National Framework of Qualifications
The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) was established in 2001 on a statutory basis under the 1999 Qualifications (Education and Training) Act. Its first task was to establish and maintain a national qualifications framework (NFQ). The outline Framework was published in October 2003. It is described as "The single, nationally and internationally accepted entity, through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other in a coherent way and which defines the relationship between all education and training awards". (NQAI)
The NFQ is outcomes based, that is to say that it is based on ten levels, each of which has a descriptor which set out that level's characteristic outcomes of learning in terms of type and breadth of knowledge, know-how and skill, and competences. Each level has one or more major award types, eg. Honours Bachelor Degree, and each award type has a separate descriptor. Major award types will be associated with a typical volume of outcomes, described in terms of a number of academic credits (eg. Honours Bachelor Degree, 180 or 240 ECTS credits). The NFQ does not have a regulatory function; it aims to describe the types of awards or qualifications that exist and show how they relate to each other, to clarify entry and exit points and routes for progression to further levels and between sectors, and to maximise the opportunities for transfer of credit between qualifications. Such Frameworks are 'learner-centred' in that they serve primarily to assist 'learners' to plan and progress their learning.
- The Universities and the National Framework of Qualifications (IUA) (PDF, 306 KB)
- National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, 'Determinations Relating to the Outline National Framework of Qualifications (PDF, 7 MB)'.