Aligning National against European Qualification Frameworks

Aligning National against European
Qualification Frameworks
Conclusions and Recommendations
Bologna Conference
Tbilisi State University
November 27-28, 2008
Věra Šťastná, Charles University Prague
Expectations for
– Overarching Framework for Qualifications in the
– National qualification frameworks
– Lessons learned
– National authorities
– HEIs
– European level – Bologna Process
Overarching Framework for
Qualifications in the EHEA (QFEHEA)- expectations
more transparency into EHEA
– accommodation of the existing transparency
tools (ECTS)
learning outcomes based methodology mutual understanding and use contribute to
easier recognition (academic and possibly
facilitating recognition and smoother
joint degrees
Any advantages of the QF-EHEA can
become reality only if there are
national frameworks for qualifications
established and the relation between
the national levels and European levels
have been clearly defined, described
and validated in a trustful,
internationally recognised way.
National Framework for
Qualifications - expectations (1)
for „national“ impact
– know better own system
– more transparency
– evaluation of restructuralisation of degree
programmes based on learning outcomes
methodology - innovation
– improvement/enhancement of quality
– chance to involve all stakeholders and
improve/develop in systemic way the dialogue
with employers
– improved employability
– more educational paths will be opened including
those for non traditional learners
National Framework for
Qualifications – expectations (2)
for „international“ impact
– facilitating recognition
– smoother mobility of students and
– more transparency in EHEA
– quality enhancement
National Framework for
Qualifications – important
All existing higher education qualifications within a
given system be included (dialogue between higher
and vocational education)
Admission and progression
requirements/possibilities included
Accommodation of the existing transparency tools
Links to quality assurance system – (better if
national quality assurance system verified
Dynamic tool – space for development together
with the higher education system
National framework
closest to the operational
reality; it allows for
description of all specificities
within the national system
owned by national system
provides the broad structure
within which national
qualifications frameworks
will be developed and allows
diversity within these limits
facilitates movement between
ultimately determines what
qualifications learners will
ensures compatibility among
different national frameworks
for qualifications – serves as a
“translation tool”
describe the qualifications
within a given education
system and how they interlink
presents a common face of
qualifications” to the rest of
the world
Why do we need selfcertification?
Verifying compatibility of NQF and QF-EHEA
Showing the others that „my own“ NQF is compatible
with QF-EHEA, consequently with others NQFs
Transparency – mutual understanding
International participation - credibility – promotion of
Improvement of quality
Consequently facilitation of recognition, promotion of
mobility of students and academics
Improved „European“ employability
Experiences so far
Self-certified against existing set of criteria and
procedures (WG on QF report, 2005)
– ? Are there still valid or do they need reconciled?
Criteria and procedures for self-certification be taken
into account since the beginning when developing
Useful to co-operate – similar legal traditions, regional
cooperation, … but with due regard to overall
European understanding of issues
Learn from the others - avoid the same mistakes.
But transfer only what is transferable!!! (always check
what works in what circumstances)
Open and fair description of what does not fit fully the
European references
Content of the self-certification
reports used so far
Contextual information
Description of the higher education systems
– Admission requirements to all levels
– Progression in the system – which paths are open and which are
– All qualifications and degree awards, academic degrees (titles)
– How the quality assurance is maintained- bodies responsible, how
they operate, is quality assurance in line with the European
Standards and Guidelines?
– If there are systems of credits others than ECTS- how do they
– Etc.
Verification of the self-certification criteria
Verification of the self-certification procedures
Comparison of the Dublin descriptors with the award-type descriptors in
the NQF
Annex - Glossary
Challenges – NQFs (1)
Do we not expect too much from QFs? Do we not
overestimate their possibilities?
How many layers of descriptors should the NQF
– National – relatively very general descriptors
– Learning outcomes of degree programmes (modules)
Or sectoral level in between? If yes, how to accommodate all
European initiatives? Tuning, professional organisations
(music, chemistry, veterinary sciences, ….?
What is their place in EQF?
– non-degree certificates and consequent qualifications?
– Pre-Bologna degrees?
Distinction between academic and professional
Challenges – NQFs (2)
If we highlight our differences shall the
NQFs still serve transparency?
And could they really facilitate recognition?
– Learning outcomes related to 2nd cycle
(Master's) level unless the total of 300 ECTS was
earned by the graduate?
Do we know how to work with learning
outcomes? And do we know how to relate
ECTS credits to learning outcomes?
Challenges –
Openness - How can the most difficult issues be
brought out?
