The South African organisation responsible for evaluating foreign qualifications is called the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). If you are a Nigerian and you are planning to further your education in South Africa, this blog post aims to help you simplify the SAQA evaluation process.
In this article, we will be looking at how to evaluate your qualifications with SAQA. And why SAQA evaluation is your first step to applying to a South African university and other tertiary institutions in South Africa. This post will give a brief explanation of why SAQA evaluates your documents, and how it is evaluated. I will show you which of your school certificates to send to SAQA, where and how to authenticate or certify your academic transcripts, and where to find the SAQA application forms. I will also explain SAQA fees and how to send your payments too. You can browse through this post using the table of content below.
What Is the Meaning of SAQA?
SAQA stands for the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). This agency of the South African government is recognized as a legal entity. SAQA has a board made up of experts from the South African economy’s education, business, labour, and training sectors. These board members are appointed by South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training.
Primary Purpose of SAQA
The sole responsibility of SAQA is to ensure that South Africa’s National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is appropriately implemented. The National Qualifications Framework is responsible for ensuring that knowledge and skills obtained through any formal learning in South Africa is recognised throughout the country.
SAQA ensures that this implementation is done through its oversight functions. For international students applying for SAQA evaluation, the government authority evaluates the applicants’ educational certificates to determine if it is in line with South Africa’s National Qualifications Framework requirements. To submit a study or critical skills visa application to Home Affairs, the South African immigration policy requires that SAQA must evaluate every academic certificate submitted. This appraisal is to determine if the credentials can be recognized as valid in South Africa.
SAQA undertakes other primary functions stipulated in section 13 of the National Qualifications Framework Act of South Africa. Some of these functions include:
- SAQA working with the Quality Councils to maintain standards.
- Development and implementation of policies and criteria for its oversight functions of the National Qualification Framework.
- Undertake qualifications and part-qualifications registration on the National Qualification Framework.
- It gives recognition to professional organizations, including the registration of other professional designations.
- The body initiates research and, in the same manner, cooperates with its international counterparts.
- The qualification agency maintains and preserves the National Learners Records Database.
- SAQA evaluates foreign qualifications, including advising relevant bodies about such international qualifications.
- It provides information for the public about the National Qualifications Framework.
- SAQA acts in an advisory capacity to the South African Minister of Higher Education and Training.
Why SAQA Evaluates Documents
The primary reason why the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) undertakes to evaluate credentials submitted by applicants is to ensure that your educational documents are recognized across South Africa.
This evaluation is in fulfilment of the provisions of the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The National Qualifications Framework is the recognized educational framework in South Africa. Applications that are not in line with the NQF will not be accepted. The framework is part of South Africa’s national integration plan to maintain a unified recognition value chain.
How the SAQA Evaluation Is Done
The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) follows a two-stage evaluation process. Steps are taken to verify foreign qualifications correctly. Some of these steps are:
1) SAQA undertakes the accreditation or recognition of certificate-issuing bodies from various systems or countries. These issuing bodies include universities, polytechnics, Colleges of Education, the Ministry of Education, etc.
2) Determination of legitimacy to ensure that the accredited issuing bodies validly issued the certificates presented to SAQA. And that the documents submitted to form part of the national qualifications applicable in that country.
3) SAQA makes sure the credentials or qualification documents are authentic and genuine, as claimed by individuals.
4) After Steps 1 – 3 are completed, SAQA compares the foreign qualifications to that of South African qualifications. It undertakes this function by viewing the structure and results of the international qualifications. The foreign qualification is placed within the South African National Qualification Framework by SAQA.
Important Notes On Foreign Qualifications:
- Only nationally recognized institutions can issue a formal qualification recognizable by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA).
- National institutions here refer to formal learning or educational institutions recognized by the Nigerian Ministry of Education and have the federal license to operate as an educational body in Nigeria.
Foreign Qualifications That SAQA Doesn’t Recognise:
- Professional memberships.
- Certificates issued at short courses like seminars, short training services, or workshops.
SAQA evaluation applications with the above qualifications will simply be disregarded.
SAQA VeriSearch & The National Learners’ Record Database
The National Learners’ Record Database (NLRD) is saddled with the critical responsibility of managing the electronic information system that helps SAQA oversee the NQF. This procedure ensures that an accurate report is kept on all aspects of South Africa’s education and training system. The National Learners’ Records Database is the first of its kind in the whole world. The NLRD database provides vital and credible information regarding accredited education providers or certificate issuers.
