For more than two decades, the European qualifications framework (EQF) and national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) across Europe have helped build bridges across different countries and education and training systems. They have strengthened trust in qualifications across borders and systems, advancing their quality, transparency and comparability.

Many NQFs are now fully operational, undergoing updates and supporting synergies between European policies and tools such as guidance, validation and Europass.

The EQF, based on learning outcomes, is the central hub linking NQFs across Europe. A total of 39 countries participate in the EQF process, deepening and widening their frameworks and their cooperation. They are now focusing on making the content and profile of individual qualifications more transparent. By offering mainstreamed information on qualifications through their databases, they are extending their outreach to stakeholders and the wider public, also beyond their borders.

Most frameworks now include all nationally recognised formal qualifications from vocational education and training, general, higher and adult education. In recent years, they have also been capturing qualifications awarded outside formal education and training and helping validate non-formal and informal learning; they are becoming genuine maps for lifelong and life-wide learning and guidance.

In parallel, countries have been looking for evidence on the added value frameworks offer to different groups of users, including qualification designers, students and employers. They have also been carrying out NQF monitoring studies, most recently Slovenia and Greece, with another planned in Portugal, to understand the current state of implementation and to plan for the future.

This year marks yet another step forward in the frameworks’ history: the European Commission has invited participating countries to connect their national databases to the new Europass portal, enabling professionals and the wider public to access information on qualifications.

Find out more on recent developments of the European and national qualifications frameworks in Cedefop’s latest briefing note.