The Qualifications System: A perspective

Qualifications Recognition
Niamh Lenehan
William O’Keeffe
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)
16th October 2013
Overview of Presentation
• The Irish National Framework of
Qualifications (NFQ)
• Qualifications Recognition
• Contact Information
Background to development of Irish NFQ
• Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999
– established National Qualifications Authority of
Ireland (NQAI) charged with developing the National
Framework of Qualifications
– established the Further Education and Training
Awards Council (FETAC)
– established Higher Education and Training Awards
Council (HETAC) (for standards and awards outside of
the university sector)
• 10 level framework incorporating:
– General education (GE)
– Further education and training (FET, VET)
– Higher education and training (HET)
The Irish Education System
• High completion rate for secondary education: 89%
of boys and 92% of girls who entered secondary
school in 2005 and 2006 sat the national school
leaving examination (Leaving Certificate) in 2012
– 94% completing the Leaving Certificate ‘established’
– 6% completed the more vocationally-oriented Leaving
Certificate Applied
• In a 2009 (30 country) study of 15-34 years old
graduates by educational orientation:
– Ireland had the lowest participation rate in a VEToriented education with 22%
– In Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria the rate is 8485%
• Major Awards are the main class of award made at a
level. For example, the Ordinary Bachelor Degree at
level 7.
• Minor Awards provide recognition for learners who
achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the
specific combination of learning outcomes required
for a major award.
• Special Purpose Awards are made for very specific
purposes. An example of a Special Purpose award is
Driving - Heavy Goods Rigid.
• Supplemental Awards are for learning which is
additional to a previous award. They could, for
example, relate to updating and refreshing
knowledge or skills, or to continuing professional
Qualifications Recognition
• Established in 2003, located within the
National Qualifications Authority of Ireland
and now QQI
• Centre which facilitates the academic
recognition of foreign qualifications in Ireland
and provides information regarding foreign
education systems (compares foreign
qualifications to Irish qualifications placed on
the NFQ)
• Provides information on Irish education and
training system, promotes recognition of Irish
qualifications abroad
Qualifications Recognition - Features
• Free of charge
• Available to individuals, employers, public
bodies, education institutions etc.
• Deal with applications on a case-by-case
• Volume: Approximately 1800 formal
Qualifications Recognition - Process
• Applicant completes an application form and submits
necessary documentation
• Comparability of the award is established (up to 1012 weeks)
• Applicants are issued with a comparability statement
providing advice on how their award compares to an
Irish award, e.g.
“… is comparable to an Ordinary Bachelor Degree which
is placed at Level 7 on the Irish National Framework
of Qualifications”
• Applicant may seek reassessment of their application
Qualifications Recognition – Information
Available (
International Qualifications Database: comparabilities available
for certain awards from a number of countries
Qualifications can cross boundaries: comparing qualifications in
the UK and Ireland
Comprehensive information on the Irish education and training
There are many UK awarding bodies such as City & Guilds that
offer programmes in Ireland. Listings of these awards with an
NFQ level are available on our website via the
following link:
Qualifications Recognition – Work in Progress
• Comparability advice online
• Review of comparability statement
structure and information
• Recognition Projects
• Policy on recognition advice
Establishment of
Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)
• In November 2012, a new integrated
qualifications and quality assurance authority
(QQI) was established under the Qualifications
and Quality Assurance (Education and
Training) Act 2012
• The Act amalgamated FETAC, HETAC, NQAI
and the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB)
• QQI is responsible for the NFQ and the quality
assurance of all post-secondary education and
training in Ireland
Websites & Contact Details
• Quality and Qualifications Ireland
• Framework website:
• Recognition website:
• Qualifax: National Learners’ Database:
• Niamh Lenehan – [email protected]
Thank you

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