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TVETipedia Glossary

Find and compare definitions of key terms in TVET


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National qualifications framework (NQF)

You can find information on National Qualifications Frameworks for virtually all countries in UNESCO-UNEVOC’s TVET Country Profiles database.

View also Regional Qualifications Framework

National qualifications frameworks (NQF) are key to reforming national education and training systems and are vital reference points for lifelong learning and the comparison of qualifications across borders. An NQF is an instrument used to classify a country’s qualifications at different levels. Each level is defined by a set of learning outcomes expected at that level.

NQFs classify qualifications by level, based on learning outcomes - that is, what the holder of a certificate or diploma is expected to know, understand, and be able to do. This classification reflects the content and profile of qualifications. The learning outcomes approach also ensures that education and training subsystems are open to one another. Thus, it allows people to move more easily between education and training institutions and sectors.

An instrument for the development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge and competencies along a continuum of agreed levels. It is a way of structuring existing and new qualifications, which are defined by learning outcomes, i.e. clear statements of what the learner must know or be able to do whether learned in a classroom, on-the-job, or less formally. The Qualifications Framework indicates the comparability of different qualifications and how one can progress from one level to another, within and across occupations or industrial sectors (and even across vocational and academic fields if the NQF is designed to include both vocational and academic qualifications in a single framework).

ILO, An Introductory Guide to National Qualifications Frameworks, 2007

National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is a classification of qualifications relating to a set of nationally agreed standards/criteria developed by competent public authorities. NQFs recognise learning outcomes and competences from all forms of learning.

UIL, UNESCO GUIDELINES for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-formal and Informal Learning, 2012

Set of agreed principles, procedures and standardised terminology intended to ensure effective comparability of qualifications and credits within a particular country.

SADC, Glossary, 2011

The comprehensive system, approved by the Minister: HET (Higher Education and Training), for the classification, co-ordination, registration, and publication of articulated and quality-assured national qualifications and part qualifications. The South African NQF is a single integrated system comprising three co-ordinated qualifications subframeworks for: General and Further Education and Training; Higher Education; and Trades and occupations.

SAQA (South Africa), TVET Standard Glossary of Terms, 2013

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