Frequently Asked Questions (Manual to the Hungarian Qualifications Portal)

What is the HuQF?

The Hungarian Qualification Framework (HuQF) is a tool that arranges the degrees and certificates available in the Hungarian qualification system in a comprehensive and systematic way based on learning outcomes and hierarchy levels. The HuQF organizes the qualifications of the Hungarian educational and training system into eight levels based on knowledge, skills, attitudes, autonomy and responsibility. The HuQF reveals the pathways that can be followed in the Hungarian qualification system and establishes a connection with the qualification systems and frameworks of other member states by means of the European Qualification Framework.

What is the EQF?

The European Qualification Framework (EQF) is a reference scheme which makes it easier to compare the degrees and certificates acquired in Europe. The EQF operates as a converting tool between the qualification systems and qualification frameworks of each country making the contents of qualifications more transparent and more understandable for employers, individuals and institutions. Its primary objective is to encourage geographical mobility and life-long learning. Thus, it can contribute to the recognition of qualifications abroad as well.

The EQF consists of eight reference levels based on learning outcomes which together form a compliance system. In this way, it is able to match the levels of different national qualifications frameworks and helps the interpretation of the relationship between qualifications (qualifications and vocational qualifications) issued in each country.

The eight levels of the EQF is defined by a set of descriptors indicating the learning outcomes relevant to qualifications at that level in any system of qualifications. These descriptors are knowledge, skills, autonomy and responsibility. The descriptors were formulated to make a definite distinction between levels and to show a clear improvement from the previous level.

What are the objectives of the HuQF?

When introducing the HuQF, the following explicit objectives have been developed:

  1. creating a unified system for the outcome regulating factors of education and training on various levels, encouraging the harmonization of these regulating factors,
  2. strengthening the quality assurance systems of education and training and supporting the development of their coherence,
  3. recognising the knowledge and competences acquired through formal and informal learning,
  4. enhancing cooperation with social partner organizations and supporting coordination related to policy-making within the educational and training systems,
  5. a more effective orientation of planning and developing educational-training programs,
  6. supporting the more efficient operation of career guidance systems and career choice on an individual level,
  7. providing systematic information about qualifications to companies (employers); the information should be interpreted in a European context also.

The most important expected results of its introduction and operation were the following:

  1. The transparency of educational and training systems improves, which
    1. provides guidelines to the individual and to all stakeholders of the educational sector and the labour market about the contents and practicality of qualifications;
    2. contributes to strengthening the effectiveness of education and training and to increasing labour-market relevance.
  2. Mobility improves between educational and training systems and between pathways of formal and informal learning. By doing so,
    1. the appeal of studying increases in society in general;
    2. the fairness of education and the possibility of accessing various forms of learning improves;
    3. the prospects of social mobility improve.
  3. The technical and legal circumstances of joining the European Qualification Framework are established. As a result,
    1. in a short period of time, Hungary becomes an active participant of the emerging unified European educational area;
    2. confidence increases in Hungarian qualifications on a European scale, which intensifies the appeal and recognition of Hungarian educational systems, especially that of the higher educational sector, on an international level;
    3. competitiveness of the labour force having Hungarian qualifications improves in the European labour-force market.

What types of qualifications can be included in the HuQF?

The HuQF contains the following Hungarian qualifications which can be characterized by an EQF level also:

  • the upper secondary school-leaving certificate based on Act CXC (2011) on Public Education;
  • the certificates of vocational qualifications (included in the National Vocational Qualification Register) that are approved by the state and are defined in Act CLXXXVII (2011) on Vocational Education and Training;
  • the certificates of secondary level vocational qualifications acquired in technicums and vocational schools, that are approved by the state and are defined in the Act LXXX (2019) on Vocational Education and Training;
  • qualifications and vocational qualifications certified by a degree on the basis of act CCIV (2011) about the national higher education system (advanced-level vocational qualifications, additional trainings related to a certain specialization, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and degrees certifying a qualification acquired during an one-tier master’s program);
  • Add-on qualifications based on the on Act LXXVII (2013) on Adult Education

Other adult training programmes not preparing for a qualification have not yet been integrated in the framework.

How does the HuQF work?

The levels demonstrate how difficult and complex the knowledge is that can be acquired by obtaining the qualification.

The description based on learning outcomes makes it more obvious what the individual obtaining the certificate knows, is capable of achieving, what attitudes she/he has and to what degree of independence and responsibility she/he can perform certain tasks.

By indicating the level of qualifications and applying descriptions based on learning outcomes, Hungarian qualifications become more understandable and comparable.

What is a qualification?

Qualifications are accepted in the HuQF on the basis of the definition approved by the Council recommendation. According to this, ’a qualification is the formal outcome of an evaluating and validating process. It is issued when the competent committee declares that the individual has achieved learning outcomes that correspond to given requirements’.

