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Higher Certificate: Television and Screen Media 
90537  Higher Certificate: Television and Screen Media 
Academy of Sound Engineering 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Higher Certificate  Field 02 - Culture and Arts  Film, Television and Video 
Undefined  126  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The Higher Certificate in Television and Screen Media seeks to address these gaps by providing a qualification focused squarely on the art, science and business of creating television today - and into the future. The intention of this Higher Certificate is to equip learners with a breadth of technical, theoretical, practical, and ethical knowledge. This qualification will prepare learners to advance their studies further in a specialised area or to start to work at entry-level in the industry with a palette of tools and a professional attitude that will enable them to contribute to and advance in the industry. Most audio-visual studies provided have "film" in mind, nearly the entire existing industry is created on video for one or more aspects of "television", the latter being broadly defined.

The educational focus on old models and methods and on the techniques and processes of feature film-thinking are not aligned with the actual socioeconomic situation of South Africa, or in fact, Africa.
This qualification is designed to:
  • Provide the learner with a qualification in screen media; which addresses the complexities of a rapidly evolving and technologically complex industry.
  • Provide learners with knowledge and the necessary theoretical and practical skills, experience and expertise demanded of the entry-level practitioner in the screen industry.
  • Create a platform to satiate the skills shortage within the industry sector.
  • Provide strong and continual interaction with the industry.

    The structure of this Higher Certificate has been created as a result of our survey and ongoing needs and opportunities in the South African screen production, broadcast, and education industries, as well as recognition of the need for articulation-enabling qualifications to promote the widening of access in higher education.
    A survey was compiled from distinct types of sources:
  • "Investigation into the Feasibility of Establishing a National Film School" - National Film and Video Foundation.
  • "South African Entertainment and Media Outlook" - PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
  • "Project Gaullywood - Phase One" - Gauteng Film Commission.
  • CPA yearly studies.
  • Direct interviews with over fifty individual South African and international industry professionals.
  • Study of existing South African film/Television education qualifications in the area of Television/film.

    Overall findings were as follows:
  • By most indicators, the screen media industry seems robust.
  • The Television and Internet industries together constitute over 50% of the entire entertainment media industry in South Africa in terms of monetary spend. They are also the top two fastest-growing sectors.
  • Technological advances in all areas, especially the move to digital and high-definition production and broadcast, are forcing both broadcasters and producers to concentrate on a rapid upskilling.
  • The existing industry skills base is stagnant and is not keeping up with needs that would help drive expansion of the industry. It, too, is in need of upskilling.
  • Skills levels in industry do not attain enough breadth and depth to compete on a broad scale against international standards, especially in the areas of business, writing and technical knowledge, especially in post-production.

    This qualification seeks to address the skills gap identified by the survey. 

    This qualification assumes that the learners are competent in:
  • Communication at NQF Level 4.
  • Mathematics at NQF Level 4.
  • Computer literacy at NQF Level 4.

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    This qualification may be achieved in part through the Recognition of Prior Learning and through prior experience as a practitioner in the area of audio technology, or sound engineering. Learners can receive partial credit towards the qualification, through the Recognition of Prior Learning. This facilitates learner mobility and efficient progression through the qualification.

    RPL can also be used to admit into the qualification, certain learners who do not initially meet the full entry requirements for their target qualification. The horizontal and diagonal articulation mechanisms cater for the learning needs of those whose past learning experiences have not adequately prepared them for their chosen qualification, without forcing them to re-start their studies from the beginning.

    Access to the Qualification:
  • National Senior Certificate or NSC (Vocational), or any recognised NQF Level 4 equivalent.
  • Prior learning demonstrating an appropriate level of competence.
  • 23 years of age with at least 2 years related working experience (on application through a process of RPL). 


    The qualification comprises the following compulsory modules:
  • Learning Skills (NQF Level 5), 24 Credits.
  • Production and Distribution Fundamentals (NQF Level 5), 18 Credits.
  • Camera and Sound (NQF Level 5), 14 Credits.
  • Editing (NQF Level 5), 14 Credits.
  • Writing (NQF Level 5), 16 Credits.
  • Critical Studies (NQF Level 5), 16 Credits.
  • Introduction to Genre Production (NQF Level 5), 24 Credits.

    Total Credits at NQF Level 5 - 126. 

