What is the AQF?
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) establishes the quality of Australian qualifications.
The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. It incorporates the quality assured qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework.
The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools. The background to the AQF is documented here.
The many AQF stakeholders include industry and its representative bodies, unions, professional associations and licensing authorities and governments. Ultimately students, graduate and employers, both Australian and international, benefit from the quality qualifications that are built on the requirements of the AQF.
In Australia, education and training is a shared responsibility of all Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. Education, training and employment ministers collectively own and are responsible for the AQF.
The AQF provides the standards for Australian qualifications. It is an integrated policy that comprises:
- The learning outcomes for each AQF level and qualification type
- The specifications for the application of the AQF in the accreditation and development of qualifications
- The policy requirements for issuing AQF qualifications
- The policy requirements for qualification linkages and student pathways
- The policy requirements for the registers of:
- organisations authorised to accredit AQF qualifications
- organisations authorised to issue AQF qualifications
- AQF qualifications and qualification pathways
- The policy requirements for the addition or removal of qualification types in the AQF, and
- The definitions of the terminology used in the policy.
The organising framework for the AQF is a taxonomic structure of levels and qualification types each of which is defined by a taxonomy of learning outcomes. The taxonomic approach is designed to enable consistency in the way in which qualifications are described as well as clarity about the differences and relationships between qualification types.
One of the key objectives of the Australian Qualifications Framework is to facilitate pathways to, and through, formal qualifications.
AQF qualifications link with each other in a range of learning pathways between schools, VET and higher education and education and work as an individual’s learning and career ambitions require. The AQF provides for flexible, transparent and systematic learning pathways and to the removal of boundaries between educational sectors.
Verification of AQF qualifications and the organisations authorised to issue them is through the AQF Register.