Representatives from the education sector across the country have started developing the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) which is being championed by the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST).

A National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is an instrument used for the development and classification of qualifications according to a set of criteria for levels of learning achieved. Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The development of this NQF for Malawi will align with the Southern African Development Community Qualifications Framework (QF).  Thus, it will enable Malawians to have their education qualifications easily recognized across the region; both by companies and educations institutions.

In addition, the NQF will allow an easier transition between different education systems and levels within Malawi.  For example, the NQF will provide formal recognition of TEVET certificate, and will make it easier for a TEVET graduate to enter into the university system.

Overall, the NQF aims to improve access and inclusion in education and training and improve education and training links with the industry. The development of an NQF will help reform the education sector to become more coherent, uniform and transparent.

According to MoEST Inspector of Schools and Colleges in the Directorate of Inspection and Advisory Services (DIAS), Jennings Matalabanda Kayira, experts are currently developing the level descriptors (guidelines) for various sections of the education sector.

He said the level descriptors are for the Higher Education, General Education (standard one to A Levels) and Technical Entrepreneurial Vocational Education and Training (TEVET).

“This initiative has three objectives; the first is to inform the participants about their membership in the Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), the second is to orient them about their new roles, and the third is to start developing the level descriptors of the NQF”, Kayira stated.

He adds, “As we are in the process of developing the National Qualifications Framework, there are structures that have been put in place. At the moment, two structures have been approved, these are; the NQF Steering Committee and Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs).”

The NQF Steering Committee will be the policy making body and its main role is to give direction on the development and implementation of the NQF while the TAGs will be advising on the technical areas.

Kayira said that five TAGs have been constituted and these are: TEVET, general education, higher education, qualifications and quality assurance, and coordinating committee.

Some of the organizations that participated in a three day workshop that took place in Lilongwe from 1st to 3rd October, 2019 are; Catholic University of Malawi, University of Malawi, Malawi Institute of Education, Institute for Chartered Accountants in Malawi, Christian Health Association of Malawi, Malawi National Examinations Board, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Employers Consultative Association of Malawi, TEVETA, the Malawi Accountants Board, Independent Schools Association of Malawi, Mzuzu University, representatives of early childhood development, primary education, secondary education,  Department of Human Resource in the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Ministry Labour, Skills and Innovation, private and public technical colleges and National Council for Higher Education.

The initiative is spearheaded by DIAS and supported through the Skills and Technical Education Programme, an initiative funded by the European Union and partially implemented by UNESCO.