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Frameworks of Qualifications: The Irish Experience Azerbaijan Seminar Baku, 12 th June 2007 Stuart Frameworks of Qualifications: The Irish Experience Azerbaijan Seminar Baku, 12 th June 2007 Stuart Garvie National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

The presentation Ø the Irish context Ø new legislation, new structures Ø development of The presentation Ø the Irish context Ø new legislation, new structures Ø development of a National Framework of Qualifications Ø Implementation of the Framework Ø The Framework and international development

The Irish context Ø a small state – population 4. 5 million (Azerbaijan 8 The Irish context Ø a small state – population 4. 5 million (Azerbaijan 8 million) Ø centralised government • Ø separation of ‘Education’ and ‘Training’ • Ø weak regional / local structures across a range of government Departments separation of previous qualifications systems • schools • further education • training: agriculture, tourism, fisheries, labour • higher education: institutes of technology, universities

Focus of provision for learning in Ireland Ø historically on the needs of young Focus of provision for learning in Ireland Ø historically on the needs of young people • investment of resources • design of systems and structures Ø a childhood-to-young adult, pre-employment experience Ø concentration on school-to-college and school-to-training development routes Ø demographic change: peak age cohort now app. 24 yrs.

A Framework of Qualifications – why? Ø a coherent national policy approach to qualifications A Framework of Qualifications – why? Ø a coherent national policy approach to qualifications Ø lifelong learning society • new kinds of work and career • need for a more flexible system of qualifications • need for portability of qualifications Ø international comparison and alignment • European policy trends and agreements – Lisbon, Copenhagen and • Bologna, European Qualifications Framework (EQF)

Towards a coherent but flexible system…. what is required? Ø a framework for the Towards a coherent but flexible system…. what is required? Ø a framework for the development, recognition and award of qualifications in Ireland Ø one framework to encompass all awards for all aspects of education and training Ø a simple, transparent frame of reference

New legislation, new structures Ø Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999 Ø three new New legislation, new structures Ø Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999 Ø three new organisations, 2001 • National Qualifications Authority of Ireland • Further Education and Training Awards Council • Higher Education and Training Awards Council Ø awards Councils bring coherence to the system • replace seven previous systems of awards • one awarding body for all further education and training (VET)

The new structures Ø National Qualifications Authority of Ireland • to develop and maintain The new structures Ø National Qualifications Authority of Ireland • to develop and maintain a national framework of qualifications • a system for coordinating & comparing awards • awards based on outcomes - standards of knowledge, skill & competence • to promote access, transfer and progression – incl. arrangements for credit accumulation and transfer Ø two Awards Councils • to develop new systems of awards • to make awards at all levels in the Framework

Developing the Framework A dual approach: Ø Strong legislative base: Qualifications (Education and Training) Developing the Framework A dual approach: Ø Strong legislative base: Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999 • Sets out and legitimises general basis of framework Ø Consultation and Research • Identification of stakeholders: wide-ranging • - representatives of all sectors of education and training community; social partners; state agencies; learners • consensus-building and involvement of stakeholders: • Stakeholder views sought formally and given serious consideration • Consultative Group; also extensive series of bilateral and multilateral meetings • transparency • Communication of research findings, emerging policy approaches, decisions and determinations

The Framework: blueprint for change Ø a new concept of a ‘qualification’, or an The Framework: blueprint for change Ø a new concept of a ‘qualification’, or an ‘award’: Ø an award is a recognition of learning outcomes • not a recognition of participation in a programme or in any particular learning process • many programmes may lead to the same award Ø many new awards, new titles, new terminology Ø not a compendium of existing awards Ø not just a mapping of relationships between existing awards Ø no distinction made between ‘education’ and ‘training’

The Framework in outline Ø a structure of 10 levels Ø each level based The Framework in outline Ø a structure of 10 levels Ø each level based on a range of standards of knowledge, skill and competence Ø level indicators Ø Grid of 10 level indicators, defined in terms of 8 dimensions of knowledge, skill and competence

Award-types Ø a central element in the Framework concept Ø a class of named Award-types Ø a central element in the Framework concept Ø a class of named awards – e. g. Honours Bachelor Degree, or National Craft Certificate (pre-Framework award) Ø one or more award-types at each level in the Framework Ø an initial set of 16 major award-types defined

Classes of award-type Ø award-types are defined in four classes • major award-types: for Classes of award-type Ø award-types are defined in four classes • major award-types: for a typical range of outcomes at a level • also minor, supplemental and special-purpose award-types Ø all 16 award-types in the outline Framework are ‘major’ Ø the Framework will eventually have a variety of award-types at each level.

Named awards Ø a ‘named award’ is what a learner receives Ø a named Named awards Ø a ‘named award’ is what a learner receives Ø a named award is for achievement in a specific field of learning – e. g. Honours Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering, or National Craft Certificate: Electrician (pre-Framework award) Ø a named award is associated with a level in the Framework through the award-type to which it belongs Ø named awards to be developed by the awarding bodies

The Framework – levels and award-types The Framework – levels and award-types

The National Framework of Qualifications – award-types and awarding bodies The National Framework of Qualifications – award-types and awarding bodies

Awards in the Framework - 1 Ø new awards across all 10 levels • Awards in the Framework - 1 Ø new awards across all 10 levels • made by the awards Councils (FETAC and HETAC) Ø school and university awards are accommodated • general manner of inclusion is set out Ø policies and criteria published for inclusion in or alignment with the Framework for: • professional awards • international awards

