The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) provides a common reference framework which assists in comparing the national qualifications systems, frameworks and their levels. It makes qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems in Europe.
The introduction of the EQF has been a trigger for a shift to learning outcomes. The linking of national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) to the EQF is expected to be completed by 2014 thus signalling that the learning outcomes approach has been broadly accepted as the basis for future European cooperation in the area of education and training.
The introduction of the EQF, and the rapid development of NQFs, is increasingly influencing the writing of curricula and qualification standards, focussing on what a learner is expected to know, understand and be able to do. The EQF Recommendation was revised in 2017 as one of the key actions of the 2016 Skills Agenda for Europe. The Commission is now working with EU countries and other interested parties to implement this recommendation to support better understanding of qualifications and make better use of all available skills in the European labour market. For example, the 2017 EQF Recommendation invites Member States to make the results of the referencing process publicly available at national and Union levels and, where possible, ensure that information on qualifications and their learning outcomes is accessible and published. Information on the process of referencing national qualifications frameworks or systems to the EQF and on qualifications with an EQF level should be readily accessible to the public.
ESCO and the EQF
The qualifications pillar of ESCO is developed in a way that is consistent with the EQF. This will allow building on the results achieved during the work on the EQF. National qualification databases will be a valuable source for ESCO.