$File/INFORM_13_National%20qualifications%20frameworks.pngINFORM - Issue 13 - National qualifications frameworks: contributing to better qualifications
National qualifications frameworks or NQFs classify qualifications according to a hierarchy of levels in a grid structure. Each level is defined by a set of descriptors indicating the learning outcomes relevant to qualifications at that level, which vary in number according to national needs. Currently NQFs have 5, 7, 8, 10 and 12 levels. Qualifications in an NQF can be compared by individuals, employers and institutions. When different countries’ NQFs are linked internationally, qualifications can be compared, which in turn supports mobility. But the implications of establishing and using an NQF go well beyond simply classifying and comparing qualifications.
Countries develop NQFs for many reasons. While many EU Member States use NQFs to coordinate their existing qualifications systems more efficiently, ETF partner countries use them to support wider national education and training reforms. These include bringing education and training closer to the labour market, developing relevant qualifications, creating progression routes linking vocational education and training (VET) with higher education, and working towards a greater recognition of qualifications within the country and abroad.
NQFs are not new, but the recent surge in the number of countries developing them is remarkable for its speed and geographical coverage. Before 2000, only a handful of countries had NQFs. Now 142 countries worldwide have embarked on developing NQFs, including 27 of the ETF’s 31 partner countries. NQFs are part of a wider search for international solutions in education and training. They are also an attempt to support mobility at a time when economies are increasingly integrated and interdependent, where technical specifications of products or services are becoming more unified and where labour migrates across borders. Download INFORM - Issue 13 - National qualifications frameworks: contributing to better qualifications.