any possible comment from NQF structures, will be fed back to the originators of the standards for their consideration.
Phase 7: Reversioning
During this phase the SGB will consider the comments received and choose how to deal with them. Of critical importance for the sake of legitimacy is that all consideration of comments is carefully recorded. Some comments will make eminent sense and will be incorporated, while others may be of little use. The SGB needs, however, to be able to prove that the members have considered all comments.
Phase 8: Submission
At this point the standards are submitted to the appropriate NSB. The relevant NSB will consider the standards in the light of the three sets of criteria mentioned earlier in this publication – the process criteria, the systems criteria, and the format criteria.
The NSB, if not satisfied that the standards meet the criteria, will engage with the originators of the standards in order to suggest ways of meeting the criteria.
When the NSB is satisfied that the criteria have been met, it will recommend to the Authority that the standards be registered on the NQF for a period of three years. At this point the standards become public property.
SAQA’s commitment to applying the principle of maximum coherence, minimum duplication in the organisation of standards generation underpins its approach towards standards setting. The realisation of this principle is best achieved through an understanding of the NSB as the structure that brings coherence to the organising field, and of the SGB as the locus of standards generation - as can be seen from this chapter.