SAQA 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.

Occupational Certificate: Commissioning Editor 
101553  Occupational Certificate: Commissioning Editor 
Development Quality Partner - FPMSETA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 04 - Communication Studies and Language  Communication Studies 
Undefined  169  Not Applicable  NQF Level 07  Regular-ELOAC 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

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 purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Commissioning Editor. A Commissioning Editor contributes to the strategic objectives and financial viability of the organization by developing a publishing list. The commissioning editor plans and develops titles, manages growth and financial viability of titles and ensures the product meets the needs of the market and publisher in terms of quality, budget and deadlines.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Conduct market research to determine the need for content related to a business opportunity.
  • Manage and build a defined publishing list (backlist and front list).
  • Compile, present and gain approval for a publishing proposal and budget.
  • Identify suitable author(s), negotiate contract and commission content.
  • Assess and shape the manuscript in preparation for production.
  • Put project into production and monitor progress against schedule, budget and quality requirements (briefing and monitoring).
  • Prepare and discuss the marketing and sales plan and material.
  • Monitor and analyse sales and market feedback to assess the relevance of publishing activities and identify where change or revision is needed.

    This qualification is aimed at learners in the publishing sector, who wish to pursue careers as publishers and Commissioning Editors. Qualified learners are able to contribute to all the processes involved in publishing, including identifying and developing content, adding value to content and delivering and making available content.

    The qualification provides the opportunity for those who have been employed in the sector to obtain recognition for their competencies and credit on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) for the first time. Qualified learners will also gain access to higher level, more specialised qualifications and can progress beyond the entry-level in the publishing sector to become publishers. Setting the minimum standard for education and training ensures that the outcomes of learning processes are better defined than in the past, and that learners retain their credits and qualification from a specific workplace to any other workplace in the publishing sector.

    This qualification will ensure improved access to information and knowledge for South Africans, and the publication of good quality products will enhance literacy levels and a reading culture in South Africa. In addition, contributions can be made to the development of a multi-lingual society, and to increased credibility and readability of publications, for improved communication. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment: Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification: Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
    A Level 7 qualification in any field. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge and Practical Skill Modules:
    Knowledge Modules:
  • 134917001-KM-01, Overview of the publishing industry, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-02, Publishing list management, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-03, Research for publishing, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-04, Publishing proposals, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-05, Publishing finances, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-06, Ethics, contracts and rights, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-07, The commissioning process, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-08, The content review process, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-09, The publishing production process, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-10, Managing people in the publishing process, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-11, Sales and marketing, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-KM-12, Managing a publishing project, Level 7, 6 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 38.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 134917001-PM-01, Ensure comprehensiveness and accuracy of the market information, Level 7, 7 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-02, Strategise in order to build a balanced and profitable list, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-03, Ensure realistic, feasible, profitable list growth which fits the company strategic plan, linked with the market intelligence report, Level 7, 8 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-04, Discuss and agree on content and contractual terms with the author, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-05, Review the manuscript drafts for accuracy and quality and suggest improvements, Level 7, 16 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-06, Meet budgetary, schedule and quality requirements, Level 7, 8 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-07, Meet projected sales targets, Level 7, 4 Credits.
  • 134917001-PM-08, Control stock to ensure no write-offs/overstock or stock shortage, Level 7, 2 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 51.

    This qualification also requires the following Work Experience Modules:
  • 134917001-WM-01, Market research for list-building according to the strategic needs of the organisation, Level 7, 12 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-02, Publishing list-building, Level 7, 8 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-03, Publishing proposals and budgets, Level 7, 16 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-04, Contracting authors and commissioning content, Level 7, 2 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-05, Alignment of (solicited and unsolicited) manuscripts to the brief, Level 7, 16 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-06, Digital or print publication project management, Level 7, 12 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-07, Marketing and sales plan and material, Level 7, 6 Credits.
  • 134917001-WM-08, Meeting sales targets and stock parameters according to company policy, Level 7, 8 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 80. 

