THE NEW NURSING QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK
AbstractThe impetus for the restructuring of higher education in South Africa was political rather than educational in nature and gained momentum since the democratization of the country in 1994. The main purpose was the transformation of education and to increase accessibility to higher education opportunities for those who were previously disadvantaged and marginalised in terms of career progression. The emphasis on recognition of prior learning (RPL) to provide access to career progression was a further strategy to support the underlying principle of a national qualification framework which allowed for articulation between qualifications and provided individuals with upward mobility. The Council for Higher Education (CHE), in its ten-year review of the restructuring process, concluded that the transformation of higher education was “highly complex, consisting of a set of unfolding discourses of policy formulation, adoption and implementation that are replete with paradoxes and tensions, contestations and social dilemmas.” (CHE, 2004: 234). Based on this conclusion, it can safely be assumed that the changes in the higher education domain seen over the past years will continue in the future. The higher education scene is flexible and dynamic and adhering to policies and structures and complying with norms and standards poses continuous challenges for providers of education, including the nursing profession.The purpose of this chapter was to give a brief overview of the progression of nursing education over two decades, illustrating how nursing programmes evolved to meet the needs of the community, as well as complying with the quality standards and higher education criteria for acceptability and registration.
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