European Qualification Framework (EQF)

What is the EQF?

The European Qualifications Framework is a reference system which makes it easier to compare degrees and certificates acquired in Europe. The EQF consists of eight levels and it determines learning outcomes based on knowledge, skills, autonomy and responsibility.

Qualifications frameworks in each country are designed differently, for example, they may determine a varying number of levels or they may define learning outcomes on the basis of different aspects. The levels of each national qualifications framework are adjusted to the corresponding EQF level on the basis of a common system of criteria. As a result, the levels of qualifications acquired in each country will become comparable via the EQF serving as a reference system.

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What is the EQF good for?

  • It serves as a converting device between the qualifications frameworks of various countries.
  • It makes the contents of qualifications more transparent and straightforward for employers, teachers, employees and institutions.
  • It supports geographical mobility and life-long learning.
  • Transparency intensifies trustfulness; as a result, adopting the qualification frameworks can promote the support of already existing procedures aiming at the mutual acceptance of qualifications.
  • Illustration about the comparison

The European Parliament and the Council accepted the recommendation about creating the European Qualification Framework for life-long learning in 2008.

The European Qualification Framework (EQF) connects the national frameworks as a common European reference framework and promotes the understanding, comparison and recognition of various national qualifications and reference frameworks. Its objective is to support life-long learning and mobility across Europe with the aim of employment or further studies.

The EQF consists of eight levels; it determines learning outcomes on the basis of knowledge, skills, autonomy and responsibility. The recommendation of 2008 gave a description to member states on how to connect their national qualification frameworks to the European Qualification Framework in a transparent way thus corresponding their qualification levels to the EQF levels. Also, the recommendation requested that member states develop their own national qualification frameworks following the typical aspects of their educational systems.

Since 2008, the majority of European states have established their own national qualification framework. Besides, the referencing procedures of the national qualification frameworks to the EQF have been concluded on the basis of commonly approved criteria. The advisory group of the EQF accepted the referencing report of Hungary in 2015.

In 2017, the Council has accepted a new EQF recommendation.

The document contains the common quality assurance principles, the criteria of referencing procedures, the tasks related to EQF communication and the description concerning data about qualifications.

On the EQF portal (its internationally used name is LOQ or PLOTEUS), the referencing reports prepared by each country are available. In addition, with the help of a device accessible on the site, the qualifications of each national framework can be compared.

In certain countries, the linking of qualifications to ESCO has begun. ESCO is the classification system of the European Commission connecting professions, competences and qualifications.

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The legal background of the EQF

The EQF is included in a council recommendation issued on 22 May 2017 (2017/C 189/3), which is about the European qualification framework for life-long learning and about the repeal of the recommendation (2017/C 189/03) of the European Parliament and the Council, dated 23 April 2008, establishing the European Qualification Framework for life-long learning.