This report aimed to produce empirical evidence and analysis of countries’ experiences of introducing qualifications framework as part of a strategy to achieve skills development and employment goals. A qualifications framework is intended to improve understanding of qualifications (degrees, certificates, or recognition of experiential-based learning and capabilities) in terms of the information they convey to an employer about prospective workers’ competencies. Frameworks can also explain how qualifications relate to each other. This study aimed to develop an understanding of how employers are using qualifications frameworks in their hiring decisions and whether qualifications make a difference to workers in the job market.
This report reviewed existing research on the English National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and the early reforms leading to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, as well as the other three ‘early starter’ qualifications frameworks (Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) in five case studies based on existing research and documentation. A further 11 case studies were based on new fieldwork. Chile and Mexico were researched as these countries started work on the development of Labour Competence Frameworks in the late 1990s, even though they do not yet have NQFs per se. Botswana, Malaysia, and Mauritius can be described as ‘second generation’ NQFs. Bangladesh, Lithuania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Turkey, and have more recently started developing qualifications frameworks, with Russia being the most recent. The study also involved a review of available literature, a critical analysis of the different roles of qualifications in educational reform, and the development of a proposed typology of qualifications frameworks.