The European Qualifications Framework will increase learners’ and workers’ mobility by making national academic and professional qualifications more understandable across Europe.
“People in Europe too often face obstacles when they try to move from one country to another to learn or work, or when they want to build upon previous education or training,” said Education and Training Commissioner Ján Figel’, launching the Commission proposal for a recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, on 5 September 2006.
The proposed European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is designed to function as a ‘translation device’ to make relationships between education and training qualifications of different national systems clearer. It is expected to make European general and adult education, vocational education and training systems more transparent and accessible and is, therefore, expected to enhance student and worker mobility.
The main element of the EQF is a set of eight reference levels describing learners’ knowledge, skills and competences at each level and ‘learning outcomes’, in essence what a learner knows, understands and is able to do. The EQF reference levels thus represent a shift from the traditional approach, which emphasises learning inputs (length of a learning experience, type of institution).
Emphasis on comparing the ‘learning outcomes’ is expected to provide a better match between the needs of the labour market and education and training provisions and to facilitate the validation of non-formal and informal learning.