A paper for the conference: Making the European Learning Area a Reality, 3-5 June 2007, Munich.

Mike Coles, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, London

Abstract: The pace of qualification framework development in European countries has accelerated in the last two years. The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) should be ready for implementation by the close of 2007.

National qualifications frameworks are developing in most countries. The rationale for the development of these frameworks is discussed, as are some of the main concepts, such as levels, descriptors, learning outcomes and competence. The mechanisms of influence of the EQF on the national frameworks are examined. Similarly the influence of the EQF on other European level instruments is outlined.

The rapid development of frameworks, carried out on the basis of little empirical evidence of the chances of them delivering benefits, raise many issues for the immediate and mid term. The origin and nature of these issues is explained.

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German Presidency