cape town city

Cornerstone Institute honours Joe Samuels

National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Bodies in a Period of Climate, Policy and Technological Tsunamis:
Opportunities and Challenges


Cornerstone Institute, on behalf of the education, training and development community is honoured to host the region farewell of Joe Samuels, ex-CEO of SAQA. Joe will deliver a lecture and tributes will be led by Professor Emerita Shirley Walters.

The world has entered a period of unprecedented technological change. All institutions are grappling with what this will mean for them. Huge policy changes by multi-lateral organisations are changing the education and training landscape with many of the new policy positions requiring substantial changes by educational stakeholders and role players to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced world. All of these changes are at play while the planet is facing a massive climate crisis. The NQF Bodies in South Africa and globally are asking how they can respond to all these changes. How can they remain relevant? What are the opportunities and challenges?  Joe will reflect on some of the changes and the implications, some of the challenges and possible opportunities for NQF Bodies and educational institutions.



Joe Samuels joined SAQA in 1997 as the Director for Framework Implementation. He was promoted to Deputy Executive Officer, a position he held for seven years, before his appointment as CEO in 2012. Joe has played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in South Africa. Joe believes in building strong democratic institutions and devoted 22 years of service to contribute to the vision of SAQA as a model statutory body which embodies the values of integrity, honesty, redress and social justice. SAQA achieved 23 consecutive unqualified audit reports with a “clean” audit report in 2019. The government has further recognised SAQA’s sterling work with the signing of the NQF Amendment Act of 2019 which strengthens SAQA’s role in combating fraudulent qualifications. The pioneers of the NQF and Joe worked tirelessly to implement the NQF vision of a world-class NQF that works for the people in South Africa and its objectives of creating a single integrated national qualifications framework, promoting access, portability and international comparability. Building on firm foundations, Joe expanded SAQA’s global footprint by serving on various international fora, being part of the establishment of the SADC qualifications framework (SADCQF), serving on the drafting committees of Unesco’s Global Convention for the recognition of qualifications concerning higher education (adopted in November 2019) and the Addis Convention (adopted in 2014) which allows for the movement of learners and workers across the African continent. He served as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Proposed African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF). He is currently the chairperson of the Education Sector Committee of UNESCO South Africa National Commission. He is now on early retirement.

Gugulethu T Ndebele

Executive Director, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls

Programme Director

Professor Emerita Shirley Walters

Lifelong Learning Activist

Tributes will be led by Shirley 


17h30 for 18h00 until 20h00


Cornerstone Auditorium, 5th Floor, 2 Roggebaai Square, Foreshore,
Cape Town, South Africa, 8000


05 March 2020

Light refreshments will be served. Guests must RSVP. For more information, email or call 021 448 0050.

Cornerstone Institute
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