The NLRD database, in a nutshell, provides a means for you to check if your educational institution is accredited or not through the National Learners’ Database. You may also send an email to ‘email@example.com‘ to verify your institution or your course program.
Why Your Certificates And Transcripts Are Compulsory For SAQA Evaluation
The South African Qualification Authority has made it compulsory for you to submit your academic transcript, especially for graduate programs applications. The transcripts to be submitted must be of high quality, and they must contain your official educational history.
These documents are vital because they contain essential information that is specific about the following:
– Courses offered and credits obtained
– The detailed composition of the academic program and your
– Academic evaluation and performance.
SAQA Application Forms
In the past, you could pick up SAQA application forms at SAQA offices in Pretoria optionally, you could obtain application forms online. Due to the Covid pandemic, this process has changed. Applicants are now required to obtain online application forms.
You can find the link to SAQA online application here: Apply for SAQA evaluation.
You are required to register your user name and lodge an online application. The steps to filling out the online SAQA application form are as follows:
- Register and set up an account on the SAQA website
- Select New Application: Evaluation Option and fill out all the entries
- Print your application upon filling out the forms
- Sign the Declaration page
- Print and fill out the Consent form
SAQA Online Application System also contains extra information, which includes:
- A Notice Section where SAQA posts important alerts;
- The currents costs of SAQA evaluation;
- Costs per qualification submitted for evaluation;
- A description of how online payments can be made ;
- A description of how to compile and submit documents after creating an online profile;
- A description of the process of receiving the evaluation results and how applicants will be informed;
- A description of the appeal process and guidelines for claiming refunds and obtaining cancellations.
If you need assistance with your application from SAQA’s help desk, call their official helpline number at +27 (0)860 111 673.
And for general inquiries via email, send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost of SAQA Evaluation Certificate
It is the norm for SAQA to review its cost/tariffs for applications from prospective applicants on a date decided upon by the authority. It is important to note that the fees listed below are subject to review by SAQA.
- Evaluation for the first qualification submitted: R1700-00
- Application assistance: R320-00.
- Screening fee: R320-00.
- Evaluation for each subsequent qualification submitted: R850-00
- Authorisation for a third party to access one online record three times R100-00
Kindly note that the above fees are not refundable.
- Appeal fees for Stage 1: R2190-00
- Appeal fees for Stage 2: R3280-00
Also, kindly note that SAQA will fully refund the appeal fee if it upholds an appeal or if a Stage 2 appeal is upheld. Thus, fees for both stages will be refunded.
SAQA also charges for cancellation before the registration process is complete. It charges an admin fee of R450-00 and an additional R320 to cover refunds made to international bank accounts. If the applicant cancels after registration is complete, then he or she will forfeit their money.
How to make payment to SAQA
SAQA accepts payments made via its online payment system. No cash deposits or electronic funds transfers are accepted.
Duration For SAQA Evaluation
South Africa Qualification Authority does not have a fast track or special evaluation services to speed up verification processes. All SAQA verification process is completed within 2–20 working days. Note that the priority chosen when filling the SAQA application form, including the availability of the submitted records on the NLRD, will determine the duration of your evaluation.
The South African Qualification Authority’s standard regarding evaluation or verification is to ensure that an outcome is done and decided within twenty (20) working days. If such is not achieved within this stipulated period, the request will be considered “inconclusive” and closed.
How To Make Payment to SAQA
For payment of applications, SAQA allows only two types of methods of payments.
The e-commerce option, which involves the payment through the use of registered bank cards, can be done from any part of the world. Bank Cards issued by Mastercard and Visa are accepted, and you can make the payment on SAQA’s website. This method is available to all applicants.
The second option is cash payment—this option involves the payment into SAQA’s bank account, which is domiciled with Standard Bank of Africa. Upon payment, a printout bank slip will be issued to you by the bank for further verification and processing. This method is only for applicants in South Africa. Find the banking details for SAQA below:
SAQA Banking Details:
Account Name: SAQA
Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
Account number: 010 516 433
Branch code: 010 045
Swift code: SBZA ZA JJ + account no.
Remember to use your online application submission number as the reference when making payment.
NOTE: For each online application, applicants must make separate payments. A Unique Submission Number will be automatically linked to the payment made.
How To Send Your Academic Transcripts to SAQA
The South African Qualification Authority (SAQA), as a statutory body, receives academic transcripts from applicants from every corner of the world. You can send your documents to SAQA in two ways; either by dropping off your educational papers at the SAQA office in Pretoria or sending them via a courier service.
All other methods apart from these methods will not be accepted by SAQA.
