Southern African Development Community Qualifications Framework (SADCQF)
Stage of development and implementation
Approved and implementation started
Brief Overview:

The SADC RQF was formally named the SADCQF at a September 2016 meeting of the SADC Technical Committee on Certification and Accreditation (TCCA). SADCQF’s main policy and technical document, as revised in 2017, defines the purpose, scope, design features and underlying principles underpinning the SADCQF, as well as its governance structure. Annex 1 of the SADCQF document specifies the SADCQF Level Descriptors and Annex 2, the 16 SADCQF Quality Assurance Guidelines. The SADCQF has acquired a stronger centrality in the region’s development plans for the decade (2020–30). SADC reaffirmed its intent to give a new impetus to promote and implement the SADCQF, by including relevant measures in two key strategic plans for the decade: RISDP 2020–2030 and the SADC Labour Migration Action Plan (2020–2025). This new impetus to strengthen implementation of the SADCQF capitalises on the outcomes of the first phase of implementation (2017–20) and aims to incentivise development of NQFs aligned with SADCQF, and work in complementarity with other tools supporting recognition of qualifications across the region, including SADC Credit Accumulation and Transfer System and SADCQF Quality Assurance Guidelines.


Level Knowledge Skills Autonomy and responsibility
10 Makes a substantial and original contribution to knowledge in the field of study through research and scholarship. Conducts original research which is evaluated by independent experts against international standards. Demonstrates problem solving ability and critical evaluation of research findings for academic discussion. Demonstrates full responsibility and accountability for all aspects of advanced research work.
9 Demonstrates mastery of theoretically sophisticated subject matter, showing critical awareness of current problems and new insights at the forefront of the discipline area. Conducts original research deploying appropriate research methods and processes primary and secondary source information using rigorous intellectual analysis and independent thinking and applies knowledge in new situations; and demonstrates independent thinking, problem solving, critical evaluation of research findings and ability to make judgements based on knowledge and evidence. Shows independence, initiative and originality and the ability to manage own and group outcomes in complex and unpredictable situations.
8 Demonstrates critical understanding of the principles, theories, methodologies, current research and literature of the discipline. Demonstrates capacity to use a coherent and critical understanding of the principles, theories and methodologies of a particular discipline. Selects and applies appropriate research methods and techniques, and critical analysis and independent evaluation of information. Operates within the context of a strategic plan with complete accountability for management of resources and supervision of others.
7 Demonstrates knowledge of a major discipline with possible areas of specialisation, including command of the ideas, principles, concepts, chief research methods and problem-solving techniques of the recognised discipline. Demonstrates intellectual independence, critical thinking and analytical rigor, and advanced communication and collaborative skills in complex and variable contexts. Designs and manages processes and works with broad accountability for determining, achieving and evaluating personal and group outcomes.
6 Demonstrate specialist knowledge in more than one area and ability to collate, analyse and synthesise a wide range of technical information. Demonstrate ability to apply specialist knowledge and skills in highly variable contexts and formulate responses to concrete and abstract problems. Manages processes and works with complete accountability for personal and group outcomes.
5 Demonstrates a broad knowledge base with substantial depth in some areas, ability to analyse information and construct a coherent argument. Applies a wide range of technical and/or scholastic skills in variable contexts using standard and non- standard procedures, often in combination. Works independently under broad guidance and can take some responsibility for supervising the work of others and group outcomes.
4 Demonstrates a broad knowledge base, incorporating some abstract and technical concepts, and ability to analyse information and make informed judgements. Applies a moderate range of technical and/or scholastic skills which are transferable in familiar and unfamiliar contexts, using routine and non- routine procedures. Shows ability for self- direction, requiring little supervision, and complete responsibility for own outcomes and some responsibility for group outcomes.
3 Demonstrates basic operational and theoretical knowledge and ability to interpret information. Demonstrates a range of well- developed skills and ability to apply known solutions to familiar problems. Works under general supervision with some responsibility for quality and quantity of output.
2 Demonstrates recall and a narrow range of knowledge and cognitive skills. Can carry out processes that are limited in range, repetitive and familiar. Applied in directed activity under close supervision.
1 Demonstrates basic general knowledge and numeracy and literacy for everyday purposes. Can follow simple instructions and perform actions required to carry out simple concrete tasks requiring no special skills. Works under close supervision in familiar situations and structured contexts.