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2 OUTLINE Introduction Globalisation And Demands For Qualifications Recognition Qualifications Recognition: A Search For A Better Framework Initiatives Towards Qualifications Recognition : Irish NFQ with European Meta Frameworks; Irish NFQ with NZQF; and MQF with NZQF Establishing Compatibility of Qualifications Using QF – Findings and Lessons Learnt

3 INTRODUCTION National qualifications framework:
An instrument that classifies qualifications according to a set of criteria for specified levels of learning achieved and provides a systematic description of the full range of qualifications within a given education system, as well as the ways in which learners can navigate between them. Introduced to address: i Globalized higher education which provides new opportunities and created challenges in terms of demand, access as well as supply of higher education; ii Growing mobility of students, qualifications and labour forces; iii Arising needs for Government to solve issues relating to qualifications’ quality and recognition; and iv Other specific national and regional agenda

4 Globalisation And Demands For Qualifications Recognition
Globalisation - increased movement of people, knowledge, technologies, goods and capital across national borders in ways that were unimaginable before. Driven by the advancement of global information and communication technologies. Has implicated education and particularly higher education. Creates new and important demands and needs towards higher education as well as provides platforms for new, alternative ways of supplying higher education as complement, and challenges, to traditional higher education. Emergence of borderless higher education market Introduction of mobility programmes, such as ERASMUS and schemes such as the ECTS to facilitate internationalisation.

5 Globalisation And Demands For Qualifications Recognition – cont.
Issues:   i Profit oriented - international student/market is a multi billion dollar business; ii Worthless and unrecognized offshore certificates - quality is hard to control; and iii Recognition issues. Challenges: i More thorough international harmonization of policy frameworks, higher education structures, degree systems and even curricula is needed; and ii Finding a comprehensive solution for the issue of international transferability and recognition of qualifications.

6 Globalisation And Demands For Qualifications Recognition – cont.
Responses from Governments: i Bologna Process and Lisbon Recognition Convention. ii Regional networks and arrangements initiated by international organisations such as UNESCO, CEPES, Council of Europe and European Commission to address the pressing issue of qualifications recognition and quality and standards. iii The introduction and implementation of national qualifications frameworks based on learning outcomes as a basis on which to negotiate the value of qualifications. The subscription to the qualifications framework is a very important step towards qualifications recognition because it offers a common language of learning outcomes within which learning is described in terms of levels of knowledge and competencies gained from the qualification. This development is encouraged by the thinking that focusing on the outcomes of education and learning, thus leaving behind the evaluation of the formal inputs in the learning process, can resolve the issue of recognitions of qualifications (Damme, 2001). Based on the arguments presented above, it is evident that globalization and massification of higher education obviously challenged authorities to rethink their higher education’s structures, outcomes and purposes. Hence, in fulfilling the demand for globalised market of higher education Governments have taken bold initiatives as can be seen in Europe and other parts of the world to reform their higher education. The most important step is to subscribe to the idea of developing and implementing qualifications frameworks in which qualifications are described, assessed and valued in terms of their outcomes. This new idea is pursued with the hope that focusing on outcomes-based qualifications can facilitate the recognition of qualifications between countries as qualifications could be more comparable and compatible across qualifications frameworks which share similar important definitions, features, structures and purposes of qualifications.

7 Qualifications Recognition: A Search For A Better Framework – cont.
Bologna Process – ultimate objective is to provide an environment where staff and students of European Higher Education Area can move with ease and have fair recognition of their qualifications. The most important development - the introduction, development and implementation of internationally comparable outcome-focused qualifications framework. * The first systematic attempts to describe qualifications in terms of level, workload, profile and learning outcomes - provide important information about qualifications that was missing so far which are very important in promoting understanding and enhancing confidence in particular education system. *At the same time, EU is developing the EQF as a translating facility for referencing learning qualifications among EU member states.

8 Qualifications Recognition: A Search For A Better Framework – cont.
Helps recognition of qualifications across EHEA by defining qualifications by learning outcomes, credit based on learners efforts, and level and profile that demonstrate the achievement of specified knowledge, skills and competencies. Enables qualifications at national and international to relate and communicate to each other. Provides a map of qualifications with indication of outcomes achievement, credit application, pathways between levels and reference for point of articulation and establish compatibility between qualifications across frameworks. Establishes real transparency between existing European systems of higher education through the development of a shared basis for understanding these systems and the qualifications they contain. QFs can achieve at least four generic aims (Bjornavold & Coles, 2008): i Establishing national standards for learning outcomes (competences); ii Promoting through regulation the quality of education and training provisions; iii Relating qualifications to one another and allow communication between qualifications; and iv Promoting access to learning, transfer of learning and progression in learning.

9 Qualifications Recognition: A Search For A Better Framework – cont.
Lisbon Recognition Convention - the main legal instrument for academic recognition in the European region Principles: i Right for a fair assessment of foreign qualification. ii Recognition if no substantial differences are evident. iii Mutual trust and information provision. ENIC together with NARIC have been established to oversee, promote and facilitate the implementation of the Lisbon Convention and, more generally, for better recognition within Europe.

10 Initiatives Towards Qualifications Recognition
Aligning Irish NFQ with meta QFs (EHEA &EQF) – compatibility verification project 2006. Comprehensive comparison between two frameworks which dealt with: i scope, structural similarities and differences and purposes of the frameworks; ii descriptor architecture and methodologies for defining learning outcomes; and iii analysis of the strands of learning in each descriptor set, working from the EQF to Irish national qualifications framework. The project found that the Irish awards and EQF descriptors in Level 4 and 5 has good correspondence while comparison of outcomes in the EHEA’s meta-framework second cycle supported the contention that the Irish masters degree is a second cycle.

