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Initiated in 2008, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning is a means to relate and integrate the different national qualifications systems within the EU into a common European framework, thus acting as a sort of translation tool to facilitate the intra-European mobility of learners and workers. The EQF is based on eight reference levels defined according to the increasingly-popular concept of ‘learning outcomes’. In order for the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) to be linked to the EQF, the national systems would need to be defined on learning outcomes as well. However, so far, only few EU member states have adapted their reference systems accordingly.
In a drive to bring more transparency to and boost the visibility of the EQF among member states, the European Commission launched a new information source earlier this year - the EQF Newsletter. Despite the many steps ahead to fully implement the EQF, the Commission released a second edition of the EQF Newsletter at the end of July to bring attention on recent achievements in this area. This new edition features, among other topics, articles on the UK qualifications framework, a report by CEDEFOP on recent NQF developments in Europe, and some lessons from the ‘Australian experience’ in dealing with qualifications.
With parallel developments under the Bologna Process ‘umbrella’, the challenge to bring more convergence between national processes in implementing the EQF and the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area will almost certainly persist into the future.