Shirley Lloyd, director of South African National Qualification Framework Directorate, told The PIE News that the French agreement process has started in April 2018 and could take up to eight months.
“We have already signed one with Russia, we are very close to signing one with China, and India as well,” she said. “We are hoping to have those signed and ready at least by September this year.”
The country currently has qualification agreements with Germany, Russia, Brazil and the SADC region.
“There is already that agreement of equivalence and parity of esteem”
Lloyd added that South Africa is also working to create an agreement with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.
The main purpose of the agreement is to enable student mobility across borders.
“If a student holds a bachelor’s degree from Brazil and they want to come to South Africa to do a master’s, there is already that agreement of equivalence and parity of esteem.”
Lloyd said that a qualification agreement can also help refugees if their details are stored on its digital system.
“If refugees are coming from other countries, they can provide us with where they studied via our digitised system.”
“We can then place them within our framework, they can then study further or apply for a job because we can give them an e-certificate to say what their qualification would equate to.”
Agreements tend to arise out of a lead from student demand to study in specific places, Lloyd explained.
She added that there are 66,000 international students currently studying in South Africa, 8.8% of whom are from 15 countries in the SADC region.
Regional education ministers from the 15 SADC countries approved a framework for the area in 2011. The countries are now working on alignment projects and the implementation program is very similar to the Bologna Process, Lloyd said.