Analysis and overview of NQF developments in European countriesAbstract

In 2012, countries across Europe confirmed their commitment to developing and implementing national qualifications frameworks. Most of the 36 countries working together on the European qualifications framework (the 27 EU member states as well as Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey) have now agreed on the overall structure of their frameworks. In addition to the fully operational frameworks in France, Ireland, Malta and the UK, 10 more are now entering an early operational phase.
Cedefop’s fourth annual report on European NQF developments confirms that qualifications frameworks are seen as a key tool for improving transparency and comparability of qualifications at national and international levels. Frameworks are increasingly used to support incremental change in education and training. A significant development during 2012 is the opening up of NQFs to qualifications outside the formal, public system of qualifications, for example awarded by non-formal and private institutions and bodies. The 2012 overview shows that NQFs increasingly interact with and link to arrange ments for validating non-formal and informal  learning. The recent (December) agreement on the Council recommendation on validation of non-formal learning reflects the priority given to this area, inviting member states to put in place validation arrangements – linked to NQFs and in line with the EQF – by 2018. The progress made on NQFs has made it possible for more countries to complete their link to the EQF; 16 countries had linked their national qualifications levels to
EQF levels by December 2012.

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