About MQF

National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is an instrument for establishing a system of qualifications acquired in a particular country, which provides the basis for gaining qualifications, passing through levels and quality of qualifications;

Macedonian Qualifications Framework (MQF) is a mandatory national standard that regulates the acquisition and use of qualifications in the country and a tool for establishing a system of qualifications acquired in the country that provides the basis for visibility, access, passing through levels, acquisition and quality of qualifications;


Objectives of MQF

  • To clearly define learning outcomes,
  • To establish a system for valuing different qualifications within the overall system of qualifications,
  • To encourage and promote learning throughout the whole life (lifelong learning),
  • To demonstrate the clear links between different parts of the education and training system,
  • To indicate the transfer and progression (horizontally and vertically) throughout and within all types of education and training (formal, non-formal and informal),
  • To enable international comparability of qualifications,
  • To promote the importance of key competences for lifelong learning and professional competence,
  • To ensure the mobility of participants in the process of education and training, and inclusion in the labour market, at the national and international level,
  • To create a single system for quality assurance,
  • To balance the quality of service providers,
  • To ensure the cooperation of all stakeholders,
  • To ensure harmonisation with economic, social and cultural needs of the country and
  • To be part of the developments within the European Qualifications Framework.

Principles of MQF

  • Learning outcomes are expressed through knowledge and understanding, skills and competence;
  • Classification of qualifications at levels and sub-levels;
  • Transferability of credits;
  • Comparability with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF);
  • Quality assurance in the process of development of qualifications and acquisition of qualifications;
  • Providing conditions for equal access to education throughout the whole life for the acquisition and recognition of qualifications;
  • Strengthening the competitiveness of the Macedonian economy that is based on human potentials and
  • Building a system for validation of non-formal and informal learning.

Definition of qualification

A qualification is a formal outcome of the assessment process and verification, which is acquired when an authorized institution confirms that an individual has achieved certain learning outcomes, in accordance with established standards.

Types of qualifications

  • educational qualifications
  • vocational qualifications

MQF Level descriptors

MQF has 8 qualification levels and 6 sub-levels.

Each level has a level descriptor.

The level descriptor is a statement of the learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes are statements on what the student knows, what they understand and can do as a result of the formal, informal and non-formal learning process.

Learning outcomes are defined through the categories of knowledge and understanding, skills and competences.


Volume of qualification

For each qualification the volume/volume of qualification is determined, as well as the average total time required to acquire a certain qualification.

The volume of the qualifications, i.e. their credit value, is determined by the number of credits.

The credit measures the workload of the candidate who is studying by taking into consideration the time required to acquire a single qualification, i.e. to accomplish the learning outcomes.

The total average time required to acquire a certain qualification is given in:

  1. The ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) for credits in higher education. A single ECTS credit covers 30 working hours of the duration of 60 minutes each as required to achieve certain learning outcomes from the studying.
  2. The ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training) for credits in vocational education and training. A single ECVET credit covers 25 working hours of the duration of 45 minutes each as required to achieve certain learning outcomes from the studying.
  3. The MGECS (Macedonian General Education Credit System) for credits in primary education, general secondary education and general education subjects in vocational education and training. A single MGECS credit covers 25 working hours of the duration of 45 minutes each as required to achieve certain learning outcomes from the studying
  4. For qualifications acquired based on original scientific or artistic research, the average total time spent is expressed by the number of years of research in the position.

The volume of the qualifications for each level of education is determined with a minimum of 60 credits, which corresponds to one year of school, i.e. one year of study.


Public document

A public document provides evidence of an acquired qualification and is issued by an authorized institution.

  1. For an acquired qualification awarded at a certain level of education the recipient receives a Certificate for completed appropriate grade, a credential and a diploma.
  2. For an acquired vocational qualification the recipient is awarded a certificate.


Type of Qualification is main grouping of qualifications according to the purpose, type of document issued, type of programmes and volume. In the NQF there are two types of qualifications: educational and vocational.

  • Education qualifications are acquired by completing publicly adopted education programmes and achievements of the outputs thereof, following the examination prescribed by law. The qualifications, according to the range of general and professional knowledge and competencies, enable personal and professional development, i.e. the possibility to continue education or join the labour market (employment)
  • Vocational qualifications are acquired for part of the publicly adopted education programmes, modules and courses, or by completing special education programmes, following an examination performed in accordance with the law. These qualifications represent a formally recognized capability to complete the operation within one or more occupations at a certain level of requirement” (art. 12 § 3)

Learning outcomes are statements about what the participant knows, understands and is able to do, as a result of the formal, non-formal or informal learning process. Learning outcomes are defined in terms of:

  • Knowledge and understanding is a set of acquired and systematised information, i.e. a set of theoretical and factual information.
  • Skills are the ability to apply knowledge, perform tasks and solve problems. Skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, creative and intuitive thinking) and practical (manual work and the use of methods, instruments, tools and materials).
  • Competences are a set of acquired knowledge and skills, i.e. the proven ability to use the knowledge and skills in situations of learning or work.

