SETA and Accreditation Understanding Credits Unit Standards

Understanding SAQA Credits

Understanding SAQA Credits

In this short video we look at understanding Unit Standards or Qualification Credits from the South African Quality Authority.

Links used in this video clip.

SAQA Website:



See our video online here:

NQF Credits

SAQA uses a credit system based on the idea that one credit equals 10 notional hours of learning, motivated in context in each case.

Quick Calculation

1 Credit = 10 Notional Hours

‘Notional hours of learning’ refers to the learning time that it would take an average learner to meet the outcomes defined. It includes concepts such as:

  • contact time
  • time spent in structured learning in the workplace
  • individual learning
  • assessment

OBE (Outcome Based Education also known as Common Core Learning) is also based on 30% Theoretical Learning and 70% Practical Learning.

  • 30% Theoretical Learning by means of self study or classroom or other means.
  • 70% Practical Learning means in the workplace, practical experience doing the function or job.

So now we can take this a bit further.

  1. 1 credit – 10 notional hours.
  2.  30% of the 10 notional hours = theoretical learning (3 hours recommended)
  3. 70% of the 10 notional hours = practical experience (7 hours recommended)

This means that for every 1 credit we recommend 3 hours of theoretical learning and 7 hours of practical experience. This is however only a recommendation and in practice we normally link 5 credits to a 1 day training programme, 10 credits to a two day programme and 15 credits to a three day programme.

Now looking at a qualification.

Now the smallest qualification we get consist out of 120 credits.


a) 120 credits x 10 (part of the calculation) = 1200 notional learning hours.
b) We also know that:

  • We normally train 8 hours a day.
  • There is 5 working days in a week.
  • There is average 4 weeks in a month.

From the above we can see that the smallest qualification is recommended to be delivered/completed over a 10 months period. (3 months for theoretical learning and 7 months for practical experience).

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