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EU launches qualifications scaling mechanism

The European Commission on Monday launched the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) which will act as a translation device between European Union  member states’ qualifications systems.

The EQF, launched by EU Education Commissioner Jan Figel in Lisbon, will help employers and educational establishments across the union compare and better understand the qualifications presented by individuals. The core of the EQF system is its eight reference levels, covering the span of basic to the highest level qualifications. These describe what a learner knows, understands and is able to do, regardless of the system in which the learner’s qualification was acquired, said the commission, the executive body of the EU. „The EQF will make different qualifications more easily readable between different European countries, and so promote increased mobility for learning or working,” said Figel in a statement. „People in Europe too often face obstacles when they try to move from one country to another to learn or work. They even sometimes face obstacles, when they want to move from one part of their own country’s education system to another, for example from vocational education and training to higher education,” he explained.

EU member states are asked to relate their national qualifications systems to the EQF by 2010. By 2012, every new qualification issued in the EU should bear an EQF reference. As an instrument to promote lifelong learning, the EQF encompasses general and adult education, vocational education and training, as well as higher education. The eight EQF levels cover the entire span of qualifications from those achieved at the end of compulsory education, up to those awarded at the highest level of academic and professional or vocational education and training. (