Sunday, 20 August, 2017

What Next : How does the qualification system work?

National Framework of Qualifications


The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a ten level system that incorporates awards made for all kinds of learning, large and small, whether it is gained in schools, the workplace, the community, training centres, colleges or universities. For each level of the NFQ, standards of knowledge, skill and competence have been set out, defining the outcomes to be achieved by a learner seeking to gain a qualification. Visit  for more information.

How does the National Framework of Qualifications work?

The National Framework of Qualifications has been built around an agreed structure, as a result of an extended consultation period with a range of stakeholders. The following points illustrate the central features of how it works:

The Framework is comprised of levels, award-types and named-awards

It has ten levels covering the very initial stages of learning to the most advanced          

Four classes of award-type have been determined for the Framework - major, minor, special-purpose and supplemental. This is to ensure that the Framework can capture all types and sizes of learning undertaken by a learner.

The international dimension of the introduction of the NFQ is important.  The introduction of the NFQ has aided the recognition of qualifications not only for holders of NFQ awards travelling abroad but also for those travelling to this country with awards gained outside the state. Similar developments are taking place in many countries, across Europe and worldwide. Qualifications in the NFQ are recognised in Ireland and abroad. There are two qualification frameworks at European level. Both of them provide additional information to help understand countries’ education systems. These frameworks support individuals moving to different countries, whether for further study or for employment.   

Example: the following graph show the stories of learners and How they got their qualification.(click on the image to zoom)

taking the credit














There are two qualification frameworks at European level.  The two  frameworks are:

~ The European Qualifications Framework (EQF), which deals with all levels of the NFQ including schools, further education and training, and higher education and training

~ The ‘Bologna framework’, which deals with higher education (NFQ Levels 6 to 10)

To read more about the international frameworks please visit: or

Last Updated: 12/08/2013 ^ back to top