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Department of Higher Education and Technology (DHET) are already in high level talks concerning the phasing out of N1 to N3 programmes. This is not the first time such a proposal was made on the phasing out of N1 to N3 programmes. According to the Government Gazette number 1177 published on the 6th of November 2020, the proposed start of the phasing out is expected to roll out from the end of 2021.

Ensure you register now before these are phased out. Register below.

What are N1 to N3 (Nated) programmes for colleges

Nated programmes, commonly referred to as N1-N3 are Engineering courses and subjects offered by both public and private colleges. These programmes are offered under different fields which are:

The Nated qualifications shown above are offered three times a year. To obtain a National Certificate, one needs to pass four relevant subjects with a mark of 40% and above. The exams are written every trimester giving the student enough chances to progress quickly and also to re-write should they fail some of the subjects. The exam times are as follows:

  • March/April exams
  • July/August exams
  • November exams

The certificates offered are as followed:

  • National Certificate: N1 Engineering Studies
  • National Certificate: N2 Engineering Studies
  • National Certificate: N3 Engineering Studies

The exams are administered by DHET and the certificates are offered by Umalusi the quality assurer

Read more: Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Online for 2021

Reasons for phasing out of N1-N3 Programmes

According to the gazette published the following summarises the reasons for the phasing out of Nated programmes:

  • the phasing out of college languages-Business English and Sake Afrikaans will result in the N3 certificate loosing its importance. The languages were phased out by the end of 2020. The two languages were combined with the National N3 certificate to qualify for a National Senior Certificate (Matric certificate). The phasing out of the two languages therefore means a student qualifying for N3 and later wanting to study N4-N6 will no longer be qualifying as a matric certificate is a pre-requisite for diploma application. Read more on the new matric certificate coming.
  • the introduction of the National Curriculum Vocational (NCV) in 2007 was to phase out the Nated programmes as NCV was meant to solve the shortcomings of the Nated programmes. The practical component of NCV was the major shift to the only theoretical component offered by Nated programes. This disadvantaged students who study Nated courses as they pass with not practical or industry experience.
  • new qualifications were further added by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) making the industry have many confusing qualifications or alternatives that somehow confused both the students and the industry.
  • the trimester National exams offered by the DHET for the Nated exams are always a burden to the department and Umalusi has time and again raised quality issues of these National exams.
  • the curriculum of the Nated programmes was never revised and has somehow become absolute. As the world enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the TVET sector is under pressure to ensure that the programmes offered are aligned to the current changes. Failure to act accordingly will render the sector redundant and archaic.

When will the N1-N3 programmes begin phasing out

The phasing out of the Nated programmes is expected to begin from the end of 2021. This means that students have three trimesters to register for N1 to N3. From 2022-2023, students who are already enrolled for N1 to N3 will be given an opportunity to complete their studies. The last year the Nated programmes will be offered will be end of 2023.

What it means for you once these N1-N3 Nated programmes are phased out

The phasing out of N1-N3 programmes means that the students must find alternative routes. One of the important Nated qualification is N2 National Certificate as it is a requirement for trade testing in order to qualify as an artisan. The Department has identified more than four ways on which a student may still qualify for the trade testing. The only challenge of this is the time frame of the new qualifications. Instead of the three to four months courses under Nated, the new qualifications will range from more than 6 to 12 months to qualify.

Read more: Mechanical Engineering N2 Requirements

What will be replacing N1-N3 programmes

As mentioned above, there are more than four alternative routes on which students can choose from to obtain their qualifications which are equivalent to the N1-N3 courses. You can look at these in the Gazette. See the download below:

Register today for N1-N3 programmes

Are you interested in registering for the N1 to N3 courses before they are phased out. This is the best time to do so. The good news is that you have a time frame of three years to do your N1, N2 and N3. The other good news is that you have more than nine times to sit for these exams and should you happen to fail any of them you can always re-write again. The important thing at the moment is to ensure that you register and be on the system. Register now.

Remember the reason for doing these Nated courses is because they have a lot of advantages compared to what students will be forced to do in the new qualifications. Some of the advantages of Nated studies are:

  • Nated courses can be done through distance learning (correspondence) and this is not so with the new qualifications.
  • Nated studies are written three times in a year while the other qualifications are once a year.
  • Nated studies have an alternative to continue to your next level even if you failed a subject and this might not be the case with other alternatives.
  • Nated studies will save you a lot of time compared to the new courses coming.

With some of the advantages listed above, consider registering today and get started.

For more information on engineering studies, read here