In response to the European Commission’s public consultation to evaluate the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF), the European University Association (EUA) has developed a set of recommendations on the future development of qualifications frameworks. EUA has long played an active role in this area, as a member of the EQF Advisory Group since 2009.
This consultation followed a 2017 Council Recommendation to assess and evaluate the EQF in the 2017-2022 period. It is one of several ongoing data collection activities and will feed into an independent report that will support the evaluation of the Framework.
In its response, EUA confirms the EQF’s importance as one of the key instruments at European level to better link education, training, and the world of work. The EQF has proven its usefulness for policy development, e.g. European degree architecture. It also enables comparison between qualifications through the National Qualifications Frameworks (that reference the EQF), thus supporting recognition and mobility between education systems. EUA advocates for the EQF’s continuous development with the active participation of all key stakeholders, including higher education institutions. This should also strengthen the ability and capacity of qualifications frameworks to support innovation in education, such as micro-credentials.
At policy level, it is important that there is a continued and enhanced alignment of the EQF with the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA), which is more specific for higher education. This will also ensure fruitful synergies between the European Education Area, the European Research Area, and the EHEA. Another point for improvement is to consistently use the EQF and make it visible in EU legislation and other instruments and activities developed by the EUA and its member states.
Finally, the evaluation should explore and assess the added value of EQF and NQFs for its users: making qualifications more readable and recognisable, supporting the mobility and employability of graduates, as well as change in education. The final study report evaluating EQF is expected to be available in May 2023. Following this, the European Commission will prepare and present a report to the EU Council. EUA looks forward to continuing discussions on future improvements to EQF, notably in the context of the EQF Advisory Group.