Referencing the CQFW to the EQF

Working in partnership with Colegau Cymru, Qualifications Wales undertook a referencing of the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW) to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) during 2018-19.

The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) acts as a reference framework to enable the comparison of national qualifications’ systems. Individuals and employers can use the EQF to interpret and compare qualifications levels across countries, facilitating the portability of qualifications.

The referencing exercise involved a detailed analysis of level descriptors and qualification specifications, and found that the concepts of level, credit and learning outcomes are well-established in Wales and are consistent with international frameworks. We worked with a multi-stakeholder steering group to inform the work, which included:

  • Welsh Government;
  • the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales;
  • the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education;
  • representatives of further education institutions;
  • representatives of awarding bodies;
  • the National Union of Students; and
  • international experts in qualification development and policy.

A report of this referencing was published on 22 October 2019, and is available on Colegau Cymru's website.

The report notes that all ten of the EQF’s referencing criteria have been met, demonstrating a clear alignment between qualifications taken by learners in Wales and those taken by learners across the EU.

Some headline findings include the following:

  • we have concluded that the quality assurance processes found in regulated qualifications, higher education degrees and units of lifelong learning all comply with the EQF’s principles;
  • we have noted the different methodologies used to validate and recognise prior learning and how these contribute to accessibility for learners; and
  • we have reflected on the role of the CQFW in Wales, noting that the key concepts of level, learning outcomes and the use of credit have become established practice in Wales, reflecting a maturation of the system.