How to talk about the National Qualifications Framework

In the period from 22 to 26 September 2017, within the Twinning Project “Further Implementation of the NQF”, three public debates were held in Stip, Tetovo and Ohrid, focused on key issues for further strengthening of the National Qualifications Framework.

The main objective of the three public debates was to disseminate information on the development process of the NQF and to involve stakeholders in the planning of its further development. Public debates included three panel sessions.

The first panel session on the topic: “How to talk about NQF and how to use it?” was moderated by Mr. Branko Aleksov, an Advisor at the Center for Vocational Education and Training. Ms. Agneshka Klon Dominchak, an expert from Poland, who presented experiences from Poland, together with colleagues from Scotland and Croatia, countries that have developed a common language with NQF users, which leads to a common understanding of the key terms used.

The second panel session on the topic “What are the Benefits of the NQF for Local Development?” was moderated by Ms. Maja Krstevska, Advisor at the Center for Adult Education. Ms. Katerina Travina Konador, an expert from Poland, and her presentation emphasized the role of the NQF in local development and the development of skills and competencies according to the needs of the local labor market, especially through the lifelong learning process, additional qualification and retraining.

The third panel session on the topic: “How to build trust in the NQF?” was moderated by Mr. Borco Aleksov, President of the National Board for MRC.  Ms. Ruzica Biljo Luchik, expert from Croatia, presented the aspects of the system for quality assurance in the context of building trust around the NQF, which includes the development of a standard of qualification that contains learning outcomes, the manner of assessing competencies and accrediting institutions providing education and training. Also, the expert from Croatia stressed the need to harmonize the National Classification of Occupations and the National Qualifications Framework and Qualifications Standards to include competencies for the individual development and development of society.

The panel sessions included participating teachers and directors from the secondary schools, professors from higher education institutions, representatives of the local self-government, economic councils, education development bureau, state and municipal education inspectorate, chambers, organization of employers, associations, business community and trade union.

Discussions during the debates have shown that there is a need for discussion and exchange of views on the NQF among the stakeholders. The implementation of the NQF in Macedonia is part of the wider European policy and it is an opportunity for students and employees from Macedonia to recognize and affirm their qualifications both at home and abroad.

            All three debates conclude that the NQF is an important tool for communication and visibility of qualifications in the Republic of Macedonia, and it is therefore important to construct terminology to understand each other, to speak a common language. It establishes a balance between the labor market and qualifications, encourages non-formal and lifelong learning and mobility and recognition.

NQF is an instrument of trust – all stakeholders should get together to create qualifications standards, educational programs for qualifications that fit the needs of the labor market, and realize the need for training, but with a built quality training system.

            Most importantly, it turned out that there is a great need for stakeholders to discuss the National Qualifications Framework and that it needs to be promoted through campaigns, debates, presentations, seminars and workshops.