National Framework for Qualifications

By - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) was introduced in 2003 to provide a flexible, standardised and integrated system of qualifications in Ireland. Its aim was to meet the needs of all individual learners and comply with the National learning objective of promoting and providing a “lifelong learning society”. It provides an internationally recognised set of awards at various different levels and enables individual learners to commence educational and learning opportunities at any given level appropriate to their capability and the learning qualifications they hope to achieve. The NFQ is based on a system of 10 levels which caters for all levels of learning – from the initial basic stages to the most advanced. Its 10-level system provides a way of measuring the value of a given qualification and comparing it with other national and international qualifications. The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of this framework and has identified a standard of knowledge, skill and competence for each level of the NFQ. The Authority has defined the NFQ to be “the single, nationally and internationally accepted entity, through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other in a coherent way and which defines the relationship between all education and training awards”. The NFQ thus provides a vision for the recognition of learning and access and progression within this learning framework. It validates programmes and makes it easy to compare the value of a diverse range of qualifications. The framework thus helps provide clarity to employers, learners and the public on the type and level of qualifications available in Ireland. Each level of the 10-level framework has specified level indicators which provide a broad description of the learning outcomes to be achieved at a given level. There is also at least one award-type at each level which consists of a wide range of named awards. It is the responsibility of awarding bodies to develop the names of these awards. The NFQ has introduced new qualifications to the Irish education and training system, such as the Advanced Certificate at level 6 and the ordinary Bachelor’s degree at level 7. It has revolutionised further education through the development of levels 1-6 qualifications. The award-types for each of the 10 levels are shown below:Level Award-type1 Level 1 Certificate2 Level 2 Certificate3 Level 3 Certificate and Junior Certificate4 Level 4 Certificate ] and Leaving Certificate5 Level 5 Certificate ] and Leaving Certificate6 Advanced Certificate and Higher Certificate7 Ordinary Bachelor Degree8 Honours Bachelor Degree and Higher Diploma – e. g. , BA (Hons) in Arts9 Masters Degree and Postgraduate Diploma – e. g. , MSc in Physics10 Doctoral Degree – e. g. , PhD in LinguisticsWhat Does This Mean For You?Basically, the table above shows that there are 15 award types within the 10-level system. So, the Leaving Certificate fulfils the criteria set by the NFQ at levels 4 and 5. Thus, somebody who gains a Level 4 or Level 5 Certificate – in Childcare or Business Studies, for example – has an award equivalent to that of the Leaving Certificate. The same is true of somebody who gains a bachelor degree and somebody who gains a higher diploma – both awards fulfil the criteria set by the NFQ at level 8 so their awards are recognised as equal in value. Click here to view the NFQ fan diagram. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
Special Feature: Starting a Business
What Do Your Qualifications Mean Overseas?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy