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Act No. 9 of 1997 empowers the Council “to establish awards in technical education which are consistent in standard and comparable to related awards at national and international levels”.

NACTE awards are known as National Technical Awards (NTA) and adopt a Competence-based (CBET) modular system (credit-based).

The Council has to set qualifications standards for the awards, hence the objectives.

The NTA are designed to testify that the holder of the award is able to apply competently the knowledge and skills described in the relevant occupational sector.

The NTA system has seven levels linked to a three level system of VETA, known as National Vocational Training Awards (NVTA), to provide a ten level framework of Technical and Vocational (TVET) qualifications.

Each NTA qualification has a broad competence level descriptor.

TVET Qualifications Framework

Level Award
NVTA 1 Certificate of Competence – Level I
NVTA 2 Certificate of Competence – Level II
NVTA 3 Certificate of Competence – Level III
NTA    4 Basic Technician Certificate
NTA    5 Technician Certificate
NTA    6 Ordinary Diploma
NTA    7 Higher Diploma
NTA    8 Bachelors Degree
NTA    9 Masters Degree
NTA  10 Doctor of Philosophy

Competence Level Descriptors

Level Competence Descriptor
NTA    4Basic Technician Certificate Apply skills and knowledge at routine level.
NTA    5Technician Certificate Apply skills and knowledge in a range of activities, some of which are non-routine and be able to assume operational responsibilities.
NTA    6Ordinary Diploma Apply skills and knowledge in a broad range of work activities, most of which are non-routine.
NTA    7Higher Diploma Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in a broad range of complex technical activities, a high degree of personal responsibility and some responsibility for work of others.
NTA    8Bachelors Degree Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in a wide and unpredictable variety of contexts with substantial personal responsibility, responsibility for the work of others and responsibility for the allocation of resources, policy, planning, execution and evaluation.
NTA    9Masters Degree Display mastery of a complex and specialized area of knowledge and skills, employing knowledge and understanding to conduct research or advanced technical or professional activity, able to work autonomously and in complex and unpredictable situations.
NTA  10Doctor of Philosophy Apply knowledge and understanding and do advanced research resulting into significant and original contributions to a specialised field, demonstrate a command of methodological issues and engaging in critical dialogue with peers, able to work autonomously and in complex and unpredictable situations.

Description of Awards

Intermediate Professional Awards

NTA    4Basic Technician Certificate Part of Technician Certificate Programme; a bridging stage to equip leavers of VETA, Academic and Technical Secondary Schools with basic intermediate professional competencies.
NTA    5Technician Certificate Stage for imparting key intermediate professional competencies; graduates may proceed to study for Ordinary Diploma.
NTA    6Ordinary Diploma Stage for imparting full intermediate professional competencies; graduates may proceed to study for Bachelors Degree.

Undergraduate Awards

NTA    7Higher Diploma Part of Bachelors DegreeAward providing an exit to students who may need a break before completing the degree programme or have failed at the final degree stage.
NTA    8Bachelors Degree Stage for imparting full professional competencies.Graduates may proceed to do a Masters Degree.

Graduate Awards

NTA    9Masters Degree A stage for professional specialization; graduates may proceed for Doctor of Philosophy studies.
NTA  10Doctor of Philosophy A stage for contributing to the existing body of knowledge through applied research; graduates may proceed with life–long learning.

Comparative Training Duration

Year Technical Qualification Secondary / University Qualification
1 Basic Technician Certificate Form V
2 Technician Certificate Form V I
3 Ordinary Diploma University Year 1
4 Part of Higher Diploma University Year 2
5 Higher Diploma University Year 3
6 Bachelor Degree BSc Degree

Credit Values

A credit is an award made to learners in recognition of learning achievement, expressed through estimation of notional (average) learning time.

A notional time is a period spent by an average student in learning about something towards realizing a learning outcome.

1 credit = 10 notional hours.

NACTE Credit System

NTA Level Minimum Total Credits Min CurrentNTA Level Credits Max Credits From LowestNTA Level
4 120 120     0   (Nil)
5 120 120 0   (NTA 4)
6 240 120 30 (NTA 5)
7 360 120 30 (NTA 5)
8 480 120 30 (NTA 5)
9 180 150 30 (NTA 8)
10 540 360 30 (NTA 8)

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