The internationalisation of educational and training systems, labour markets, and the increased mobility of people and jobs have implications on the ways that skills are recognised, validated and accredited and on cross-border recognition of qualifications.
Qualifications frameworks based on learning outcomes is one of the tools that has been used to reform and expand educational and training provision in ways that will raise skills levels, improve labour market productivity and contribute to sustainable development.
The Shanghai Consensus (2012) recommended the development of international guidelines on quality assurance for the recognition of qualifications based on learning outcomes. UNESCO is developing these guidelines, in partnership with regional and global organizations.
Global Inventory of Regional and National Qualifications Frameworks
In collaboration with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), UNESCO published Volume 1 of a Global Inventory of Regional and National Qualifications Frameworks in 2014 to monitor and map global and regional qualification reforms, and discuss key trends and policy issues emerging from qualifications framework reforms and development around the world. Volume II was published in 2015 with detailed national and regional cases.
Thematic outcomes of the inventory
- Most countries are reforming their systems to improve the quality of qualifications and their relevance to the labour market and learner needs.
- The validation of non-formal and informal learning is better achieved through the use of NQFs based on learner outcomes, which can influence standards, curricula and assessment criteria,
- Regulation of qualifications is determined by historical, cultural and socio-political factors. RQFs can be a tool to support better cross-border mobility of learners and workers, and act as a means for transparent recognition of qualifications.
- In a world facing migration, globalisation and international mobility UNESCO is considering the development of a set of world reference levels of learning outcomes as a tool for benchmarking learning levels and providing a hierarchy to allow comparisons of any kind of learning.