The outcry from industry and employers is that training and learning providers are churning our graduates that are “half- baked”.
These qualification holders are just mere paper holders that lack the required skills to be able to fulfil their job roles practically once employed. These sentiments are being echoed repeatedly with requests to the education sector to quickly look into the plight of the current skills gap being experienced.
In order to solve this problem ZAQA is developing National Occupational Standards (NOS) with experts from the Government, academia and industry. As part of the Authority’s mandate as stipulated in the Zambia Qualifications Authority Act No. 13 of 2011 in Part III, Section 9 (1) (h) determine national standards for any occupation. ZAQA has developed guidelines for the development National Occupational Standards in consultation with relevant stakeholders in industry and academia for certain sectors.
What are National Occupational Standards?
National Occupational Standards (NOS) are statements of the standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the sphere of knowledge, skills, competency and autonomy levels that candidates should attain for effective performance in a specific job.
How the skills gap will be minimised by NOS
The curriculumor learning programs developed in both the Trades and Occupations and the Higher Education Sub frameworks will be based on available NOS developed by ZAQA with input from industry. This will ensure that training is based on industrial standards stipulated in the respective NOS. The graduates of these Learning Programs will be expected to acquire relevant and matching knowledge, skills and competencies obtaining in Industry. The mismatch of skill and knowledge is set to be eroded through the development of NOS and ensuring that every Learning Program is using the occupational standards.
Developed NOS to Date
The National Occupational Standards are primarily aimed at ensuring that the outcome from the education system responds to Industry needs and vice versa. The Authority has developed and launched National Occupational Standards in the following sectors:Tourism, Agriculture Manufacturing, Construction, Mining and Energy
All the developed and published NOS are available for download and use from our website https://www.zaqa.gov.zm/about/#downloads
Mulenga Kasase (Ms.)
Information Education& Communication Specialist