Norwegian qualifications framework for lifelong learning
The Norwegian qualifications framework for lifelong learning (NQF) gives a view of the Norwegian educational system and its levels of qualifications. NQF is a contribution to facilitate the work on lifelong learning.
On a later stage the Norwegian qualifications framework is to be used as a transparency tool for comparison of Norwegian qualifications with qualifications from other countries, via the European qualifications framework (EQF) and/or the European qualifications framework for higher education (QF-EHEA). NQF intends to promote cross-border mobility.
Implementation of the NQF
The NQF gives a description of the formal Norwegian education and training system. The NQF levels are formulated on the basis of what a person know, can do, and is capable of doing as a result of a learning process. The outcomes of the completed learning process are described in the categories “knowledge”, “skills” and “general competences”. The NQF also gives an overview of included degrees, diplomas, certificates, craft or journeyman’s certificates and documents of skill.
The NQF is a national overarching qualifications framework. Study programs and subject related learning outcomes descriptions are written in syllabics and curricula’s.
The NQF is a tool for easier understanding of the:
correlation between the levels of qualifications in the educational system
difference between the learning outcomes at the various levels in the NQF
different paths to achieve a qualification through education
The Norwegian Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (NQF) can be used as a support to:
improve communication between the educational sector and the labour market
offer a superior description of what a pupil/-apprentice/-candidate is expected to know, understand and be able to do after successful completion of learning
describe the workings of the Norwegian system in a new manner, which will pave the way for improved education and career guidance
facilitate the comparison of qualifications from other countries, via the EQF and the QF-EHEA
open the way for the development of new instruments for validation of competencies achieved outside the formal educational system
The levels of qualifications in the NQF
The Norwegian qualifications framework (NQF) has seven levels. All levels are defined as a qualification written as learning outcomes in the categories of knowledge, skills and general competences.
Its core is the seven reference levels of qualifications, from those obtained at the end of lower secondary education, (level 2) to the highest (level 8, ph.d. or equivalent). The three highest levels correspond to higher education levels as also defined within the European Higher Education Area.
The Ministry of education and research has prescribed on what level the enrollment of diplomas, degrees and certificates in the Norwegian qualifications framework (NQF). Only the main levels in the formally recognized education system are enrolled in the NQF.
Levels and learning outcome descriptors
The NQF levels are formulated on the basis of what a person know, can do and is capable of doing as a result of a learning process. The outcomes of the completed learning process are described in the categories “knowledge”, “skills” and “general competences”.
The categories describing learning outcomes include:
Knowledge: Understanding of theories, facts, principles, procedures in subject areas and/or occupations.
Skills: Ability to utilise knowledge to solve problems or tasks (cognitive, practical, creative and communication skills).
General competence: Ability to utilise knowledge and skills in an independent manner in different situations.
Level 1 is not part of the NQF, and is therefore not included in this overview.
has knowledge of relevant concepts, models and principles in the subject area
has knowledge of, and has an overview of materials, equipment and work methods, and can give reasons for his/her choices
has the experience-based knowledge required to practise in the vocational field
has insight into the importance and historical development of the trade/occupation in a societal perspective
has knowledge of relevant regulations, standards, agreements and quality requirements
has knowledge of different learning strategies and can utilise them in his/her own learning
has an understanding of his/her own educational and work opportunities
The candidate ...
can systematise, present and report on planned and completed work
can carry out calculations and assess consequences
can solve vocational challenges in a critical and creative manner, alone or in cooperation with others
can use relevant concepts, principles, materials and equipment in his/her work
can communicate in at least one foreign language
can assess and choose work methods for solving subject-specific tasks
can be creative when planning and performing work
can carry out work in accordance with the applicable regulations, standards, agreements and quality requirements
can analyse and assess different types of sources of relevance to his/her own work
The candidate ...
can use his/her own vocational competence in new and complex contexts
can work independently and take responsibility for ensuring that work is carried out with the required craftsmanship and in accordance with legislation, regulations and established ethical standards in the trade/field in question
can cooperate and communicate with colleagues, customers and/or users when carrying out his/her work
can guide others in their work
can document and assess others’ work and own work in connection with planning, organising, work performance and results
can reflect on his/her own vocational competence as the basis for future choices
an initiate tasks and activities that promote his/her own learning and development
A candidate who has completed his or her qualification should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence.
The candidate ...
has broad knowledge of important topics, theories, issues, processes, tools and methods within the academic field
is familiar with research and development work in the field
can update his/her knowledge in the field
has knowledge of the history, traditions, distinctive character and place in society of the academic field
The candidate ...
can apply academic knowledge and relevant results of research and development work to practical and theoretical problems and make well-founded choices
can reflect upon his/her own academic practice and adjust it under supervision
can find, evaluate and refer to information and scholarly subject matter and present it in a manner that sheds light on the problem
masters relevant scholarly tools, techniques and forms of communication
The candidate ...
has insight into relevant academic and professional ethical issues
– can plan and carry out varied assignments and projects over time, alone or as part of a group, and in accordance with ethical requirements and principles – can communicate important academic subject matters such astheories, problems and solutions, both in writing and orally, as well as through other relevant forms of communication – can exchange opinions and experiences with others with a background in the field, thereby contributing to the development of good practice – is familiar with new thinking and innovation processes
National qualifications framework means an instrument for the classification of qualifications according to a set of criteria for specified levels of learning achieved, which aims to integrate and coordinate national qualifications subsystems and improve the transparency, access, progression and quality of qualifications in relation to the labour market and civil society.
A “qualification” means a formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards.
Non-formal learning: learning which is embedded in planning activities not explicitly designated as learning (in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support). Non-formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view.
Informal learning: learning resulting from daily activities related to work, family or leisure. It is not organized or structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support. Informal learning is in most cases unintentional from the learner’s perspective.