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Introduction to SQA


SQA is an internationally recognised leader in qualifications and assessment. We are the national accreditation and awarding body in Scotland. As an awarding body, we work with schools, colleges, universities, industry, and government, to provide high quality, flexible and relevant qualifications. We strive to ensure that our qualifications are inclusive and accessible to all, that they recognise the achievements of learners, and that they provide clear pathways to further learning or employment.

We work with a broad range of national and international partners to ensure that our qualifications and systems of education and training are relevant, reflect best practice, and meet the changing needs of individuals, the labour market, societies and national economies. Our qualifications are protected by a robust quality assurance system.

SQA has been operating in China since 2003, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) to implement a range of SQA HNDs in China as one strand of the Chinese Ministry of Education’s strategy to increase the number of students educated to Masters Degree level.

The first HND units were delivered in SQA approved centres in China at the start of academic session 2004-2005 and the first cohort of students graduated from SQA approved universities in China in June 2006. The SQA HND programme was underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the governments of Scotland and China, signed in January 2005. This promoted a 5-year programme for Chinese students studying the HND in the English language, the first 3 years of which are studied at universities in China. This government to government MOU was refreshed on 7 April 2008, and again in March 2013.

Year 1 of the 5-year programme, is a Foundation Year and this has a focus on English Language and Culture in addition to study skills. The traditional 2-year taught, full-time HND then follows and the first 3 years of the programme are delivered in Chinese universities.

Students then have several options. They may either progress to a degree programme in a university overseas or in China, or they may choose to enter the job market.

  • Year 1 - Foundation year (focus on English Language, Study Skills etc)
  • Years 2 & 3 - HND
  • Years 4 & 5 - EITHER top-up to Degree/Masters in English-Speaking Country OR employment