The education industry contains a maze of terms and acronyms that can be difficult to navigate. We’ve compiled a glossary of some of the most commonly used terms to help you make sense of it all. Simply click on the terms below to reveal their definitions!


The National Qualifications Framework (NQF)
The levels of education in South Africa are guided by the NQF. The NQF has 10 levels, ranging from level 1 (grade R – grade 9) all the way up to level 10 (doctoral degree). These levels are further divided into several types of qualifications. For example, Matric is on NQF level 4, whereas N4 – N6 national qualifications are listed on NQF level 5.
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

SAQA is responsible for developing and implementing the NQF. All national qualifications need to be registered with SAQA and will receive its own unique verifiable SAQA ID.

Further Education and Training (FET) college

Starting in 2012 already, public FET colleges have started to change their names to TVET colleges under the direction of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). This was because the DHET wanted to bring the South African educational system in line with international trends and standards. TVET stands for ‘technical and vocational education and training’. It is an international educational term that is applied to certain post-school educational institutes.

Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

The QCTO oversees the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications. Their role is to assist and guide service providers who want to offer accredited national qualifications. We offer a number QCTO accredited courses at N4 – N6 level. Click here to view them!


Umalusi is the council quality assures and also oversees the management and development of qualifications at general and further education and training level. At Oxbridge Academy, for example, Umalusi accredits N1 – N3 Engineering Studies.

South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Saiosh)

SAQA recognises Saiosh as an official professional body to register OHS practitioners in South Africa. The organisation is committed to preventing and reducing workplace incidents. By registering with Saiosh, OHS practitioners can demonstrate their competence to employers, clients and peers. Several of Oxbridge Academy’s OHS courses are accredited by Saiosh, meaning that they adhere to the highest industry standards.

British Standard Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (BS OHSAS)
BS OHSAS is an internationally recognised standard for occupational health and safety management systems. Studying a BS OHSAS course is a good way to learn about international standards related to health and safety in the workplace.
International Organisation of Standardization (ISO) courses

ISO develops and publishes international standards for various fields. ISO courses focus on environmental management systems within OHS. They give students an understanding of how to manage a company’s environmental responsibilities, such as complying with regulations and minimising impacts on the environment.

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)

IOSH is the world’s largest health and safety membership organisation. IOSH offers several short courses which are ideal for people who want basic overviews of aspects related to health and safety in the workplace.

National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH)

NEBOSH offers globally recognised health, safety and environmental qualifications. NEBOSH courses currently attract around 50 000 candidates per year, in 120 countries. After completing a NEBOSH course, students will be able to register for an exam in order to achieve their certificate.

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

MTA is an entry-level certification that teaches you the fundamentals of IT. There are several MTA courses available, ranging from software development to mobility and device fundamentals. These online preparation courses prepare you to write the MTA exams at a certified testing centre.


CompTIA is one of the world’s leading tech associations and offers a variety of internationally-recognised certification programmes. CompTIA A+ courses are an ideal way to start a career in IT, giving you fundamental knowledge of IT skills across various devices and operating systems. There are also more specialised CompTIA courses available in IT networks and security. After completing a preparation course with Oxbridge Academy, you qualify to write the CompTIA exams.

National qualifications

These are qualifications that are listed on the NQF and will earn you a National Certificate recognised by SAQA. They are recognised and highly-valued by most employers in South Africa, as they equip you with vocational skills to prepare you for the workplace. View our list of national qualifications here.

Short learning programmes
Also called short courses, these learning programmes are short in duration, taking anywhere between a few weeks and a few months to complete. They are useful for introducing you to a specific area of study or expanding your skills set. View our short learning programmes.
Online courses
Online courses can be completed on a computer, tablet or cell phone, without the student receiving any printed textbooks or submitting assignments via post or courier. For these types of courses, internet access is a requirement. View our online courses here.
Are you struggling to understand any other terms related to your studies? Send us a message and we’ll gladly help give you some clarity!


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