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Term Definition

A comprehensive policy framework, which defines all qualifications recognized nationally in higher education in terms of workload, level, quality, learning outcomes, and profiles. It should be so designed as to be comprehensible through the use of specific descriptors for each qualification covering both its breadth (competencies associated with learning outcomes) and its depth (level). It is structured horizontally in order to cover all qualifications awarded in a system, and vertically, by level. Its purpose is that of facilitating: (i) curriculum development and design of study programmes; (ii) student and graduate mobility; and (iii) recognition of periods of study and credentials. While certain higher education systems have their own qualification frameworks, others allow for the development of a wide variety of qualifications without providing an explicit framework. The emerging European Higher Education Area, envisaged by the Bologna Declaration, is regarded by many as being in need of a pan-European Qualification Framework. 

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