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In many countries, the rectors’ conferences of the different types of higher education institutions behave like adversaries rather than allies. Not so in Switzerland. A recent example of smooth cooperation between the representative bodies of the universities, Fachhochschulen and pedagogical institutions is the joint development and adoption of a national qualifications framework for higher education.
The three rectors’ conferences submitted their joint proposal to the Federal Ministry of Education (Staatssekretariat für Bildung und Forschung) already in late November 2009. The joint document describes the learning outcomes across institutional types for the Bachelor, Master and Doctoral Degrees. According to the authors, the challenge was to agree on descriptors wide enough to accommodate the differences between the different types of institutions, but also between cantons and single institutions. With the adoption of its qualifications framework, Switzerland has fulfilled a requirement set by the education ministers of the European Higher Education Area in London (2005), to be implemented by 2012 at the latest.