The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training
The AQF links education and the labour market
The AQF sets the standards for Australia’s qualifications
The AQF is a flexible, contemporary framework of Australia’s qualifications
The AQF is Australia’s National Qualifications Framework
The AQF builds confidence in qualifications
The AQF supports the development of pathways to assist people to move easily through education and training and work
The AQF supports lifelong learning
The AQF underpins regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for education and training
The AQF supports national and international mobility of graduates and workers
The AQF enables comparability of Australian and international qualifications
AQF qualifications are the currency of the labour market

International Projects  

Current consultation

A consultation paper has been released seeking input on the projects described below. The consultation has now closed however comments on the projects are welcome. Responses can be in the form of a brief email or a longer paper, and should be sent to aqfc@aqf.edu.au.

Project descriptions

The AQF Council has commenced two international projects that aim to align the AQF with the New Zealand Qualifications Framework and with the European Qualifications Framework. The aim of the projects is an improved basis for the understanding and recognition of Australian qualifications in both New Zealand and Europe and the qualifications of New Zealand and Europe in Australia.

Working groups of stakeholders are assisting each of the projects. Input and comments are welcome from all stakeholders in the course of the projects and can be provided by email at aqfc@aqf.edu.au.

Background information

Definition: Alignment is defined within the AQF as ‘a process of referencing or mapping qualifications frameworks against each other in order to be able to make a statement about the extent of broad comparability, without adjustments to either of the qualifications frameworks being made.’

The AQF Principles and processes for the alignment of the AQF with international qualifications frameworks, approved by Ministers in March 2011 forms the key policy document for alignment projects. It includes a set of general alignment principles which are the criteria to be followed in any alignment projects.

The discussion paper Rationale for pursuing the comparablity of the AQF with other regional or national qualifications frameworks for the purpose of alignment  sets out the justification for alignment including to assist in:

  • enhancing the effectiveness of student and worker mobility,
  • supporting Australia’s international commitments, and
  • supporting qualifications recognition decision making.

The general methodology to be followed with each project includes:

  • Preparation of preliminary documentation of both countries’ qualifications systems and preparation of a summary of Australia’s education and training system. For Australia, this is the AEI Country Education Profile
  • Initial research to determine if alignment is in the best interests of Australia including a description of the other NQF, quality assurance systems, interest in alignment with Australia and a summary of Australia’s diplomatic and trade relationships with the country and  migration and student data
  • Developing a framework of understanding and building relationships between the countries to develop confidence in and shared understanding of each other’s systems
  • Formal comparison through the establishment of joint working groups
  • Inviting international experts to provide input
  • Consultation with AQF stakeholders
  • A final report will form the basis for recommending to Ministers the formal agreement on alignment

Progress reports  

New Zealand

2013

  • Discussion by the AQF Council resulted in agreement to commence an alignment project with the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)
  • November - Exchange of letters between the Chair of the AQF Council and the Chair of the Board of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)

2014

  • March – Preliminary documentation and initial research completed; AQF Advisory Group met; initial meeting between senior staff of the AQF and the NZQA
  • 8 April – First Joint Working Group meeting established the terms of reference for the project and agreement on processes
  • 5-6 August - Second Joint Working Group meeting included information exchange about education and training systems, agreement on documents and discussion on initial technical alignment
  • 24 September - Third Joint Working Group meeting held. Work is proceeding on drafting a report on the compatibility of the AQF and the NZQF
  • 29 September – Consultation on the outcomes closed (further comments may be sent to aqfc@aqf.edu.au)

Europe

2011-2013

2014

  • February - Meetings at Ministerial level in Brussels and Canberra commenced the project
  • March - Preliminary documentation and initial research completed; AQF Advisory Group met
  • 1-2 April - Presentation on the AQF to the EQF Advisory Group; First Technical Working Group meeting which established agreement on processes
  • June – Paper written which comments on the strengths, benefits and challenges of alignment between the AQF and the EQF
  • 9 July – Second Technical Working Group meeting which included discussion on terms of reference, timelines and processes
  • 9 September – Third Technical Working Group meeting included further discussion on the methodology
  • 29 September – Consultation on the outcomes closed (further comments may be sent to aqfc@aqf.edu.au)
  • 29-30 September – Fourth Technical Working Group meeting held in Brussels. Work is proceeding on drafting a shared paper on the technical outcomes of aligning the AQF and the EQF
  • 11 November – Fifth Technical Working Group meeting scheduled
  • 20 November – Australia-EU Policy Dialogue to be held in Brussels. AQF/EQF alignment will be a focus of the agenda