What NQF Level Is Matric?


Figuring out which NQF level you're at with a matric certificate can seem tricky. This is why it's important to have an understanding of how NQF levels work and what they mean. 


NQF is an abbreviation for National Qualifications Framework, which is the South African framework used to arrange levels of learning achievements brought about by South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).  

There are 10 levels of learning achievement and each South African has to identify which level they have acquired in order to know the level of skill they have and where they can go with that qualification.

Grade 12, or Matric, falls under NQF Level 4.

The full list of NQF Levels are as follows:

General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub Framework

  1. NQF Level 1: A general certificate. Completed grade 9. 
  2. NQF Level 2: An elementary certificate. Completed grade 10.
  3. NQF Level 3: An intermediate certificate. Completed grade 11.
  4. NQF Level 4: A national certificate. Completed grade 12/matric. 

Higher Education Qualification Sub Framework 

  1. NQF Level 5: A higher certificate. 
  2. NQF Level 6: A diploma. Advanced certificate
  3. NQF Level 7: A Bachelor's degree. Advanced diploma. 
  4. NQF Level 8: An Honour's degree. Post-graduate diploma. 
  5. NQF Level 9: A Master's degree. 
  6. NQF Level 10: A Doctoral degree. 

The main purpose of the National Qualifications Framework is to ensure that each student gets the opportunity to enhance their personal development by moving from one NQF level to the next.

The higher you go, the more qualified you are. The more levels you acquire, the more skilled you are. 

NQF qualifications also guide learners in choosing the correct pathway to be able to work within their chosen career. They relay the skills required for a job area and how to get these skills.


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