The Status Quo of Austrias National Qualifications Framework

The implementation of the EQF in Austria is based on the implementation of the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning (2008/C111/01).

In the course of the national consultation process on the EQF (2005/06) it was demanded that an NQF be set up for Austria. This framework was to comprise all education sectors and integrate – as well as formally, non-formally acquired qualifications – also informally acquired learning outcomes. The aims associated with the NQF not only include the simplified and transparent referencing of the Austrian qualifications system to the EQF, but also comprise educational policy objectives exceeding this scope (such as the orientation to learning outcomes, promotion of permeability, integration of non-formal learning). For the development of the NQF, a combination of a top-down and a bottom-up approach was chosen. The goal from the beginning was to put the design and implementation of the NQF on the basis of a broad consensus of key stakeholders of the national qualification landscape and also integrate academic expert knowledge.

In 2010 criteria and procedures for the classification of qualifications were developed then undergoing a first testing procedure through the simulation phase. In 2011 the National Coordination Point started extended public relations activities. On one hand with a road show through Austria and the beginning of the seminar series "Fit for NQF", and on the other hand with individual counselling. The aim was to look into various aspects of the NQF/EQF and the learning result orientation and related topics and tools for selected target groups.

The necessity of implementing an NQF referenced to the EQF is laid down in the Government Programme of the 24th legislation period (2008-2013) both in the chapter on education and in the chapter on science & research. This means that by 2013 the entire Austrian qualifications system is integrated into a classification scheme with eight levels.

On 11 June 2012 an important milestone in the development of a National Qualification Framework was set. The Austrian EQF Referencing Report, jointly developed by BMUKK and BMWF, has been sent to the European Commission and presented to the EQF Advisory Group in Brussels on 11 June 2012. This Austrian EQF Referencing Report is conceived as an interim report and its main objective is to present the links between the levels of the Austrian NQF and those of the EQF.

(Last update: September 2013)