11 Initiatives Towards Qualifications Recognition – cont.
Irish NFQ with NZQF - to establish clear and demonstrable links between national qualifications frameworks by establishing the compatibility of the level descriptors, qualifications definition and non-outcomes criteria It has been found that Level 7-10 of New Zealand qualifications and Level 7-10 of the Irish qualifications are broadly compatible. There is a substantial difference in some non-outcomes criteria in Level 7 New Zealand bachelor degree and Level 7 the Irish ordinary bachelor degree criteria, specifically in relation to credit allocations and progression opportunities. Significant number of New Zealand Level 7 bachelor degrees are accepted as meeting the standard for entry into particular professions.

12 Initiatives Towards Qualifications Recognition – cont.
MQF with NZQF - to recognize Bachelor degrees based on the compatibility of the NZQF and the MQF and the quality assurance practices as well as the equivalency (broad comparability) of qualifications. It has been found that Level 6 MQF and Level 7 NZQF has moderate to strong comparability in terms of level descriptors, purpose, and learning outcomes; and has similar non-outcomes criteria such as entry and credit requirements; and relation to other qualifications and progression opportunities. The project also concluded that MQF and NZQF operate national and on-going, quality assurance systems that are robustly similar, providing public confidence in the programmes and qualifications in higher education.

13 Establishing Compatibility of Qualifications Using QF – Findings
Some findings generated from the above projects: i identify a process of working from general comparison of framework architecture and methodologies for defining levels, on to analysis of the learning outcomes associated with descriptors and the statements through which these outcomes are expressed. ii develop common approaches to be adopted by other countries in facilitating the recognition of qualifications. iii proves that countries can compare the compatibility of their qualifications based on learning outcomes.

14 Establishing Compatibility of Qualifications Using QF – Findings
iv Open up the possibility of establishing compatibility of qualifications between qualifications frameworks - as long as the criteria and procedures for establishing the compatibility of qualifications are well established, the location of the countries does not matter. v Help governments to improve their recognition processes by mapping each other’s systems according to pre-determined criteria and procedures; and vi Allow two countries to compare their qualifications based on main features of qualifications framework such as the analysis of level descriptors, qualification definitions and non- outcomes criteria.

15 Establishing Compatibility Of Qualifications Using QF – Lessons Learnt
It can be concluded that QF helps facilitate recognition of qualifications by making qualifications more comparable and compatible between two different educational systems and across qualifications frameworks. It also addresses the problem previously faced by Governments in recognition arrangements by enhancing understanding of a particular national educational system and hence promotes confidence.   QF fulfill this requirement by giving meaningful information about qualifications. The information provides useful insight about qualifications and makes comparability of qualifications in terms of learning outcomes possible.

16 Establishing Compatibility Of Qualifications Using QF – Lessons Learnt
NZ/Ireland and Malaysia/NZ case further prove that qualifications frameworks are of great benefit to facilitate fair recognition of qualifications between two different national education systems. The exercises demonstrate the usefulness of national qualifications frameworks in enabling governments to improve their recognition processes by mapping each other’s systems, based on common policies and protocols, and enables them to benefit from the lessons learnt. The projects also reveal that the inclusion of comparisons of national qualifications frameworks level descriptors and qualification definitions improves the basis on which qualifications are recognized in Ireland and New Zealand; and in Malaysia and New Zealand - there is a great possibility that it will work for other countries.

17 Establishing Compatibility Of Qualifications Using QF – Lessons Learnt
Things that MQA should be thinking of: i carries out an impact study/outcome evaluation on the implementation of and subscription to MQF (taking place in the form of maintenance audit); ii invites experts to assess MQF; iii conducts a review of MQF based on the findings from MQF- NZQF project; iv the issuance of Diploma Supplements which is yet to be implemented; and v establishes compatibility of MQF with other national qualifications framework and meta framework

18 References Altbach, P. G. (1999). The perils of internationalising higher education: An Asian perspective. International Higher Education 15, 4-5. Bjornavold, J., & Coles, M. (2008). Governing education and training; the case of qualifications frameworks. European Journal of Vocational Training, 43(1), Bologna Process. (2007). About the Bologna Process, from Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks. (2005). A framework for qualifications of the European Higher Education Area., from Council of Europe., & UNESCO (1997). Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region. , from Damme, D. V. (2001). Higher education in the age of globalization: The need for a new regulatory framework forrecognition, quality assurance and accreditation. Paper presented at the UNESCO Expert Meeting. Kwiek, M. (2001). Globalization and higher education. Higher Education in Europe, XXVI(1), Maguire, B., Mernagh, E., & Murray, J. (2008). Aligning learning outcomes descriptors in national and meta-frameworks of qualifications: Learning fromIrish experience. European Journal of Vocational Training, 43(1),

19 References Malaysian Qualifications Agency. (2007a). Malaysian Qualifications Framework., from Marginson, S. (2007). Going global: Trends in higher education and research in the APEC region. Paper presented at the APEC HRDWG Symposium on Education Policy Challenges. Middlehurst, R. (2002). The developing world of borderless higher education: Markets, providers, quality assurance and qualifications. Paper presented at the First Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education.  New Zealand Qualifications Authority., & National Qualifications Authority of Ireland. (2010). The compatibility of qualifications in Ireland and New Zealand. Retrieved March 30, 2010, from  Rauhvargers, A. (2004). Improving the recognition of qualifications in the framework of the Bologna Process. European Journal of Education, 39(3), Woodhouse, D. (1999). Quality and quality assurance. . In J. Knight & H. D. Wit (Eds.), Quality and Internationalisation in Higher Education (pp ). Paris: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.



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