Current consultations

At QQI, we recognise the importance of consulting with our stakeholders. We understand that consultation must be open and meaningful and that our approach impacts on the quality of the relationships we build and develop with our stakeholders. We are guided by our consultation framework as we conduct our formal and informal consultations.

Public consultation

QQI has published a series of white papers relating to the development and implementation of an International Education Mark (IEM). These white papers include:

You can provide feedback on the white papers to the following email address -

The closing date for public consultation submissions is Friday, 16 December 2022.

The proposal at a glance

At the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQI), we are changing the way that we develop and publish award standards at NFQ levels 1-4. It has taken time but with the professional advice of subject matter experts from across the education and training system, we have developed twenty new draft broad award standards for consultation.

These broad award standards look quite different to award standards traditionally developed under the Common Awards System. They are still based on learning outcomes, but these are specified at a more general level, giving providers more scope to design programmes that meet the personal, social and economic needs of all learners. Thanks to the extensive engagement with the sector to date, we think we have a suite of fit for purpose award standards at NFQ levels 1-4.

This consultation seeks views on:

  • The appropriateness of each draft award standard
  • The implementation guidelines for using broad award standards at NFQ levels 1-4



This consultation is open to everyone with an interest in qualifications, particularly at NFQ levels 1-4. We want to know what teachers, education and training providers, social partners and learners think about the appropriateness of these new broad award standards. We are also seeking views about how we plan to implement broad award standards; these plans are more technical and likely to be of interest to education and training providers in particular.

Consultation Arrangements

This consultation will remain open for 15 weeks commencing on 11 November 2022 and ending on 15 February 2023.


How to respond

There are two parts to this consultation. Part 1 concerns the draft award standards themselves and Part 2 concerns the proposed implementation guidelines for using the broad award standards.

(As well as the guidance below, we have also prepared a short explainer video.)

Part 1: Draft Broad Award Standards

When responding to Part 1 of this consultation:

  • Select one of the draft broad award standards from the list below and click on it. You will be taken to the interactive page where you will see the selected draft standard divided vertically by Knowledge, Skill and Competence, and horizontally by the NFQ levels. Once you have finished reading an individual standard, you will be prompted to share your views on its relevance and its degree of challenge. We will be asking you to answer the following questions:
    • Are the learning outcomes appropriate to the purpose of this draft Broad Award Standard?
    • Are the learning outcomes well-aligned to the respective NFQ levels?
    • Does this draft Broad Award Standard guide and support the development of responsive programmes?
    • Are there any important areas of content that we have missed?

Please note that:

  • The discipline specific knowledge, skill and competence proposed in each broad award standard establish the overall parameters for the design of associated programmes and courses. Broad award standards are not programme descriptors. Programme designers are free to use the relevant broad award standards as primary reference points in the development of programme level learning outcomes.
  • The discipline specific knowledge, skill and competence proposed in each broad award standard should be read in conjunction with the NFQ indicators highlighted in each of the draft award standards.

The suite of new award standards comprises ten core competence award standards specified at NFQ levels 1 to 4, and ten vocational award standards specified at NFQ levels 3 and 4. The award standards for core competences are aligned with the EU Key Competences for Lifelong Learning 2018 and subsequent EU competence frameworks (see 2018 EU Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning and subsequent European competence frameworks for Personal, Social and Learning to Learn in 2020 and Sustainability Competence in 2022).


Core competence award standards at NFQ levels 1-4

Vocational award standards at NFQ levels 3-4




Part 2: Implementation guidelines for using broad award standards at NFQ levels 1-4

When responding to Part 2 of this consultation:

  • As you read you will be prompted to give your views on various aspects of implementation

If, for any reason you would prefer to send us your feedback directly please email your response to please include the consultation title in the subject line of the email and make clear who you are and what capacity you are responding.

If you have any technical problems accessing or using the online consultation, please e-mail us at


Background paper

A background paper to the development of Broad Award Standards at NFQ levels 1-4 is available here.


QQI is developing statutory quality assurance guidelines for blended and online learning.  These guidelines will build upon the current and widely used guidelines for blended learning and will incorporate programmes which are designed for fully online delivery and assessment.  This initiative follows on from the emergency transition to online driven by the pandemic.  Now that that emergency phase is past, there is an opportunity to build on the learning gained as to what worked well, what didn’t work well etc.  This learning can be captured and allied to the more systematically derived learning produced by academic research in Ireland and worldwide.

The National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) in DCU made a successful tender to QQI to lead the development of the new guidelines.  NIDL, led by Professor Mark Brown, will consult with stakeholders in Ireland and will draw on its own expertise and research into national and international best practice to draft the new QA guidelines.  When the development work is complete, the draft guidelines will be published here for comprehensive consultation. 

QQI and NIDL recognise the expertise present in Irish higher and further education and training and would welcome all contributions to the development phase.  If you have something to say, please use this form to submit your contribution.  If you have queries, please use the dedicated email address to send them to us.

Please visit this page regularly for updates.

In Ireland and around the world, people use qualifications for many different social, economic and cultural reasons.  

Sometimes we take qualifications for granted and we overlook the human and material aspects that support them to ensure qualifications are relevant and trustworthy.  

This Green Paper is a discussion paper. It outlines the Irish qualifications system and includes some broad questions on possible opportunities for improvements. There is also a companion Technical Paper which contains more detail.  

QQI hopes to use the Green Paper to begin a discussion about Ireland’s qualifications system. We believe this is a very important time to focus on how the system is performing. We would like to discuss this with all the different types of people who use qualifications. They include learners, employers, parents, practitioners, occupational associations and professions, providers and their staff, regulators, trade unions, the international community and others either directly or through representative bodies.