Different NQF Levels Explained

The various NQF levels represent different types academic achievements that have been obtain by student. If you are wondering what the different levels mean, we have the answers you're looking for.



The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a strategy in response to the changing educational environment. This system brings education and training together. It also tracks your academic achievements and ensures that they are recognised. 

The NQF levels range from level 1-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. The different levels represent the different levels of education and the different qualifications achieved by the person. 

Level 1 is a General Education Certificate (GEC). This means that the student has completed Grade 9 and is in the position to complete high school though TVET colleges if they wish. 

Level 2 is an Elementary Certificate. This is a result of completing Grade 10.

Level 3 is an Intermediate Certificate that is rewarded to students after Grade 11. 

NQF level 4 is the National Senior Certificate (NSC), this is the result of a complete Matric/Grade 12. This is the same as a Senior Certificate that is awarded after successfully completing the Matric exam.

Level 5 is a Higher Certificate. Students receive a Higher Certificate once they have completed a Higher Certificate programme at a higher education institution.

Level 6 is a National Diploma or an Advance Certificate. This diploma is awarded to students who have completed a Nation Diploma programme.

NQF level 7 is a Bachelors Degree or Advanced Diploma. To receive this you would have to have completed a degree programme at a university or other  higher learning institution.

Level 8 is an Honours Degree, received after completing an honours programme at a higher education institution.

Level 9 is a Masters Degree. This is awarded to students after they successfully complete a Masters programme in their chosen faculty

The final NQF level is level 10, this is a Doctorates Degree. Once you complete you doctorate programme, do you receive your doctorates degree and have reached the highest NQF level.

To read SAQA's official NQF Level Framework, click here.

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