    1. Conduct market research, analyse market information and compile a market intelligence report.
    2. Develop a publishing plan that enhances the existing publishing list and evaluate a related publishing proposal.
    3. Apply principles of publishing finance to compile a budget and determine the viability of a product.
    4. Demonstrate an understanding of the legal, contractual and ethical parameters pertaining to the publishing industry.
    5. Analyse, review and shape content in order to meet the needs of the target market.
    6. Apply production knowledge and problem solving techniques to ensure that the product meets the agreed schedule, budget and quality requirements.
    7. Contribute to the marketing and sales strategy for the product. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • A market intelligence report is evaluated to determine the market need for a particular product, to identify insights into the market and to make appropriate recommendations as to the development of content for that market.
  • Market research data is analysed to identify patterns and trends.
  • A competitor analysis is analysed to inform recommendations for creating and differentiating the product in the market.
  • Market information is analysed and applied to make an informed recommendation about the viability of the product.
  • A research plan for a product is critiqued with reference to the strategic needs of the organisation and the viability of a business opportunity.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • A publishing plan (including the front list and backlist) for a defined publishing list is suggested based on company objectives, market information and stock and sales history. The plan should include:
    > Suggestions for new products.
    > Suggestions for retiring products.
    > Suggestions for repurposing the backlist.
  • A publishing proposal is evaluated to:
    > Identify the features and elements of a good publishing proposal.
    > Make suggestions for improving the publishing proposal.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • An understanding of basic accounting principles (breakeven, fixed costs, variable costs, etc.) is demonstrated and applied in a publishing context.
  • Accurate financial calculations are performed to complete a product budget and to determine the cost and return on investment for a product.
  • The various production factors affecting costs in a publishing context are identified and the impact on the budget and viability of the product are evaluated.
  • The variable production costs of a publication are calculated and justified (i.e. printing, warehousing, shipping, etc.).
  • The impact of different funding models on the budget and expected return on investment are analysed and assessed.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of royalties and different royalty models are compared and contrasted and a recommendation is provided.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Terminology and clauses in a standard publishing contract are explained in plain language.
  • The concepts of rights, permission and intellectual property are clearly explained.
  • The processes required to request and grant permission to reuse intellectual property is explained.
  • The importance of ethical behaviour such as confidentiality in the publishing process is explained.
  • Various negotiation strategies are compared and contrasted in terms of applicability to a specific scenario.
  • The concept of licensing content is explained and the contractual implications are summarised.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • The elements of a good manuscript review are identified.
  • The content is evaluated and compared to the original vision in the commissioning brief and improvements are recommended.
  • The critical evaluation of the content provided by peer reviewers is analysed and mediated.
  • Communication strategies for conveying feedback to the author are suggested and analysed for effectiveness.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • The role players, the steps in the production process and the function and aim of each are identified and evaluated.
  • A schedule for a complete product production cycle is compiled or completed and the time allocation is well explained.
  • Monitoring strategies are identified and incorporated in the project plan to ensure the product meets schedule, budget and quality requirements.
  • Identify the dependencies in the process and analyse the iterative nature (digital and print processes) of the process chosen.
  • Solutions to problems related to pressure points in the production process and key deliverables (achieving the overall aim) are recommended.
  • Interpersonal and team management strategies are compared and contrasted.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Appropriate marketing materials such as blurbs, product knowledge and advance information sheets are evaluated.
  • Appropriate marketing channels are suggested.
  • Unique selling points are identified.
  • The target market, needs and characteristics are defined to inform the product proposal.
  • Sales and marketing feedback is monitored and analysed to assess the relevance of the product and to compile a revised plan for the product.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. 

    The Occupational Certificate: Publisher (Commissioning Editor) has been compared with two qualifications, namely: Undergraduate course in Bachelor of Arts (BA) Publishing Media offered by Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, a department of the UK based Oxford Brookes University and the M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media offered by the New York University (NYU) School of Professional Studies.

    The undergraduate course in BA Publishing Media offered by Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies is a three-year qualification.

    The first year of studies includes:
  • Publishing principles and practice modules.
  • Introducing key publishing technologies.
  • The creation and editing of text for publication.
  • Introducing magazine publishing.
  • Publishing and book history.

    The second year of studies includes core modules related to:
  • Editorial functions, marketing, and publishing business.
  • Changing publishing processes in a digital world.
  • Creation of digital products such as ebooks and websites.
  • A publishing research module.

    The third year of studies contains options:
  • Strategic development of publishing projects.
  • Digital forms of publishing: Print and Society.
  • Cultural context of publishing.
  • A magazine module with academic and professional strands.
  • A dissertation.
  • Research project.

    M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media offered by the New York University (NYU) School of Professional Studies is a two-year program and is advertised as: designed to provide a broad overview of traditional and digital publishing. The course includes advanced seminars on topics related to publishing as well as a project which is based on research in publishing and the development of a viable business plan. It also offers an optional work experience component.

    Compulsory subjects include:
  • Introduction to Book Publishing.
  • Introduction to Magazine Media.
  • Management and Leadership in Transitional Times.
  • Introduction to Multimedia Financial Analysis.
  • Introduction to Marketing and Branding.
  • Publishing and Internet Law.
  • Introduction to Digital Media.

    Specialisations include areas:
  • Media content development.
  • Media marketing and distribution.
  • Media profitability.

    Even though this qualification has a much more occupational focus whereas the international qualifications have a much more academic and even research focus, this qualification compares well with the two international qualifications. It covers similar topics and content such as marketing, finances, digital media, and the like. However, the occupational focus of this qualification is evident in aspects such as market research as opposed to research, list building as opposed to introducing book publishing, and focussing on publishing proposals rather than general research proposals or dissertations. It also includes the very important aspect of interpersonal communication and liaison with key role players such as authors. This qualification also covers important aspects such as contracts, terms and conditions, plagiarism, etc. which is imperative knowledge and skills for the Commissioning Editor. It can be concluded that this qualification specifically addresses the needs (knowledge and skills) of the Commissioning Editor for operating competently in the workplace. 

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication, Level 7.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Language and Literature, Level 7.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Language Practice, Level 7.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Language Technology, Level 7.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Applied Linguistics, Level 8.
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Corporate Communication, Level 8.
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Digital Media, Level 8. 



    Qualifying for external assessment:
    In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements of results and work experience.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers:
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code is: Commissioning Editor: 134917001.

    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
    This is not a trade qualification.

    Part Qualifications


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    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.