The European qualification framework: Skills, competences or knowledge

  • Méhaut P
  • Winch C
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The European Qualification Framework (EQF) is intended to transform European national qualification frameworks (NQFs) by moulding them into a learning outcomes framework. Currently adopted as an enabling law by the European Union, the EQF has now operated for several years. In order to secure widespread adoption, however, it will be necessary for it to be anchored at the sectoral and occupational levels in the European labour market as well as at the European and national levels. The article assesses the progress made so far, identifies difficulties encountered and modifications that need to be made and provides an appraisal of the likely evolution of the EQF. It is argued that it is likely that some key design features, such as the ‘strong’ approach to learning outcomes and a narrow conception of competence will not survive modification and adaptation in the context of the European labour market. The argument is illustrated with some recent research on the EQF.

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  • Philippe Méhaut

  • Christopher Winch

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