List Of Documents To Send To SAQA
The documents to be sent to SAQA must include the following:
|– A printout of your fully completed SAQA application form.
– You must affix your signature (applicant) to the application.
NOTE: All scanned or faxed documents will not be accepted due to the risk of alteration.
|Proof of Payment
|– The total amount of money paid must be clearly indicated in the application, and you must include proof of payment.
– All payments made must be per any of the two valid methods (Debit card for all applicants or Bank deposit for applicants in South Africa).
– The Unique Submission Number must be indicated as a reference number at the top of the application form.
NOTE: All applications without the Unique Submission Number will not be considered.
|Proof of Identity
|– A document showing the official name and valid identity (ID and other relevant permits) of the applicant must be present, e.g. Your Nigerian International passport.
– The statutory authority must stamp this document to authenticate it.
|– A duly signed consent form that authorises SAQA to authenticate and verify the application must be present in the application pack.
|– These are your relevant academic documents.
– All qualification documents to be sent are basically organized into two categories; general requirements for all applicants and specific requirements for applicants from specific countries.
List of Academic Documents Required For SAQA Evaluation
The following are a list of academic documents that you may be required to send to SAQA:
- Secondary School Leaving Certificate: Nigeria’s official examination body (WAEC, NECO, or JAMB) must issue the Secondary certificate you present. This is only for applicants applying for the undergraduate programs.
- Complete Academic records and subject lists for postgraduate applicants: All the relevant certificates leading to the highest qualification obtained must be presented. Also, you must include official verification and attestation letter from the institution.
– If you have a Bachelor’s degree, you only need to submit your Bachelor’s certificate and transcripts to SAQA for evaluation.
– If you have OND and HND degrees from a Nigerian Polytechnic institution, you only need to submit your certificates and transcripts to SAQA.
Sworn Translations For Foreign Certifications
There must be a sworn translation for certifications that are not in English and obtained from foreign countries. The country’s issuing commission must duly sign such a certificate.
It is important to note that you should not include the following documents in your SAQA evaluation application:
- Professional Certifications and Memberships from professional bodies.
- Workshop training and certificates earned through short courses.
- Certifications of courses studied outside your country’s education standard.
Where And how To Authenticate Your Academic Documents In Nigeria
Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the statutory body responsible for discharging the duty of attestation and authentication of Nigerian issued documents. To get your academic transcripts certified and authenticated, follow the procedures below:
- Visit the nearest Ministry of Education closest to you to submit all your educational certificates and documents for attestation and authentication. Expect to pay a small fee for this service.
- Upon proper scrutiny of and attestation to all your certificates by the Ministry of Education, proceed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to submit your documents to the Legal Services Division for further authentication processes.
- Make necessary payments as instructed by the authorities at the Department of Legal Services. These payments come at different price tags depending on the certificate.
- After you must have made the payment, get proof of payment. Afterwards, submit your academic transcripts for certification and attestation at the Department of Legal Services (LSD) of the Ministry.
- Await feedback from the LSD on the proposed date to ascertain your documents authentication process.
Alternatively, you may also visit the nearest Nigerian Court to you for certification of your academic documents. This has shown to be quicker and less stressful in recent times.
Extra SAQA Evaluation Application Support Tips
For an easy and stress-free application experience for Nigerian SAQA applicants, the following extra support tips might be of valuable help to you;
- It is important to note that messages sent to SAQA may be delayed due to logistic issues.
- Therefore, applicants must be patient when dealing with the Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications’ office, as supports are given based on emergencies.
- To get more inquiries from the office for attending to the evaluation of foreign qualifications, you can call 0124315070 to help on relevant issues.
- For general enquiries, send a query to the support email address: email@example.com.
- If you wish to visit the SAQA physical office in Pretoria, the office is open every weekday from 08:00 to 16:30
- you must send National Qualification Framework related enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips For Calling SAQA Call Centre
- Make sure you employ all telephone communication etiquette
- Go straight to the point
- All information disclosed will be treated with confidentiality unless otherwise stated.
Availing yourself with valuable information on why SAQA is your first step is a bold step to securing your dream admission at a South African University. Leveraging on the support tips explained in this article will go a long way in reducing the stress involved in the documentation process, the authentication of your qualification documents and the eventual issuance of your SAQA evaluation Certificate.
I advise you to master the evaluation procedures and make available all your relevant documents required for authentication to avoid unnecessary delays, which might hinder your chances. Best of luck and don’t forget to share your experience below! If you have questions, post them below. And if you require paid support with your SAQA application, send your enquiries via the contact form for a quote.