Imagine a building plan of a 10-storey building. The NQF is like a plan of such a building with levels one to ten for learning. It stipulates standards for qualifications and part-qualifications. Apart from qualifications and part-qualifications, other information is also registered and recorded on the NQF. This includes professional designations and learner achievements, respectively.
As has been mentioned above, the NQF is like a map or guide that enables learners to start their education and training path. For example, schooling in south Africa begins under the umbrella of General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework or what is better known as Basic Education.
At the end of Grade 9, a learner can either take the vocational route and go to a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College or remain within the General and Further and Training Qualifications Sub-Framework and read towards a National Senior Certificate at NQF Level 4.
Similarly, the learner who takes the occupational qualifications sub-framework route will get a national certificate(vocational) also pegged at NQF level 4. These learners can also move to higher education or obtain other higher occupational qualifications. They can move across the sub-frameworks.
The NQF was created to ensure that all this is possible without learners reaching ‘dead-ends’ in their education and training.