National qualifications frameworks: local learning from global experience

Helen Marshall, Melinda Drowley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Countries developing national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) would be ill-advised simply to import models from other countries but could benefit from their experiences. This paper elucidates principles underpinning successful practice and distils lessons learned from setbacks. General purposes of NQFs are identified, noting implicit preconditions for success. Evaluative studies illustrate tensions arising when pedagogical and socio-political assumptions embedded in the very idea of NQFs are brought to bear on socio-cultural values and traditions of learning and teaching predicated on different sets of assumptions. Questions are raised about the tendency of NQFs to perpetuate barriers to student and workforce mobility that they were supposed to dismantle. Finally, the paper examines how various countries have addressed such tensions, either by adapting their NQF to suit local practice or by attempting better to align local practice with general requirements of NQFs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)73 - 89
    Number of pages16
    JournalQuality in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


    • national qualifications frameworks
    • higher education
    • mobility


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