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    At Prestige Academy we offer prospective students a wide variety of qualifications. This past month we highlighted some of our programmes on offer, but we know that all the education jargon can be overwhelming.  This week we are going to talk about the difference between a certificate, diploma and a degree programme. Firstly, this will provide you with a better idea of what type of programme will suit your needs and secondly knowing the differences (and application) for each type of programme can be very beneficial to achieve your educational and career goals.

    Before we start by explaining the different type of programme levels, here is a quick crash course regarding the different NQF levels. NQF stands for the National Qualifications Framework, which is the South African framework used to arrange levels of learning achievements. The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a single integrated system for the “classification, registration, publication and articulation of quality-assured national qualifications”, as shown in the table below:

    Higher Education Qualification Framework

    Source: HEQF (Higher Education Qualification Framework)

    Let’s take a closer look at the details:

    WHAT IS A HIGHER CERTIFICATE?

    A Higher Certificate indicates that you have achieved a basic level of higher education knowledge and skills. After successful completion of a Higher Certificate programme, you will be able to apply your skills in the workplace and improve your overall understanding in the field of study.   Higher Certificates can include programmes such as our Higher Certificate in Photography, Higher Certificate in Marketing etc..

    According to HEQF (Higher Education Qualifications Framework), a

    “Higher Certificate is primarily vocational or industry-oriented. The qualification provides students with a sound knowledge base in a particular field or discipline and the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to particular career or professional contexts while equipping them to undertake more specialised and intensive learning. Programmes leading to this qualification tend to have a strong vocational, professional or career focus, and students and holders of this qualification are normally prepared to enter a specific niche in the labour market”.

    Duration of study: One year

    NQF level: 5

    WHAT IS AN ADVANCED CERTIFICATE?

    The Advanced Certificate provides you with a sound knowledge base in a particular field or discipline and the ability to apply the knowledge and skills gained to particular career or professional contexts. This also equips you to undertake more specialised and intensive learning. Programmes leading to this qualification tend to have a strong vocational, professional or career focus and holders of this qualification are normally prepared to enter a specific niche in the labour market. Advanced Certificates can include programmes such as our Advanced Certificate in Photography, Advanced Certificate in Graphic Design ect.

    According to HEQF (Higher Education Qualifications Framework), an Advanced Certificate

    “is primarily vocational or industry-oriented. It emphasises selected general principles together with more specific procedures and their application and/or technology transfer. The qualification provides students with a sound knowledge base in a particular field or discipline and the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to particular career or professional contexts while equipping them to undertake more specialised and intensive learning”.

    Duration of study: One year

    NQF level: 6

    WHAT IS A DIPLOMA?

    With a Diploma programme, the academic emphasis is placed on a more practical approach to learning. This qualification focuses on vocational training, with the purpose to prepare you to work efficiently in a particular field, for example, as a web developer or marketer. A comprehensive understanding, together with specialised skills, will enable you to apply for various jobs in the area you have studied. Diplomas could include programmes such as our Diploma in Business Management and Diploma in Business Marketing.

    According to HEQF (Higher Education Qualifications Framework),

    “this qualification primarily has a vocational orientation, which includes professional, vocational, or industry-specific knowledge that provides a sound understanding of general theoretical principles as well as a combination of general and specific procedures and their application. A depth and specialisation of knowledge, together with practical skills and experience in the workplace, enables successful learners to enter a number of career paths and to apply their learning to particular employment contexts from the outset”.

    Duration of study: Three years

    NQF level: 6

     WHAT IS A DEGREE?

    With a Degree qualification, the emphasis is placed on an academic approach to a specified field of study or profession, such as business management, law, pharmacy or architecture. Critical thinking is balanced with practical application, with programmes often giving a rounded overview of the modules. Some examples of our degree programmes are Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts in Visual Communication Design and Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management.

    According to HEQF (Higher Education Qualifications Framework), the primary purpose of a degree,

    “is to provide a well-rounded, broad education that equips graduates with the knowledge base, theory and methodology of disciplines and fields of study, and to enable them to demonstrate initiative and responsibility in an academic or professional context. Therefore it emphasises general principles and theory in conjunction with procedural knowledge in order to provide students with a thorough grounding in the knowledge, theory, principles and skills of the profession or career concerned and the ability to apply these to professional or career contexts”.

    Duration of study: Three years

    NQF level: 7

    I hope it is clear that there are a wide variety of paths of education available to you as a prospective student. Which one is best suited to your needs will depend on your academic and career goals and if you comply with the minimum requirements for admission.

    Still, confused? Attend our Open Day on Saturday 28 July 2018, from 08h30 till 15h00 or the Open Registration week from 8-12 October 2018.