Advice on the European Qualifications Framework (11/24/2005)

With this advice, the Flemish Education Council supports the development of a European Qualifications Framework (EQF). But the Vlor also describes the necessary characteristics and the conditions of such a framework.

On request of the European Council of Heads of States and Governments, the European Commission made a working document “Towards a European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning“. The EQF consists of 8 reference levels based on learning outcomes. Each competence level is described in terms of knowledge, skills and personal and professional competences. Thanks to the EQF, one will be able to compare regional, national and sectoral qualifications by linking them to a competence level. The EQF should enhance the mutual trust between the different partners in employment, education and training in Europe.

In autumn 2005, the Commission organised a large-scale consultation on the working document. Policy makers, social partners, education and training actors and experts in qualifications systems in all the Member States were asked to give their opinion by answering the questions of the Commission. Given that all the major educational stakeholders are represented in the Vlor, the council decided to give a common advice to the Flemish government.

The EQF gives Member States, education and training institutes, employers and sectors the possibility to communicate with each other on the value of qualifications. The Vlor also endorses the fact that the EQF could strengthen the position of the learners in the process of lifelong learning. If, in the future, the EQF should entail civil effects, this should be realised by a democratic decision-making and should respect the competences of the Member States.

By answering the questions on the EQF, the education council emphasised some important conditions and characteristics:

  • Every citizen should receive a clear and understandable explanation on the possibilities of the EQF.
  • The further development of the EQF should be fixed in a time schedule, in coherence with the underlying tools (such as Europass), the directive on recognised professions and the qualifications framework for higher education.
  • The description of the characteristics of the different EQF levels should be effected from a scientific and theoretical educational approach of competences, without narrowing it to a limited academic approach.
  • Sectoral qualifications have to be linked in the first place to a national qualifications framework and not directly to the EQF.
  • All actors in education and training have to be involved in the development and the implementation of a Flemish qualifications framework. Moreover, the Vlor states that such a Flemish qualifications framework should not be the same as a Flemish structure of courses.