Awards in the Framework - 2 Ø Ø Major Awards: principal class of award Awards in the Framework - 2 Ø Ø Major Awards: principal class of award made at a level Minor Awards: are for partial completion of the outcomes for a Major Award Supplemental Awards: are for learning that is additional to a Major Award Special Purpose Awards are for relatively narrow or purposespecific achievement

Framework Implementation - I Ø FETAC has put in place arrangements for Framework awards Framework Implementation - I Ø FETAC has put in place arrangements for Framework awards at levels 1 -6 Ø Implementation arrangements in higher education announced in July 2004 • being implemented from autumn 2004 and used in 2005 CAO Ø Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate included in the framework

Framework Implementation - II Ø HETAC • using interim standards for all award-types • Framework Implementation - II Ø HETAC • using interim standards for all award-types • delegating authority to make awards to institutes of technology Ø University existing awards aligned with major award-types • implemented for Ordinary Bachelor Degree, Honours Bachelor Degrees, Masters Degrees & Doctoral Degrees • Policy approach agreed • process underway within universities for Higher Diploma & Post. Graduate Diploma • process underway for ‘smaller’ award-types Ø DIT implementing all new major award-types; using some smaller ones

Existing & former qualifications Ø many familiar qualifications will no longer be awarded Ø Existing & former qualifications Ø many familiar qualifications will no longer be awarded Ø intention is to map these qualifications to Framework levels Ø most existing and former qualifications now placed

Framework and Quality Assurance - I Ø An important dimension of Framework implementation: credibility Framework and Quality Assurance - I Ø An important dimension of Framework implementation: credibility of Framework dependent upon it Ø Statutory quality assurance arrangements in place for the following awarding bodies: – State Examinations Commission – FETAC – HETAC – Dublin Institute of Technology – Universities

Framework and Quality Assurance - II Ø Authority works closely with stakeholders in developing Framework and Quality Assurance - II Ø Authority works closely with stakeholders in developing and enhancing quality cultures across education and training system • Statutory quality role in relation to FETAC, HETAC, DIT • Consultative role in relation to HEA review of universities QA procedures • Encourage common approaches, best practice throughout system, e. g. , through Irish Higher Education Quality Network Ø Also relevant to national policies on internationalisation of Irish education and training services – use of Framework (including dissemination of information on placement of awards and the associated quality assurance mechanisms) as part of the proposed Education Ireland Quality Mark

Mobility for learners Ø A key objective in the legislation Ø lifelong learning implies Mobility for learners Ø A key objective in the legislation Ø lifelong learning implies a more diverse learning community Ø more diverse needs – to be able to gain an award in different ways, e. g. by accumulating credit for learning outcomes over time – opportunity for entry – transparent, fair and consistent entry arrangements – clarity about relationships between awards, and about transfer / progression routes – accurate and reliable information Ø task – to maximise opportunities for mobility for learners

Improving mobility for learners Ø need for a cultural shift Ø need to focus Improving mobility for learners Ø need for a cultural shift Ø need to focus the concept of access on the achievement of an award (not on entry to a programme) Ø need to focus measurement of success on outcomes rather than inputs (e. g. time spent on a programme) Ø a comprehensive strategy, published in October 2003 – four policy strands: credit, progression routes, entry arrangements, information provision

The Irish experience: notable features Ø Framework is part of a broad reform of The Irish experience: notable features Ø Framework is part of a broad reform of the system of qualifications Ø New structures, new organisations Ø Dual approach – legislation and consultation Ø Framework contains new awards at all levels, but also many existing awards are included Ø Key concepts – level, level indicators, award-type descriptors, named award,

International or Meta-Frameworks Ø Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (adopted International or Meta-Frameworks Ø Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (adopted by European Ministers, Bergen 2005) - the ‘Bologna Framework’ – verification of compatibility with the Irish national framework – completed November 2006 – One of first two countries doing this on a “pilot basis” Ø European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, (‘EQF’ - under development) – triggered by an Irish EU Presidency conference – proposal for basic structure nearing completion – 8 levels, based on learning outcomes Ø Key role of the Authority in the development of both meta-frameworks

European Meta-Frameworks Ø In both cases • Primacy with the National Framework of Qualifications European Meta-Frameworks Ø In both cases • Primacy with the National Framework of Qualifications • Quality assurance required in national arrangements • Qualifications relate to national frameworks and frameworks talk to each other through meta-frameworks • Countries self-certify the link of their national frameworks to European frameworks following established criteria and procedures

Draft EQF levels EHEA Framework (Bologna) 1 NFQ Levels NFQ Major Award-types 1 Level Draft EQF levels EHEA Framework (Bologna) 1 NFQ Levels NFQ Major Award-types 1 Level 1 Certificate 2 Level 2 Certificate 2 3 Level 3 Certificate, Junior Certificate 3 4 Level 4 Certificate, Leaving Certificate 4 5 Level 5 Certificate, Leaving Certificate 5 Short Cycle within First Cycle 6 Advanced Certificate (FET award); Higher Certificate (HET award) 6 First Cycle 7 Ordinary Bachelors Degree 8 Honours Bachelor Degree, Higher Diploma 7 Second Cycle 9 Masters Degree, Post. Graduate Diploma 8 Third cycle 10 Doctoral Degree, Higher Doctorate

Country A EQF 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 Qualifications (A) Country A EQF 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 Qualifications (A) Country B 5 6 6 7 7 8 3 4 8 9 5 6 Qualifications (B)

Further Information Ø all developments are featured on the website of the National Qualifications Further Information Ø all developments are featured on the website of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland: www. nqai. ie Ø Framework website: www. nfq. ie