European Qualifications Framework updates


As the EQF National Contact Point, QQI actively participates in qualifications policy development at EU level. In 2020, QQI re-referenced the Irish NFQ to both the EQF and the QF-EHEA (‘Bologna’) ensuring that Irish qualifications can continue to be compared to the EQF and all national frameworks in the EU.

As part of the current evaluation of the EQF, an Ireland case study is being produced which will outline the impact of the EQF on the Irish NFQ, and vice versa. Cedefop, the EU agency that supports the development of European vocational education and training policies, is also updating the inventory of National Qualification Frameworks including  an update of the Ireland inventory, capturing all framework developments since 2020.

QQI is actively engaged in these  exercises which highlight the unique challenges of operating a mature qualifications framework such as the NFQ, and that different approaches needed to maintain an embedded and well understood framework  in an ever-evolving education and training system.

The EQF Advisory Group, on which QQI is represented, is also developing guidelines on writing short learning outcomes and procedures for levelling international qualifications which will need to be considered in the Irish context. It is expected that this work will commence towards the end of 2023 and into 2024. This will  align with our IRQ project work and opening the NFQ to Listed Awarding Bodies.

RPL plans and perspectives

The EQF Advisory Group also supports and monitors the implementation of the 2012 recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (RPL). It does this in part by providing European Guidelines, and by monitoring progress periodically across the EU. In 2023 it will do both - revised Guidelines are to be published shortly, and both Country Inventories and thematic inventories are being developed. The Country Report for Ireland is underway. What do Institutions, Providers, Competent Authorities providing RPL services need to do? Make sure that their policies, case studies, reports, case studies and contact details for the relevant person is clearly signalled on their website - tell their story!

The Guidelines are different than previous versions, and strongly oriented towards individuals across all the different contexts and with the different actors with whom people engage. QQI looks forward to leading the conversations with our partners reflecting on these Guidelines in our national context.

In this European Year of Skills, QQI looks forward to supporting the Commission in celebrating the important contribution of validation (RPL) as a service to people as well as an effective policy tool.