CPD needs streamlining
MAIN IMAGE: Joseph Sakoneka, CEO of the National Property Practitioners Council (NPPC)
An urgent appeal was made by the NPPC to urgently renew and streamline the current CPD programme run by the EAAB which is deemed inadequate to meaningfully support property practitioners in their efforts to maintain a high level of professionalism and credibility in the industry. The NPPC’s appeal in is in line with the EAAB’s strategic objective of professionalising the sector which in turn invokes public confidence and protect public interest.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is the cornerstone of any profession. The regulation in terms of the current Estate Agency Affairs Act, 112 of 1976 under the heading Continuing Professional Development provides that:
“(1) In addition to the educational qualifications referred in regulation 4, the Board may, at any time, prescribe any reasonable Continuing Professional Development requirements as contemplated in the NQF;
(2) Any Continuing Professional Development requirements prescribed by the Board in terms of sub regulation (1) must be completed over a three-year cycle”.
Last week Joseph Sakoneka, CEO of the NPPC, encouraged estate agents to adhere to regulations set by the regulatory body for the industry, the EAAB, to ensure that they obtain and comply with the various compulsory certificates and qualifications which are deemed necessary to maintain credibility and professional status of the real estate profession. As indicated above, CPD is part of the regulations to the Estate Agency Affairs Act and given its inadequate current settings, it is slowing down the very same efforts aimed at ensuring that there is continuous learning by estate agents given the constant changes in the legislative framework within which estate agents operate.
“Some of the challenges that plague the current CPD programme are, inter alia, that CPD is an expensive exercise, it is cumbersome and not in line with modern training guideless and practises. The training can be done electronically, saving both time and money for everyone involved. Unlike claims by the EAAB, course material has never been available at the beginning of the year – with a case in point the recent announcement by the EAAB that course material was only made available today (1 October 2021) for the current year.
“Further to this inability to properly manage the CPD training programme, the content of the courses is outdated, and the quality is questionable. The CPD points earned by the estate agents who did succeed in completing the examinations, are as a matter of course also not allocated or uploaded to the agents’ profiles on MYEAAB – AGENTS PORTAL (https://www.eaab.org.za/myffc) timeously. This again leads to problems in issuing FFCs – the livelihood of all agents. This also forces practitioners into different cycles, which complicates systems to keep track of progress in CPD training,” he said.
The EAAB has admitted that there are estate agents who experience difficulties in navigating the CPD portal which compromises their ability to complete the CPD programme. They have, however, undertaken, as often in the past, to issue a schedule to remotely assist the affected estate agents using a meeting virtual platform.
Sakoneka suggests a better way of converting the CPD programme into a more successful, streamlined and professional offering.
“Courses covering all relevant subjects can be produced once off and made available on an ongoing basis to practitioners participating in the CPD programme. The content can be updated or improved on continuously as more and more estate agents complete the courses and provide feedback on possible ways to further improve the content.
“All relevant topics can be covered in this way and be updated as required based on industry needs. These courses will then be available to be completed by the agents in their own time, knowing that they need to complete a minimum number of course throughout the cycle. They will then never be late in completing the cycle of compulsory modules, while the different courses are always available for those practitioners who still need to complete a certain course or series of courses. By designing the courses initially, standardisation is also guaranteed. Private entities should also be allowed to run CPD courses subject to audit by the EAAB.
“In this way the system is simplified, while at the same time keeping it effective and providing the practitioners with an ideal platform from which to further improve their own knowledge and professionalism, to the benefit of the industry and the general public as they will be served by agents with expert knowledge based on current real estate conventions and practices.
“Practitioners are then required to complete any four courses or modules per annum without repeating a module in any 4-year period. The EAAB only has to police duplication and payment, while allowing private entities to provide courses and course content, reviewed and approved by EAAB.
“In this way fees can be reduced, the EAAB will no longer be under pressure at the beginning of every year while implementing a system that is simplified, yet effective,” he said
The new CPD requirement propagated by the EAAB is likely to increase public pressure on non-registered estate agents to regularise their status. This does not bode well for non- or under-qualified persons practicing illegally as estate agents will not easily be tolerated by either prospective clients or stakeholders.
The EAAB confirmed that all estate agents who did not take advantage of the CPD fee ministerial waiver in 2020 and made payment towards the CPD programme, will not be required to pay 2021 CPD fees. All estate agents who took advantage of the ministerial CPD fee waiver for 2020, will be required to pay CPD fees for 2021. Those estate agents who have not yet done the catch-up to finalise their 2020 CPD programme is urged to complete this before 1 October 2021.