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Further reading : National qualifications framework

UNESCO-UNEVOC has compiled a short selection of academic or professional articles that might help to clarify the signification and the use of the term "National qualifications framework". It goes thus beyond the definitions stored in TVETipedia while not pretending to offer an exhaustive bibliography on the topic.

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An Introductory Guide to National Qualifications Frameworks By Ron Tuck, ILO (2007)

This publication is written as a guide to “assist policy makers” interested in implementing an NQF. It brings answer to a wide range of concrete questions: Why build an NQF ? How much does it cost ? Which criteria a qualification should meet before being registered in the NQF ? Should an NQF be completed by a credit system ? And, of course what are the key components of an NQF ?

The selected quotes bring some elements of answer to this last question.


The implementation and impact of National Qualifications Frameworks By Stephanie Allais, ILO (2010)

Another ILO reference, published 3 years later, that is not a guide but a report - a “cross-country empirical study”- based on 16 national cases. The target (stakeholders) and the questioning (“Why and how investing in an NQF ?”) remains however the same.

The previous reference insisted on how policy goals define an NQF (and "not the other way around"). In the following quotes, the author provides an overview of those goals and of how they shape very diverse NQF.


Global national qualifications framework inventory and Global national qualifications framework inventory: country cases from EU and ETF partner countries By UNESCO, CEDEFOP, ETF, UIL (2013)

Both references are “intented to capture the latest trends and developments in the field of qualifications frameworks worldwide” while not seeking to “assess impacts of NQF or ague for or against them as a policy option”. The first reference is a descriptive analysis whose each chapter is written by a key-international institution (UNESCO, CEDEFOP, ETF, UIl) of the TVET field. The second reference - annexe of the first one - gathers approx. 50 " NQF country cases".

The selected quotes, extracted from the introduction, highlight the quick development of diverse NQFs all around the world.


Flying blind: Policy rationales for national qualifications frameworks and how they tend to evolve By Mike Coles, James Keevy, Andrea Bateman, Jack Keating (2014)

This recent academic articles notes the massive development of NQF -highlighted in the previous reference - as well as the growing expectations, sometime "independent of national economic and social contexts”. Are we “flying blind” ? “What are NQFs expected to do and how might they fulfil these expectations? How will the future of NQFs unfold as many of the new NQFs reach maturity?”

In the selected quotes, the author explains why NQF are –technically and politically -hard to assess and how the “third generation” of NQF might look like.


Interactive framework,level descriptor and “qualifications database” of the Scottish NQF By SCQF (Accessed in 2015)

How does a National Qualifications framework ‘look like’ ? The 3 links provide an insight based on the Scottish example. Note that not all NQF possesses those 3 components altogether and that some aspects of NQF –like quality assurance – cannot be 'shown'.

Similar examples available online:


This article is an element of the TVETipedia Glossary.




page date 2016-01-11






page date 2014-07-24

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