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* EKK (dutch)


European Qualifications Framework

On 24 October 2007, the European Parliament voted in favour of adopting the Recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The EQF will link countries' qualifications systems, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable to Member States, employers and individuals and so enable individual citizens to move to another country to work or study.

At the national level, the EQF will, and is indeed already doing this, promote the development of national qualifications frameworks (NQFs). Qualifications frameworks promote lifelong learning by, for example, making it easier for people to move between different types of education and training institution, for example between higher education and vocational education and training.

As an instrument for the promotion of lifelong learning, the EQF encompasses general and adult education, vocational education and training, as well as higher education. It applies to all types of qualifications from those achieved at the end of compulsory education to those awarded at the highest level of academic and professional or vocational education and training.

The core of the EQF is its eight reference levels describing what a learner knows, understands and is able to do - their 'learning outcomes' - regardless of where a particular qualification was acquired. The EQF reference levels therefore shift the focus away from the traditional approach, which emphasises learning inputs (length of a learning experience, type of institution). Shifting the focus to learning outcomes:

  • supports a better match between the needs of the labour market (for knowledge, skills and competences) and education and training provisions;
  • facilitates the validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • facilitates the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and training systems.

The EQF foresees that Member States relate their national qualifications systems to the EQF by 2010 and that their qualifications contain a reference to the EQF by 2012. It will therefore enable individuals and employers to use the EQF as a reference tool to compare the qualifications levels of different countries and different education and training systems, for example vocational training and higher education.

The EQF is therefore an example of a common European reference developed in close cooperation with the countries and for their citizens' benefit.


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