European Qualifications Framework (EQF)
The purpose of the EQF is to relate different countries' qualifications systems to a common European reference framework.
Both individuals and employers can use the EQF to better understand and compare the qualifications levels of different countries and education and training systems.
The EQF was adopted by the European institutions in 2008, and is currently being implemented across Europe.
The EQF has 8 reference levels describing the knowledge, aptitudes and skills of a learner - also known as "learning outcomes".
Focusing on learning outcomes:
- Promotes a better balance between the needs of the labour market (in terms of knowledge, aptitudes and skills) and the education and training provided
- Facilitates the validation of non-formal and informal training and education
- Facilitates the transfer and use of qualifications in countries with different education and training systems.
Levels of national qualifications will be placed at one of the central reference levels, ranging from basic (Level 1) to advanced (Level 8). This will enable a much easier comparison between national qualifications and should also entail that people do not have to repeat their learning if they move to another country.
The EQF applies to all types of education, training and qualifications, from school to higher education via professional and vocational training. It also encourages lifelong learning by promoting the validation of non-formal and informal learning.