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The European Qualifications Frameworkfor Lifelong Learning (EQF) Drs. Joop Nafzger Consultant CINOP/NA LLP, Leonardo da Vinci 18 september 2008
Qualifications frameworks in many countries and sectors, in Europe and beyond. • These frameworks take many forms and appearances Common to them all is: • Tackle the increasing complexity of modern education, training and learning systems. • Principal aim is to clarify the main routes to a particular qualification. • Qualification frameworks are also used for quality assurance and development purposes.
Growing mobility of workers and learners, increasingly combined education and training from different countries and lifelong learning, implies increased and better communication between these frameworks. • Questions related to progress, transfer, accumulation, recognition and quality development can only to a limited extent be treated in the context of single (isolated) national or sectoral frameworks; • Challenge: to build bridges between these different frameworks and systems.
History in a glimpse • Developments started since 2003, trying to strengthen the links between frameworks at national and sectoral level and thus supporting lifelong learning. • The real development of the EQF started in 2004 in response to requests from the Member States, the social partners and other stakeholders for a common reference to increase the transparency of qualifications.
History (continued) • The Joint Interim report of the (Education) Council and the Commission (February 2004) on the implementation of the ‘Education and Training 2010’ work programme gives priority to the development of EQF.
History (continued) • In the Maastricht Communiqué (14 December 2004) Ministers responsible for VET in 32 European countries, European social partners and the Commission agreed to give priority to the development of an open and flexible European Qualifications Framework • So providing a common reference to facilitate the recognition and transferability of qualifications covering both VET and general (secondary and higher) education • Europe-wide consultation process from July to December 2005
History (continued) EQF was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 23 April 2008.
Qualification framework in NL • the initiative in the Netherlands is different from other countries: at sectoral level! • the government has delegated significant decision-making authority to the social partners and to representatives of the education sector. • In the Netherlands, qualifications are developed by sectoral organisationsthat, while formally under the supervision of the social partners and of representatives of the education sector, make decisions independently, within theirown sectoral frameworks
centres of expertise • The so called Centres of expertise are the institutions that develop the Dutch qualification structure for vocational education. Together with companies and schools they are responsible for senior secondary vocational education and training. • In the Netherlands have 18 Centres of Expertise, each organised around one sector or branche of industry. • Together with the Centres of Expertise, the social partners, training firms, stakeholders on education and training and government make a contribution to good and attractive vocational education.
Role of social partners • In general, not only the Netherlands, but also Belgium, Switzerland, Germany all have strong employers’ organisations and unions that consider co-operation in development of qualifications • These organisations and unions are also able to mobilise the necessary staffing and financial resources and to operate collectively with respect to their memberships. CEDEFOP: www.trainingvillage.gr
Common principles and criteria,required to link national qualification systemsand frameworks to the EQF • Quality assurance • Standards for quality assurance • Procedures for self-certification • Qualifications based on learning outcomes • Transparency
EQF- a meta framework • EQF maintains the function of an organizing system that enables users to see clearly how qualifications embedded in different national and sectoral systems relate to one another. • Structure of common reference levels of learning outcomes. • No detailed equating of specific qualifications one to another or any of the regulatory, legal, wage bargaining and quality assurance functions. • This means that a meta-framework can look quite different to the common qualificationsframeworks.
EQF Focus on Learning Outcomes EQF LearningOutcomes Non-Formal Learning Informal Learning Formal Learning
The main elements of the EQF 8 COMMON REFERENCE LEVELS
A base for cooperation! • EQF implementation is voluntary • Entailsno legal obligationson Member States or sectors • Fosters changeby supporting and informing reform
What EQF is NOT! • EQFnot about replacingnational/sectoral frameworks • EQFnot about harmonisation • EQFCANNOT define new qualifications
All kind of on-going projects • Developing key methodological units for the implementation of EQF by means of NQFs - EQF by NQFs • EQF Network Testing - EQFNET-T • Trans-European Qualifications Framework Development – TransEQ Frame • Competence Orientation and Learning Outcomes in Higher Education - HE_LeO • Qualified for Europe - Q4E • Implementing the EQF in the sports sector - Implementing the EQF in the sports sector • Towards a EQF - The Stakeholders` views and experiences - EQF - Stakeholders • Approach for the Matching process of Outcome-based curricula to the EQF in vocational education - AMOR • EQF Flexible References and Methods of Evaluation - EQF-FRAME
The exchange of experience during the creation and testing of sectoral qualification frameworks and their drawing near to each other, in the light of EQF - EQF Embodiment • Nordic co-operation between Ministries on the European Qualification Framework - EQF- Nordic ministries co-operation • European Auto Sector Competence Meta Framework - EASCMF • EQF in Chemistry - Permeability within vocational education with respect to the chemical industry • EFA – European Financial Advisor - EFA
EQF – developments • Political decision-making at EU level is ‘ready’ • 2010: relate the NQF’s to EQF? • 2012: all Qualifications reported in the EQF