– Transparency X protecting one’s own system
How do we deal with disagreements
– between national self-certification and international
experts opinion?
– between international experts?
Who is the „God“ to decide?
How to deal with self-certification reports which are
not credible?
Differences in national settings – in legal basis,
understanding of LOs, stress on formal procedures
X content, structures for implementation,…?
Diversity in national approaches?
Challenges –
international credibility
We will have at least 48 NQFs – ultimately national
responsibility: no „European harmonisation“! What is
needed for creation one European system of them?
How to ensure enough international experts?
How to ensure common approach and common
methodology used by international experts?
How we deal with the fact that countries of EU can
chose between two compatible but slightly different
– Compatible but slightly different criteria and procedures for
self-certification/ referencing
– Two sets of structures – emerging under EU and under
– Double bureaucracy, work and costs or mutual recognition
and use?
European “QF learning paths” –
or “learning curve”?
Need of coordination at EHEA level
– Coordination group
– Network of national QF coordinators?
– Web page
Need coordination QF-EHEA and EQFLLL
Diploma Supplement
Recommendations to
national authorities (1)
National authorities should
 focus on communication with and involvement of all
relevant stakeholders (HEIs, students, employersdo not forget SMEs, QA experts, ENICs/ NARICs,…)
 pay attention that all stakeholders involved
understand why the NQF is needed and what are
their benefits;
 not to rush - implementation takes TIME; necessary
to complete NQFs soon, more important to do it
 Take into account international developments
(Bologna, EU)
to national authorities (2)
National authorities should (continuation)
 take into account the self-certification with international
participation since the very beginning of establishment of NQF
as conditio sine qua non
 prepare all documents in both mother tongue as well as
foreign widely understood language (English)
 ensure that quality assurance mechanisms in line with ESG
are part of NQFs
 look for synergies between EQF and QF-EHEA and establish
one NQF for higher education compatible with both
 follow the agreed set of criteria and standards for selfcertification
 have in mind that development of NQFs costs money and
provide funds for it
 create direct as well as indirect incentives for HEIs to be able
to implement the learning outcomes methodology
Recommendations to
HEIs should
 be actively looking for involvement,
otherwise somebody else will prepare
standards for them;
 create networks in which they could
cooperate on discipline specific descriptors
with employers, national authorities, quality
assurance experts, students, alumni,….
to European level (1)
As OFs are one of the main issues in the EHEA the BFUG should
 maintain them on the agenda
 continue the coordination of their development at the Bologna
level and use the existing and newly emerging structures under
the leadership of the Council of Europe
– prolong the mandate of the Coordination group established by the
– network of national QF correspondents which can build on the
informal contacts, personal contacts and mutual trust
– web page with information both in mother tongues and English
accessible through the Bologna web page
organise platforms for exchange experiences in full Bologna
context – mainly to avoid „discrepancies“ among countries in
information flow
make all efforts for all to understand in the same way
– emphases on terminology
– the glossary possibly developed
to European level (2)
To have credible NQFs in the EHEA the BFUG should
 create a network of international experts the
countries could use for self-certification
– The experts should be familiar with the HE system and
developments in the country they assess
– The experts should as much as possible be trained in in
the methodology in more foreign languages
elaborate reference points and guidelines the
experts could use for verification of NQF
building on existing experience with selfcertification and existing set of criteria and
procedures elaborate a check list for selfcertification process built on existing experiences
to European level (3)
The European Commission and Bologna Process should continue
co-operation to
 facilitate dialogue between different parts of education, in
particular to remove obstacles in dialogue between VET and
higher education
 build on synergies between QF-EHEA and EQF to create
conditions for national authorities to establish one NQF for
higher education compatible with both existing QFs (make life
of all - national governments, HEIs, QA bodies and in
particular students and employers easier)
 avoid to concentrate exclusively at „its own“ QF
 follow good co-operation used e.g. for referencing/selfcertification process to be able mutually recognise results of
self -certification and referencing processes
to European level (4)
The European Commission should
 continue the Bologna Experts projects and
make maximum use of the projects existing
under both LLLP and Tempus programmes;
 enable training seminars for both „Erasmus“
and „Tempus“ Bologna experts to facilitate
integrated approach and maximum exchange
of experience
 Repeat this conference in 2-3 years to see the
Concluding remarks
In spite of all pessimism and difficult issues
the QFs are important instrument
They have to be developed for the use of
stakeholders, in particular the students and
employers. i.e. with full responsibility and
Balance between political decision and
expert advise should be sought carefully
We need transparency on difficult
issues, nobody has all the answers

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