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Bologna Process Development of Qualifications Frameworks Meeting of National correspondents Strasbourg, 9-10 November 2009. Developments in the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning. Carlo Scatoli DG Education and Culture. is a regional meta-framework

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Developments in the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning

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Bologna ProcessDevelopment of Qualifications FrameworksMeeting of National correspondentsStrasbourg, 9-10 November 2009

Developments in the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning

Carlo ScatoliDG Education and Culture

is a regional meta-framework

linking national qualifications frameworks or systems

through levels descriptors of learning outcomes

not related to a specific structure of the education and training systems.

The European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning

The European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning is

* a meta-framework

EU initiative

* to connect, but not to merge nor reform…

…the national qualifications systems and frameworks

National competences

…the national education and training systems

EQF will make qualifications easier to understand, appreciate and compare, and possibly to recognise,

helping people move across countries and across sectors, in the European labour market and lifelong learning area.

EQF : a meta-framework for mobility

Strong demand from social partners

EQF covers all levels of qualifications, facilitates gateways between subsystems of education and training, promotes validation of non formal learning.

EQF adopts and promotes the use of learning outcomes,a radical change of attitude in many education and training systems.

EQF : a meta-framework for lifelong learning

What a learner knows, understands or is able to do at the end of a learning process

EQF – Learning outcomes

The adoption of learning outcomes, as opposed to formal features to define qualifications, is essential for qualifications frameworks and meta-frameworks

A grid of descriptorsdefining 8 levels of qualification in terms of learning outcomesrelated to knowledge, skills, competence

EQF - Structure

In the context of the EQF,

Knowledge is described as theoretical and/or factual

Skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) and practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments).

Competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.

EQF - Structure

Example: EQF level 5

Example: EQF level 6

Member States are recommended to:

Relate their national qualifications systems to the EQF by 2010by referencing, in a transparent manner, their qualifications levels to the EQF levels

The EQF process

Member States are recommended to:

Ensure that all new qualification certificates, by 2012, contain a clear reference – by way of national qualification systems – to the appropriate EQF level

The EQF process

It is not expressly recommended that Member States set up national qualifications frameworks

The EQF process

All Member States are now developing NQFs

Member States are recommended to:

Use an approach based on learning outcomes when defining and describing qualifications

Promote the validation of non formal and informal learning

Promote and apply principles of quality assurance in education and training

The EQF process

The EQF Advisory Group – set up by the Commission, provides coherence and transparency

The national coordination points – implementation bodies at national level

EQF – Implementation

The EQF Advisory Group:

Representatives of EUR-32 countries, Council of Europe (EHEA), social partners, stakeholders (Eurochambres, EUCIS-LLL, EUA)

EQF – Implementation

Many parties concerned

Referencing – through a transparent methodology – is the first task of the national coordination points

In particular, the AG has agreed on a set of criteria and procedures for referencing national qualifications to the EQF

The EQF implementation

Referencing means to decide which EQF level is the closest to a given national level

The target is the best fit, rather than the full fit

The EQF implementation

Criteria and procedures in 10 points to ensure that the information made public - is validated by the competent authorities - is relevant and transparent- can be compared- generates trust

The EQF implementation

Close to the EHA criteria and procedures

The EQF implementation

The referencing process

Peer to peer review

EQF is a meta-framework





Mutual trust

The EQF implementation

The process of referencing national qualifications levels to the EQF

A national referencing report for each country

Criteria & Procedures 9


The EQF implementation

The process of referencing national qualifications levels to the EQF

Irish report finalised and launched on 17 September 2009

Maltese report finalised and launched on 4 November

(Preparatory) work started in all other countries


Irish EQF referencing report


Maltese EQF and EHEAreferencing report



Referenced to



Maltese EQF and EHEA referencing report

- 8 level system which captures the level descriptors of the EQF and the QF-EHEA

  • 1 credit system across the framework

    - One area of Higher Educationrepresenting academic and research degrees as well as Vocational and Professional Degrees.


The EQF implementation

16 countries referencing by 2009 or 2010 - fully on schedule

10 countries referencing by 2011 - still on schedulefor 2012

5 countries not yet able to estimate

Very provisional information August 2009,next round (Dec 2009) more accurate


Estimate August 2009


The EQF context

All Member States are setting up (or revising) national qualifications frameworkswith a lifelong learning perspectivebased on learning outcomes


The EQF context

Most are considering 8 levels, one 7 levels (Iceland)some 8 + entry level (UK-England)some 8 with one or two sublevels (Croatia, Slovenia – cf. Ireland)

Mapping by Cedefop August 2009.Next round EHEA national correspondents to be contacted


Thank you for your attention

[email protected]

1. The responsibilities and/or legal competence of all relevant national bodies involved in the referencing process, including the National Coordination Point, are clearly determined and published by the competent public authorities.

Clarity about actors and their role. Cf EHEA Crt 7.

EQF – Referencing criteria

2. There is a clear and demonstrable link between the qualifications levels in the national qualifications framework or system and the level descriptors of the European Qualifications Framework.

Cf. EHEA Crt 2.

EQF – Referencing criteria

3. The NQF or system and its qualifications are based on the principle and objective of learning outcomes and linked to arrangements for validation of non-formal and informal learning and, where these exist, to credit systems.

The learning outcomes approach is fundamental.

Cf. EHEA Crt 3

EQF – Referencing criteria

4. The procedures for inclusion of qualifications in the national qualifications framework or for describing the place of qualifications in the national qualification system are transparent.

Transparency is a fundamental requirement.

Cf. EHEA Crt 4. (EQF does not require NQF to be established.)

EQF – Referencing criteria

5. The national quality assurance system(s) for education and training refer (s) to the national qualifications framework or system and are consistent with the relevant European principles and guidelines (as indicated in annex 3 of the Recommendation).

Cruciality of QA recognised through specific annex to the EQF Recommendation.Cf. EHEA Crt 5.

EQF – Referencing criteria

6. The referencing process shall include the stated agreement of the relevant quality assurance bodies.

Completes and specifies EQF Crt 5.Cf. EHEA Prc 2.

EQF – Referencing criteria

7. The referencing process shall involve international experts.

Possibly reflecting a variety of stakeholders – it is about generating mutual trust as well as about cooperation. Cf. EHEA Prc 3.

EQF – Referencing criteria

8. The competent national body or bodies shall certify the referencing of the national qualifications framework or system with the EQF. One comprehensive report, setting out the referencing and the evidence supporting it shall be published by the competent national bodies, including the National Coordination Point, and shall address separately each of the criteria.

One country, one voice. Important to stress for an overarching framework.Cf. EHEA Prc 4.

EQF – Referencing criteria

9. The official EQF platform shall maintain a public listing of member states that have confirmed that they have completed the referencing process, including links to completed referencing reports.

The EQF platform will be managed centrally. Cf. EHEA Prc 5.

EQF – Referencing criteria

10. Following the referencing process, and in line with the timelines set in the Recommendation, all new qualification certificates, diplomas and Europass documents issued by the competent authorities contain a clear reference, by way of national qualifications systems, to the appropriate European Qualifications Framework level.

The process is achieved when the outcome indicated by the Recommendation is available – each single qualification is related to the EQF. Cf. EHEA Prc 6.

EQF – Referencing criteria

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