National qualifications frameworks (NQFs) across Europe are developing fast, evolving from a tool to describe qualifications systems into a means to reform and modernise them.
Most countries in Europe have developed NQFs over the last decade, spurred by the European Parliament and Council 2008 recommendation on the European qualifications framework. Following an initial phase of work on the national frameworks’ design and formal adoption, many of these are now attaining maturity.
Frameworks in 23 European countries have reached an operational stage. Fully operational frameworks increase the transparency and comparability of qualifications across countries and education systems. They directly benefit both education and training professionals and the general public, e.g. through qualifications databases and the inclusion of European qualifications levels on national diplomas and the Europass supplement.
As NQFs develop, they take on new functions. Some NQFs take on a regulatory or reform role and directly influence the way qualification standards are set, curricula are designed, and teaching and training practices integrate learning outcomes.
More information on recent developments in the field of qualifications frameworks can be found in Cedefop’s briefing note Qualifications frameworks in Europe – coming of age.