EUROPEAN QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK
Two different qualifications frameworks exist in Europe.
NATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK
National qualifications framework is a system, which includes definitions and approaches that are closest to countries' socieatal, cultural and economic realities. It is also a system in which degrees are given which are recognized by both national and international stakeholders and are also readable and comparable.
Overarching Framework for Qualifications of European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA)
QF-EHEA is designed only for higher education based on "Dublin Descriptors" that were decided in the Bergen Ministerial Meeting in May 2005, in which education Ministers of 45 countries who are members of Bologna Process participated. In this system, learning outcomes to be gained at the end of each level of higher education is defined.
European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF-LLL)
In the EQF-LLL system, learning outcomes for each level of education taking into account the lifelong learning principle are designed in terms of knowledge, skills and competences at eight levels.
Comparison of QF-EHEA and EQF-LLL
QF-EHEA and EQF-LLL differs in terms of geographical regions, aims and areas of implementation. EQF-LLL is designed for 27 EU member states, whereas QF-EHEA is designed for 45 member states of Bologna Process.
Because EQF-LLL covers all cycles of lifelong learning, the working groups are in a wider context. In these working groups, representatives of ministries from all levels, representatives from national authoirties of higher educaiton institutions and sectoral representatives participate. Descriptions and concepts in the EQF-LLL system differs from that of QF-EHEA because the former aims to develop a common framework for very different levels throughout lifelong learning and the latter being designed only for higher education. Level descriptors in each system are designed towards different implementations. In the EQF-LLL system, descriptors are more general and they may apply to all learning types in the context of lifelong learning. On the other hand, descriptors for QF-EHEA is designed only and as a whole for higher education.
Saying all these differences, we can also say that we can relate them to each other. To give example, the 5th and 8th levels of EQF-LLL are general descriptors that may apply to all types of qualifications thus, they may also apply to higher education qualifications. As a matter of fact, in the London Communique that was published after Bologna Ministerial Conference of 17-18 May 2007, it was stated that national qualifications frameworks that are compatible with QF-EHEA would also be compatible with EQF-LLL. Moreover, the same statement was repeated in one of the reports of QF Working Group (dated May 2007), that was developed by BFUG (Bologna Follow-up Group). In the same report, it was also stressed that in order to avoid any complexity because there exists two different frameworks, it was recommended to take QF-EHEA as a basis in the promotion of European Higher Education Area in a global dimension.