The Status Quo of the Italian National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

In Italy there are difficulties to establish political involvement between the different governmental levels, because each of them has their own competence, and they all have to agree on the decisions that have to be taken. The qualifications of general and higher education, for example, are governed by the State, meanwhile the VET qualifications are governed by the regions. The challenge is to compare and align the regional qualifications in order to develop a national qualification framework.

Italy is classified as being part of the countries being at an initial stage of EQF implementation. This means that Italy does not have "comprehensive qualifications frameworks and qualifications are not yet described in terms of learning outcomes".

Because of the fact that Italy has not yet a secured political support for an NQF, Italy will reference its formal qualifications to the EQF without an NQF, but adopting national criteria and methodology in order to present the interaction between the national qualifications and the EQF levels. The implementation of the EQF is leaded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies in cooperation with the regions, autonomous provinces and the social partners. The national institute for development of vocational training (ISFOL) is in charge to set up the national methodologies and coordinates expert groups involving also social partners. The ISFOL manages the EQF implementation process and prepares the technical report, communicates with stakeholders, and planes and implements the national qualifications database. Italy uses a learning outcomes approach and the EQF level descriptors for further developments. Eight EQF levels and level descriptors have been used in Italy to link all national qualifications from formal education and training to the EQF.

There has been reforms regarding EQF principles and learning outcomes approach but there are no real discussions on national learning outcomes and how qualifications from different subsystems (VET, HE, general education) are aligned to the explicit learning outcomes and how they relate to each other. Clear political commitment seems to be missing. The next steps are: to implement the national Law on Labour Market, to set priorities for national qualifications standards based on learning outcomes, and to develop a national register of qualifications and a national public certification system.