Programme (educational/ study) is a set of educational components, based on learning outcomes, which are recognised for the award of a specific qualification.

Educational programme is a set of documents: тeaching plan, syllabus and examination programme where are defined the purpose/ aim/ goal of learning/ competences, the content of the curricula, learning and introduction approach, the methods and assessment criteria in compliance with the learning оutcomes:

  • Teaching plan is a concrete document that contains the list of subjects and number of lectures.
  •  Syllabus  is a concrete document  that contains details for each subject, aims, exercises, teaching area, topics and content, methodological guideline for realization of the introductions, learning outcomes, teachers’’ profile who is realizing the lectures, assessment criteria and evaluation of pupils/ students achievements.
  • Examination programme is approved document that contains details for checking of pupils/ students achievements and criteria for pupils/ students evaluation in compliance with learning outcomes for concrete qualifications.

Study programme is a selection of educational components, based on learning outcomes, which contains details for checking of students’ achievements and criteria for students’ evaluation in compliance with learning outcomes, which are recognized for awarding a concrete qualification.

Module is an independent unit of learning that is complete or a part of educational /study programme.

  • Mandatory is module that must be learned,
  • Optional is a module that students can chose or not to chose from the list of modules,
  • Conditional  is a module that must be taken together with other module with similar content.
  • Co – mandatory is a module that must be taken with other module.

Title / name of the qualification is the wording will appear on the student’s public document.

Code of the qualification is comprises characters that indicate the sector, subsector, area, subarea, type and level of qualification.

Levels of  the framework

Levels in the framework are a series of successive steps of learning, expressed in terms of a series of general outcomes, structured according to a set of level descriptors.

Level descriptors are measurable indicators of learning outcomes relating to the acquired knowledge and understanding, skills and competence.

Description of the qualification is a clear overview and a basis for determining the levels of knowledge, skills and competences that the individual acquires through the learning process within the qualification.

Quality assurance­ is a process or a system of processes adopted at a national and/or institutional level in order to assure quality in the educational process, in educational programmes and in processes.

Register of NQF is a data base with open access where will be encoded all qualifications that satisfied NRQ standards and requirements. The approved qualification by the National Accreditation Committee records to the Register of Macedonian qualification framework. Every approved qualification is assigned with code according to the type, the level, the volume, sector of qualification and institution where this qualification can be gained.

Institution is an entity or another body that is verified/accredited to educate, train and assess participants who acquire qualifications. Institutions offer formal and non-formal programmes that lead to qualifications and issue public documents for them.

Lifelong learning is the activity of formal, non-formal or informal learning throughout the whole life, aimed at improving knowledge, skills and competences for personal, professional or social needs. It  is achieved throughout life through a combination of the following forms of learning:

  • Formal learning is an activity provided by an educational institution or a training facility that is conducted in accordance with certain approved programmes, in order to advance knowledge, skills and competences, wherefore a public document shall be issued.
  • Non-formal learning signifies organised learning activities in order to improve knowledge, skills and competences for personal, social or professional needs and most frequently does not lead to the issuing of a public document.
  • Informal learning is learning resulting from daily life activities related to work, family or leisure time. It is not structured in terms of learning objectives, learning time or learning support.
  • Formal Adult education qualifications awarded in formal education – programmes for those qualifications are adopted or endorsed by the relevant state authority (publicly recognised programmes). The formal education of adults refers to activity that is delivered in accordance with the laws on primary, secondary and higher education;
  • Adult education qualifications awarded in non-formal education (organised processes of learning focused on training of adults for a job, for various social activities or for personal development) – special programmes.

Assessment­ is the process of the evaluation of knowledge, skills and competences according to predefined criteria and learning outcomes, which includes written, oral and practical tests, exams, projects and a portfolio.

Validation is a process of approval of formal and informal learning in one country, and it is focused on the individual and his/hers acquired skills and competences.

Recognition of a prior learning is a process of recognition of the acquired qualification abroad (in another country) and it focuses on the institution issuing the document (certificate/diploma).