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The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a recommendation of the European parliament and the Council on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The purpose of the EQF is to act as a translation device and a neutral reference point for comparing qualifications and skills across different education and training systems and their levels. The EQF is structured around eight reference levels, covering the entire span of qualifications and describing what one knows, understands and is able to do. The focus is therefore on learning outcomes rather than inputs.
This instrument has been conceived in order to increase mobility for learning and working by making qualifications more understandable across Europe. The proposal is one of the concrete outcomes of the Education and Training 2010 work programme and was called for by the 2005 and 2006 Spring European Council.
The proposal foresees that member states relate their national qualification system to the EQF by 2009, and that they designate a national centre to support and coordinate the relationship between the national qualifications system and the EQF. The European Commission intends to establish an EQF advisory group (which would include representatives of the national centres and stakeholders) in order to monitor, coordinate and ensure the quality of this process.
What’s next? The EQF proposal will be examined by the Council and the European Parliament. It is expected to be adopted before the end of 2007.
For more details and for the description of the reference levels, see document below.