1. Purpose of the Qualification
The National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) is a qualification at NQF Level 4 on the General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-framework of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
The NASCA aims to equip students with foundational discipline-based knowledge, skills and values to enhance meaningful social, political and economic participation, to form a basis for further learning, and to enhance the likelihood of employment. In these respects, the NASCA intends to promote the holistic development of students. The NASCA recognises the contexts, needs and interests of students.
The NASCA aims to service an identifiable need in the adult education system not currently met by other qualifications on the NQF and to create pathways for further learning. It is designed to provide opportunities for people who have limited or no access to continuing education and training opportunities.
The students envisaged in the NASCA curriculum are a varied group of adults and out-of-school students who are 18 years or older, and who do not hold a National Senior Certificate or equivalent. There are no minimum entrance requirements for the NASCA. However, the following minimum prior learning is recommended:
- A documented pass at Grade 9 level; or
- A General Education and Training Certificate for Adults (GETCA); or
- Another SAQA-registered NQF Level 2 or 3 qualification with language and thematics as fundamentals.
The qualification and its assessment have been structured to allow students to demonstrate a level of general academic competence that is recognised as equivalent or superior to other qualifications at NQF Level 4. The NASCA may be used as a mechanism for recognition of prior learning (RPL).
Students who have achieved the NASCA should be able to access opportunities for further learning or employment opportunities. The NASCA articulates with other qualifications on the three sub-frameworks of the National Qualifications Framework, enabling students to access a variety of pathways including apprenticeships, Higher Certificate courses, Diploma programmes or Bachelor’s Degree programmes, depending on the level of their achievements and upon their meeting the relevant entrance requirements.
2. Structure of the Qualification
The NASCA is registered as a 120-credit qualification. Four subjects are required for certification, having equal weighting of 30 credits each.
The NASCA will be awarded to a student who has achieved at least 50% in a minimum of four (4) subjects in the external examinations.
Subject combinations are:
- A minimum of two (2) compulsory subjects: one language and either Mathematics or Quantitative Literacy; and
- A minimum of two (2) additional subjects selected from: an additional official language, Natural Sciences (Biology, Physics and Chemistry), Information and Communication Technology, Human and Social Sciences (History and Geography), Economic and Management Sciences (Economics, Business and Finance).
- A student may not register for more than one language from each of the following language groups:
a. IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu and SeSwati;
b. Sepedi, Sesotho and Setswana.
- A student may not register for both Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy.
- Candidates intending to study further must register for and pass an external examination in a language that is the medium of instruction in institutions of further and higher education.
- A student may offer more than the required minimum of four (4) subjects, worth 30 credits each. Additional subjects are reflected on the certificate.
- A student may register for any number of subjects per examination sitting. However, the NASCA qualification must be completed within six (6) years of the date of initial registration.
- A set of diagnostic tests are required to indicate readiness to take the examinations or point to areas where additional learning is advisable before taking the challenge exams.
- Students enrolled at a public or independent school can not register for the NASCA.
- Examination centres offering NASCA examinations must be registered with an assessment body accredited by Umalusi.
- A valid South African document of identification is compulsory for all students enrolling for the NASCA and registering for the NASCA examination (this includes official work or study permits for foreign nationals).
3. Mode of Delivery
The NASCA is offered as a set of challenge examinations, which allow students to prepare in any way they choose, including face-to-face, distance, private tuition or self-study. The qualification has no formal learning programme requirements (such as school based assessment) that need to be completed in order to register to write a subject. However, the demands of the subject are likely to be such that most adult students will benefit from participating voluntarily in a formal learning programme offered by a college or adult education centre like GETCA.
Should students wish to improve their results in the NASCA they may register and write a subject more than once. Full-time and part–time study can be accommodated by the qualification’s structure and design. Keep in mind that this qualification needs to be completed within a span of 6 years maximum.