The European Qualifications Framework (EQF): for greater understanding of diplomas and qualifications in different countries
In Europe, qualification systems differ from one country to another and can be completely dissimilar. As there is no question of making all the systems uniform, the European Ministries dealing with vocational education and training (VET) have decided to set up a common reference framework to make it easier to compare qualifications. The aim behind this is to encourage mobility.
The framework was adopted by the EU Member States in 2008 and has established a comparability model linking up national qualifications systems and the EQF, which is gradually being implemented in European countries. This year, in 2012, all new qualifications will refer to a level in the EQF.
Who is concerned by the EQF?
The EQF applies to mainstream education, VET, higher education and lifelong learning for adults.
How does it work?
The EQF contains 8 reference levels ranging from qualifications obtained at the end of compulsory schooling to the highest level in higher education.
Each qualification level describes the learning outcomes in terms of knowledge (theoretical and/or practical), competences (cognitive and practical) and skills (responsibility and independence). One of the goals of this qualifications framework is to validate informal and casual training and education.
In practical terms
The organisations which are responsible for national or sector-based qualifications frameworks and systems must equate their respective systems with the EQF. Individuals, employers and education and training organisations can then compare the qualifications issued by different countries and education and training systems.
For example, with this system, your diploma should indicate an EQF reference level. If you are applying for a job in Austria, for example, the company manager can find out what your diploma corresponds to in Austria through the reference framework.