In 2007, the Malta Qualifications Council published the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF) based on eight distinct levels which reflect the European Qualifications Framework. The level descriptors for the MQF are the result of the political, economic, cultural and social priorities of the country.
Among recent major achievements by the Malta Qualifications Council is the publication of the Referencing document. This report outlines the referencing process of the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF) to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF/EHEA).
The document sets out the European context of reforms as part of the Bologna, Lisbon and Copenhagen processes, in which Malta has been an active participant. Emphasis is placed on the shift from learning inputs to learning outcomes and how programmes of studies offered in Malta referenced to the MQF will have to respect this paradigm. It also outlines the knowledge, skills and competences expected to provide the content of qualifications, among them vocational qualifications, aligned to the MQF and referenced to the EQF and the QF/EHEA. It proposes the use of a credit system that will enable training providers to match their qualifications to the level descriptors of the MQF. Learners will then be able to gauge their capacity in progressing from one level of qualification to another.
The proposed credit system is based on a uniform scheme in which all levels, with the exception of Level 1 (with 40 credits), are to have 60 credits per one full-time year of study or training. One credit represents 25 hours of formal (contact hours), informal (self-study) and/or non-formal learning (backup training and learning experiences). The scope of this proposition is to develop a system which is similar to both ECTS and ECVET, and which will enable a smooth lifelong learning process where one can easily move up the MQF.
The referencing process is pegged to both the EQF and the QF/EHEA and describes the criteria and procedures to be used for referencing national qualifications to the EQF as well as an outline of the level-descriptors of the MQF compared to those of the EQF and the QF/EHEA with practical examples taken from already existing home-grown programmes. A detailed table of learning outcomes covering Levels 1 to 8 as referenced to the EQF and the QF/EHEA is included.
Since the publication of the referencing document, the number of qualifications offered by both state and private institutions referenced to the Malta Qualifications Framework has been increasing steadily. There were also many private training providers in various sectors of vocational sectors who have applied to have their courses level rated and given a weighting in terms of credits. Malta is thus on the fast track to having all its qualifications as well as short courses, particularly in vocational education and training, referenced to the Malta Qualifications Framework and consequently to the European Qualifications Framework. It thus marks a major step towards a system where learners can accumulate credits of learning and work towards full qualifications and move from one level to a higher level of the Malta Qualifications Framework.