What is a learning outcome?

Learning outcomes are descriptions related to knowledge, skills, attitudes, autonomy and responsibility revealing what a person knows, understands and is capable of achieving at the end of a learning process.

What is a thematic field?

The unified international classification system of education (ISCED) has been developed by the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation of the United Nations (UNESCO) with the aim of facilitating the comparison of educational statistics and indicators of various countries by implementing unified and internationally accepted characterizations. Each qualification is classified to a certain thematic field on this basis. More information is available about the unified international classification system of ISCED here.

What is the Hungarian Qualification Register?

The Hungarian Qualification Register contains the name, classification level, thematic field, description and duration of obtainment of qualifications categorized in the HuQF and having an EQF level also. Besides, the database contains the institutions releasing the degrees as well.

With the help of the register, an interested user can assess in what scientific field it is worth to engage in further studies on the basis of his/her present qualifications and competences. Also, the principles and possibilities of qualification frameworks and the guidance documents of the EQF National Coordination Point are available.

The database of qualifications on a European level is available on the Europass website.

What is the history of the HuQF?

In 2008, the European Parliament and the Council accepted a recommendation about the introduction of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) of life-long learning and prepared a recommendation to member states on how to adjust their national qualifications to the EQF. The government of Hungary made a decision about creating a qualification framework and joining the EQF in 2008. It was at this point that the government established an inter-ministerial committee which was responsible for developing the framework.

In 2011, the government modified the name of the framework to Hungarian Qualification Framework (from National Qualification Framework). Besides, the title of the inter-ministerial committee was altered to HuQF Professional Working Group. As a result, of the first phases of developments, in 2012, the government decided that the HuQF had to define the learning outcomes of the Hungarian Qualification Framework on eight levels and that the characteristic features describing each level, the so-called descriptors, had to be determined on the basis of knowledge, skills, attitude, and autonomy and responsibility.

In 2014, the government accepted the classification of qualifications regarding public education, vocational training and higher education to HuQF levels. In 2015, the European Commission approved the HuQF, the levelling of qualifications into the HuQF and the verification of referencing the HuQF to the EQF through its advisory group.

Consequently, in addition to the HuQF level, qualifications classified in the HuQF are entitled to adopt the relevant EQF descriptor.

In 2017, the Council accepted a new recommendation about the EQF, which defines further responsibilities to member states and to the European Commission.

What is the history of the EQF?

For lifelong learning, personal development, competitiveness, employment, social cohesion and with the acceleration of globalization, social mobility became an increasingly integral part of our image of education, learning and employment. This trend evoked the need for qualifications obtained in different countries to be interpretable, comparable and thus acceptable in the EU Member States.

The development of the EQF began in 2004 with aim of establishing a common reference for improving the transparency of qualifications. The European Commission has proposed an eight-level framework based on learning outcomes, and started a consultation across Europe in the second half of 2005. Based on the opinions received, the proposal was amended and adopted by the Commission on 6 September 2006.

Following the proposal’s successful negotiation by the European Parliament and the Council successfully in 2007, the EQF was formally adopted in 2008. Its key purpose is to establish a common reference framework which works as translation tool that aids comparison between different qualifications frameworks and their levels in public education, higher education and vocational education and training.

In 2017, the European Parliament and the Council has accepted a new EQF recommendation which already contained the experiences of the previous decade. Based on these, the Council recommendation invited the Member States to keep the referencing of national qualifications networks to the EQF up-to-date. It also introduced quality assurance principles focused on qualifications with EQF levels and changed the ‘competence’ descriptor to ‘autonomy-responsibility’ to avoid contradictions with other competency definitions.

What is the referencing process?

During the referencing process experts compare the levels of HuQF with the levels of EQF and demonstrate that the learning outcomes required at each level correspond to each other. Namely, if a student obtains a qualification at level 5 in the HuQF, it also corresponds to level 5 according to the EQF. Linking the national qualifications to the HuQF is also part of this process. As a result, countries whishing to join the EQF prepare so-called Referencing reports.

The Hungarian Referencing report was accepted in 2015. It describes the Hungarian education and qualification system, the history and goals of the Hungarian Qualifications Framework, the types of qualifications and their classification to the framework, the referencing mechanism of the HuQF and EQF, the connection of qualifications in each education and training sector, and the quality assurance of qualification classification.

What is validation?

The knowledge, skills and competencies acquired in non-formal and informal learning settings are mostly undocumented and they are not recognised and accepted. Their recognition is difficult; thus, it means the waste of appropriate allocation of training capacities and individual learning time. To address this situation, validation procedures are developed and used. Validation can identify competences gained in non-formal and informal settings, makes them visible with documentation, recognises them during an assessment process and in the form of a certificate helps the transfer of competences for both the individual and the labour market.