Provider Programmes vs Accredited Programmes

When you choose to start studying you need to be sure of all the facts and information before you begin with a course. There are many options available to you and it is important to understand what exactly these option mean.What is the difference between a provider programme and an accredited programme?

What is the difference between a provider programme and an accredited programme?

Here you will find the main difference between a provider programme and an accredited programme  to help you better understand your choices.

Accredited Programmes Provider Programmes
An educational institute must apply to the relevant regulatory body (for example, a SETA or Umalusi) for accreditation to offer that programme. The Academic Head must apply to the College’s Academic board to offer that programme
The regulatory body will prescribe exactly what that programme must cover in terms of content and assessment. The Academic Board must decide exactly what is included in the programme in terms of content and assessment.
Students are given their awards from an external regulatory body, for example, by SETA or by the Department of Higher Education and Training. Students are given their awards from the educational institution.


A student is awarded Credits for a successful completion of the entire, or part of the programme. These credits are loaded onto the National Learners Records Database. A student is not awarded national credits. The student may receive exemptions from components of other Provider programmes.

With both types of programmes, a student can request that their employer contributes toward their study fees. Employers can claim for reimbursement for paying for the studies of their employees as according to the Skills Development Levy. You can find out more about how to claim skills levies here: Claiming Skills Levies

What does Legislation say about non-credit bearing Provider-Type programmes?

An education provider is encouraged either by legislation (Skills Development Act, The Constitution, The National Skills Development Strategy III, the DHET’s Strategic Plan – revised version: March 2012) and the DHET’s White Paper for Post-School Education and Training 2013, or by more altruistic motivations in terms of social, educational and economic upliftment, to provide such skills programmes.

(1)   The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

Within the SAQA document “Criteria and Guidelines for Short Courses and Skills Programmes”, reference is made to the fact that: “Short course provisioning has a very particular place in the system and has an important role to play in the development, up-skilling and multi-skilling of human resources.”

“Short course provisioning is one of the most dynamic features of the emerging education and training system of South Africa.   …. A third area where short course provisioning is important is where learners require a target short learning programme to upgrade skills and knowledge to ensure success in their chosen field of learning.

… Non-credit-bearing short courses include a variety of short learning programmes for which no credits are awarded.   … In conclusion, the purpose of short learning programmes could be any or a combination of the following:

  • To provide learners with practical (hands-on) learning where appropriate;
  • To increase employability, self-employment possibilities and mobility within a workplace and a sector;
  • To provide access to learning opportunities towards nationally registered unit standards and qualifications;
  • To provide occupationally directed and focused learning; and
  • To contribute towards closing the skills gap as identified in the Workplace Skills Plan (WSP), the Sector Skills Plan (SSP) and National Skills Plan (NSP)”.

(2)   The DHET’s White Paper for Post-School Education and Training 2013

Extract from the Minister’s Preface:

“We envisage a system that is made up of a diverse range of educational institutions and institutional types that will expand considerably over the next twenty years to cater for the millions of people – especially the youth, but also a large number of adults – who need its benefits. It will be a system that recognises that the right to access an educational is not enough and that institutions must provide education of a high quality. The system envisaged must provide paths for articulation between various qualifications, and there should be no dead-ends for students; there should always be a way for someone to improve their qualifications without undue repetition. Meeting the needs of learners of all ages and levels must be a central purpose of the education and training system.”

Extract from the Introductory Conclusion:

“The White Paper sets out a vision of a transformed post-school system which in an integral part of the government’s policies to develop our country and improve the economic, social and cultural life of its people. The post-school system that is envisaged is one that will be more equitable, much expanded and more diverse that it is at present … The system will be integrated in such a way that the different components complement one another, and work together to improve the quality, quantity and diversity of post-school education and training in South Africa.”

Extract from the Background and Challenges:

“The social and economic challenges facing South Africa have also changed. Today, national priorities are seen somewhat differently by government compared to earlier years of democratic rule. In particular, the persistence – and in some ways the intensification – of serious structural challenges associated with unemployment, poverty and inequality have stimulated and refocused the thinking of policy makers and citizens. … It is essential that the post-school education and training system responds to these, especially with regard to expanding the pool of skills and knowledge available to the country; achievement of this goal will enable the expansion of the key economic focus areas and equip young people to obtain work.”


Last updated: November 14th 2016

Call Now Button