    1. Create, broadcast and promote a variety of screen programmes, assuming various roles and paralleling methods used in the real screen industry at an entry or supporting level.
    2. Transcend practical challenges appropriate to the screen industry, through problem solving strategies.
    3. Deal thoughtfully and creatively with issues of content, implementing an understanding of storytelling as a central aspect of screen media.
    4. Demonstrate an engagement with the issues of citizenship necessary to be a responsible screen media practitioner and demonstrate an understanding of ethical concerns.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:
    All Critical Cross-Fields are addressed throughout the qualification. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of producing tasks and processes, as well as the key terms and principles related to these tasks.
  • Evaluate and select appropriate processes within a production context and solve a variety of problems that may emerge in a typical production process, selecting appropriate organisational tools to effectively and accountably manage time and resources.
  • Gather, evaluate and organise information related to a production and communicate information effectively.
  • Demonstrate foundational knowledge of broadcasting and distribution practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the key technical aspects of broadcasting.
  • Demonstrate these competencies in appropriate projects and work effectively in supporting roles within the production aspect of a screen media project.
  • Apply principles of non-linear editing of picture and sound to perform video post-production tasks with current technologies.
  • Develop an understanding of the role of post-production within the relations involved in screen media practice.
  • Make choices about how to use post-production effectively as a tool of communication and craft.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a variety of video cameras including their technical control as well as shot selection and other aesthetic uses in various broadcast environments.
    > Range of technical control includes but is not limited to: Exposure, focus, profiles.
  • Achieve competency in lighting a variety of environments.
  • Solve problems related to camera and lighting in typical screen media contexts.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of camera and lighting within the relations involved in screen media practice, using these tools in storytelling.
  • Achieve foundational competency in sound recording in various broadcast environments and work effectively in supporting roles in the camera and lighting aspects of a screen media project.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of sound within the relations involved in screen media practice, as well as using sound in storytelling.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Identify and analyse types of scripts written in varied genres and employ creative thinking methods.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of principles of storytelling in a variety of socio-cultural contexts.
  • Research, analyse and evaluate different sources related to a writing project and organise and present the information clearly in appropriate formats.
  • Demonstrate these competencies in appropriate projects and work effectively in a supporting role within the writing aspect of a screen media project.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a variety of content that exists in the screen media field and critique and compare content, including locating characteristics of screen styles and genres within the context of film and television history and aesthetics.
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of African screen media within a global context.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Engage with critical discussion of screen media content, with reference to cultural and socio-political context, across various communities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the practices and techniques of socially engaged screen media practice.
  • Identify vocational areas, within society, to which screen media skills can be applied.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the roles of key industry players including industry institutions and their relationships and functions within the industry.

    Integrated Assessment:
    No single assessment method can adequately demonstrate the range of competencies required for the qualification. A complete, holistic and wide-ranging set of assessments is employed. The assessment strategy must demonstrate evidence through a variety of methods:
  • Written exams.
  • Skills demonstrations and class tests.
  • Homework exercises and projects.
  • Individual and group production projects.
  • Self-evaluations and peer evaluations.

    Whichever assessments are used, in whatever balance, all should assess the extent to which learner can function competently and effectively in a professional environment. They should all measure the extent to which the learner has integrated the knowledge and skills acquired through the programme, to a focus area of screen media, such as those identified in the focus modules. In other words, assessments should measure applied competence. 

    This qualification is compared with other qualifications internationally from countries with best practices.

    Australia: Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT): Certificate IV in Screen and Media:

    The Certificate IV in Screen and Media is designed for people looking to develop or enhance existing skills in TV and video production. The course operates with video production equipment used commonly in the industry and includes non-linear editing on AVID Media Composer and Final Cut Pro. Students work in state-of-the-art High Definition broadcast quality production studios Duration is one year.

    Course content:
  • Develop and Extend Critical and Creative Thinking Skills.
  • Collaborate in a Creative Process.
  • Generate Design Solutions.
  • Participate in OHS Processes.
  • Realise Productions.
  • Shoot Wide Range of TV Content.
  • Shoot Television Content in a Multicamera Environment.
  • Direct Television Programmes and Segments.
  • Work Effectively in the Screen/Media Industry.
  • Perform Basic Vision/Sound Editing.
  • Edit Screen Content for Turnaround.
  • Perform Basic Sound Editing.
  • Write Narration and Current Affairs Material.

    United Kingdom: Birkback College of the University of London: Understanding Visual Arts and Media - One-Year Practical Filmmaking (Certificate of Higher Education):

    It is envisaged that the One-Year Practical Filmmaking course will enable the successful learner to:
  • Be technically proficient in all aspects of production and post-production for film and related media, including writing, directing, producing, camera, sound, lighting and editing.
  • Be practised in the creative development and pitching of ideas and the application of production and post-production skills.
  • Be involved in the creation of three films, both individually and collaboratively as well as numerous exercises.
  • Understand contemporary industry practice and be able to apply learned skills in a professional manner and context.

  • Digital Fiction Production.
  • Moving Narratives.
  • Camera, Sound and Editing.
  • Short Film Production.
  • Writing for the Screen.
  • Directing Actors.
  • Documentary: Theory and Practice.
  • Professional Industry Practical.
  • Small Screen Production or Short Film, Big Screen.

    Based on our extensive studies of the above international qualifications, we are clear that the Higher Certificate in Television and Screen Media compares favourably with international standards and directions in screen media education, internationally in terms of the duration and the modules. The One-Year Practical Filmmaking is even more comparable with Higher Certificate in Television and Screen Media in terms of its exit outcomes. 

    This Qualification articulates horizontally with the Higher Certificate: Design, Film and Television Make-up at NQF Level 5.

    This Qualification articulates vertically with the following qualifications at NQF Level 6:
  • National Diploma: Film and Video Technology.
  • National Diploma: Film and Television Production. 

    Assessors are appointed in respect of the examination of learners from outside of the programme, to assess the practical work of the learners. The Assessors should be in possession of either:
  • An applicable qualification, at least one level higher than the level of the qualification being assessed.
  • Applicable practical experience of and in the craft being assessed.

    All faculty members accredited to deliver this qualification are considered qualified assessors for this qualification.

    Practical work is assessed with an External Examiner or Assessor twice a year, at end of Semester 1 and Semester 2. 

    The assessors and moderators must be:
  • Experts in the field of study.
  • In possession of a qualification at least one level higher than that of this qualification. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2015. 



    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
    1. Academy of Sound Engineering 

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.