European Commission has adopted (May 2017) the revision of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning. The revision makes sure that all types and levels of qualifications are covered, including qualifications from higher education, vocational education and training and general education; but also qualifications awarded by the private sector and international sector organisations.
The EC is still discussing different approaches to recognition of qualifications of third-country qualifications. An informative panel composed by DG EMPL, DG EAC and DG HOME took place on existing initiatives at EU level on the assessment of skills and recognition of qualifications for third-country nationals. A presentation on empirical evidence on the importance of recognition of qualifications for labour market integration of migrants was followed by presentations focused on the Blue Card Directive, the Skills Profile Tool and the ENIC-NARIC Toolkit.
Commission should assess and evaluate, in cooperation with the member states and after consulting the stakeholders concerned, action taken in response to this recommendation and by 2022 report to the council on the experience gained and implications for the future, including, if necessary, a possible review and revision of this recommendation.
VPL in Higher Education
Transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications is one of the new priorities under the 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020). That report stresses that the EQF should be further developed in order to make qualifications more transparent and comparable. With regard to newly arrived migrants, it also stresses that existing transparency instruments could help to get a better understanding of foreign qualifications in the Union, and vice versa.
The main features of the EQF, namely its learning outcomes approach, the definition of level descriptors, and the establishment of referencing criteria as developed by the EQF Advisory Group, have been a source of inspiration for the development of national and regional qualifications frameworks throughout the world. An increasing number of third countries and regions are seeking closer links between their qualifications framework and the EQF. The Council of Europe recommends exploring possibilities for the development and application of criteria and procedures to enable, in accordance with international agreements, the comparison of third countries’ national and regional qualifications frameworks with the EQF.