60th Meeting of the EQF AG

07–12–2022

The European Qualifications Framework Advisory Group (EQF-AG) met virtually on the 28th and 29th of November for the 60th meeting of the group. Órla Barry and Andrina Wafer attended the meeting, representing the work of qualifications frameworks and validation (RPL) respectively. The meeting included the usual updates on national developments, including the timelines for the presentation of referencing reports. A comprehensive note on relevant developments was provided, much of which was covered on the agenda.

European Year of Skills

2023 is the European Year of Skills placing skills in the policy spotlight, giving a boost to the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan targets of a 78% employment rate and of 60% of adults participating in upskilling and reskilling each year by 2030. Why a European Year of Skills? Driven by the green and digital transitions, the European economy undergoes a transformation that creates many new opportunities. The green transition is forecasted to create more than 2.5million additional jobs by 20302and artificial intelligence and robotics alone will create almost 60 million new jobs worldwide in the next 5 years.3Equipping the European workforce with the skills needed enables both, companies, and individuals, to benefit from these opportunities. A workforce with the right skills allows the economy to grow sustainably, leads to more innovation and improves companies’ competitiveness.  Having relevant skills empower individuals to successfully master labour market transitions and to fully  engage  in society and democracy.

Levelling of International Qualifications

Recommendation no. 11 of the EQF refers to setting up a voluntary procedure on the levelling of international qualifications through national qualification frameworks or systems and information exchange and consultation between Member States on those procedures to ensure consistency.

A peer learning activity was held in Brussels in October 2022 to discuss a procedure for exchanging information and for notification of the EQF levelling of international qualifications in National Qualification Frameworks.

The voluntary procedure for levelling of international qualifications was proposed to the EQF AG for discussion. It is worth noting that an international qualification is defined as a qualification awarded by a legally established international body or by a national body acting on behalf of an international body, that is used in more than one country and that includes learning outcomes assessed with reference to standards established by an international body.

The EQF AG will consider the procedure again at its next meeting in February 2023.

Draft Guidelines for the Development and Writing of Short Learning Outcomes

The EQF AG and Europass AG previously agreed to set up a working group to develop guidelines for the writing of short learning outcomes-based descriptions of qualifications. Short learning outcomes-based descriptions, it is argued, can directly increase the transparency of qualifications: At national level they can form part of qualifications databases/registers and deepen the information provided by national qualifications frameworks.  At European and international level, through Europass and the EQF, they can facilitate overall transparency and comparability of qualifications.

The working group has found a common understanding on a basic structure informing the development and writing of short descriptions.  Consisting of 6 elements (length of the description; syntax of the description; overall objective and orientation of the qualification; context in which the  qualification  operates; breadth  of  learning  required; depth  of  learning required),  this  structure  provides  a  reference  point  for  experts  and  officials  responsible  for developing and writing short descriptions.

Some further testing of the guidelines is planned for early 2023 with approval expected in June 2023.

EQF Evaluation

The    external    independent    study    supporting    the evaluation    of    the    2017    EQF    Council Recommendation, launched in May  2022,  is  on-going.  The Inception phase of  the  study  has  been completed,  during  which  the  study  approach  and  data  collection  methods were  fine-tuned.  The data collection for the study is currently on-going.

With regard to  the open  public  consultation,  a  questionnaire  for  the  broader  public  and  a  call  for evidence  have  been  prepared  and  will  be  published  on  the  Have  your  say  portal  beginning  of December. The open public consultation will continue for 14 weeks, aiming at gathering opinions on the  EQF  from  the  broader  public.  EQF AG  members  and  NCPs  will  be  encouraged  to  disseminate information about the open public consultation in their networks. A  draft  interim  report  with  preliminary  findings  will be  submitted  on  21  November  and finalised  by end of 2022. This report will be complemented with further evidence to present a final version in May 2023.