Frameworks help make qualifications easier to understand and compare. They can also encourage countries to rethink and reform national policy and practice on skills, qualifications and lifelong learning. By offering information on qualifications through their databases and on certificates, diplomas and supplements, they are extending their outreach to stakeholders and the wider public, ultimately also beyond their borders.

National qualifications frameworks (NQFs) classify qualifications by level, based on learning outcomes. This classification reflects the content and profile of qualifications - that is, what the holder of a certificate or diploma is expected to know, understand, and be able to do. The learning outcomes approach also ensures that education and training sub-systems are open to one another. Thus, it allows people to move more easily between education and training institutions and sectors.

The main catalyst for the development of comprehensive national qualification frameworks in Europe has been the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning(EQF). 38 countries committed to the EQF are developing or implementing national qualifications frameworks mostly covering all levels and types of qualifications: the 27 Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey.

The development of national qualifications frameworks in Europe also reflects the Bologna process and the agreement to implement qualifications frameworks in the European higher education area (QF-EHEA). All countries implementing the EQF are participating in this process.