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CHE > Media and Publications > Frameworks Criteria > Criteria and Minimum Standards for the NPDE
January, 2006

Programme Purpose

The NPDE is a 240 NQF credit, Level 5 qualification. It was registered by the South African Qualifications Authority on 11 October 2000:

The NPDE is an interim qualification which has as its purpose the upgrading of currently under-qualified (REQV 12 or lower) school educators. The NPDE will provide these educators with the opportunity of becoming fully qualified professionals (REQV 13) by opening up an alternate access route into the NQF.

The NPDE will have a strong classroom focus and will equip educators with the foundational, practical and reflexive competences required for further study at NQF Level 6. It will be directed at foundation phase, intermediate phase and senior phase educators.

Originally the NPDE was conceived of as providing access to currently serving schoolteachers classified as at REQV 11 and 12. Subsequently, on 11 August 2004, the SAQA Board registered a revised version of the NPDE that can accommodate additional categories of currently serving teachers. The changes are reflected in the following statement:

  • Although this qualification is recommended as a replacement for the current NPDE, it incorporates all the key elements of the current NPDE, and no student who has completed, or is registered for, the current NPDE will be in any way disadvantaged.
  • The Revised NPDE took the current NPDE (as registered, and amended) as the basis, and merely introduced additions to make it accessible to, and suitable for, three additional categories of currently serving teachers:
    • Those classified as at REQV 10
    • Technical College educators, currently classified as at REQV 13(s), without professional qualifications
    • Un- or under-qualified Grade R teachers.

The NPDE is, currently, thus an interim national, 360 NQF credit qualification for upgrading under-qualified and unqualified REQV 10, 11 or 12 educators to the status of REQV 13.

The principal rationale for this qualification is to improve the quality of teaching and learning at schools and FET colleges. The award of the qualification rests on the Accredited Provider's judgement that the candidate has indeed improved with respect to competence and commitment as a professional educator. The NPDE programme also provides an alternative route into further professional development through the second part of a B Ed degree, or through an ACE, with the possibility of subsequent admission to a B Ed (Hons) programme.

The exit level outcomes of the NPDE are organised in terms of four components:

  • Fundamental Learning (to develop students' skills in areas such as literacy and numeracy to enhance competence in learning mediation, assessment and management/administration);
  • Subject and Content of Teaching (focusing on equipping students with skills, values and attitudes needed for development as a foundation, intermediate and senior phase educator);
  • Teaching and Learning (to enable students to deal with general learning and teaching issues and processes to enhance the student's roles as mediator, administrator, leader, interpreter and designer of learning programmes and materials, as well as for pastoral roles); and
  • School and the Profession (to equip students for their roles as managers/leaders, particularly when dealing with issues outside day to day classroom situations which, nonetheless, influence what happens in the classroom).

Fundamental Learning, Teaching and Learning, and School and the Profession are core for all students regardless of phase/learning area specialisation. In Subject and Content of Teaching, students select which phase/learning area specialisation they wish to take. Students may specialise in one of the following phases: Foundation Phase, Intermediate Phase or Senior Phase, or the FET Band.

Note: The NPDE is not included in the 2006 National Review. This set of criteria is intended to serve the purposes of individual institutions, but it serves also as a basis for new applications for the accreditation of NPDE programmes.

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