About Qualifications and credentials

Qualifications – the certificates and diplomas awarded following education, training and learning – are vital in modern societies. They affect our ability to get a job, practise a profession, pursue lifelong learning and move between countries.  They also affect our general social standing and status. Qualifications are important:

  • for employers, signalling what can be expected from a potential employee;
  • for education and training, confirming that a candidate has successfully achieved a set of learning outcomes;
  • for policy makers, as a focal point of education and training policies, providing among others a tangible output of learning processes.

While qualifications and degrees from initial education and training play an important role in Europe, new types of credentials (including digital badges, microcredentials, nano-credentials and others) are increasingly promoted as a complementary way of valuing learning, allowing individuals to collect and ‘stack’ learning experiences in a flexible way, at their own pace and throughout their life.

A broad range of qualifications are now included in national qualification frameworks linked to the European qualifications framework (EQF). These frameworks make understanding and comparing qualifications easier within and between countries, while they encourage countries to rethink and reform policy and practice on education, training and lifelong learning. Qualifications frameworks and related reforms have contributed to greater transparency of qualifications systems, and improved access to lifelong learning opportunities.