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.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Possesses basic knowledge of the function of certain objects and occurrences with the possibility to apply them in practice and other disciplines, while at the same time enabling further studying.
||Possesses basic skills for performing simple operations;
Uses simple methods, tools and instruments with instructions and under supervision;
Possesses general rules of communication.
|Performs simple tasks under direct supervision;
Takes responsibility for performing simple tasks.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Possesses basic theoretical and professional knowledge, needed for knowing the area of work, which can be applied when performing simple working tasks, while at the same time enabling further studying.
||Possesses practical and creative skills for executing simple or less complex and predefined work in known conditions and predictable situations.
Uses simple methods, tools, instruments, devices and materials on the basis of detailed instructions;
Communicates and cooperates with individuals.
|Works independently under known conditions and under periodic supervision and with limited responsibility for performing working tasks;
Performs simple communication and cooperation with some employees in known situations.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Possesses theoretical and systematic acquired professional knowledge, facts, principles, processes and general concepts for a certain area of work or study, while at the same time enabling further studying.
||Possesses practical and creative skills that enable the solving of known (predictable) and less known (unpredictable) situations;
Performs work and tasks of medium complexity, less standardized and relatively transparent;
Uses various devices, tools, equipment and materials in the process of production and in the services;
Communicates and cooperates with the group.
|Plans, prepares, organizes and evaluates the own work, based upon predetermined authorization, within the scope of the own work;
Performs tasks that are not always defined in advance, with a certain degree of independence and responsibility.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Knows concepts, principles and processes from the subjects and areas of study;
Possesses systematic theoretical and professional knowledge within the determined area of work or study that includes analysing and connecting facts and theoretical principles when performing the work, while at the same time enabling further studying.
|Possesses various cognitive, practical and creative skills, based on theoretical knowledge and principles, necessary for study and work and for solving problems in changeable conditions in a certain field of work or study;
Qualified to collect, analyse, select and to use relevant information from various sources, tools, methodologies, techniques and materials in the area of study;
Qualified to perform complex procedures and to use methods, instruments, tools, installations and materials in the working process;
Communicates and cooperates with the group in changeable conditions.
|Independently plans, organizes and runs the own work and conducts supervision of the joint work;
Independently performs complex tasks and solves problems, adjusting the behavior in accordance with the provided instructions, in changeable conditions;
Responsible for the own work and for the work of the group, for the purpose of evaluating the results of the work and improving the quality, in accordance with predefined standards and criteria.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Demonstrates knowledge and understanding in the field of study or work that is built upon general secondary school education supported with professional literature;
Possesses specialist theoretical and professional knowledge and understanding of individual basic theories from the narrow scientific and expertise area;
Possesses limited knowledge of contemporary developments in the area of work or study which provides support to the field of work or profession, potential for personal development and basis for further studies to complete the first cycle.
|Applies skills that are based on understanding of theoretical principles and their application in solving problems and in the execution of complex and specific tasks in the field of work and study, with the selection and use of relevant data, methods, procedures, techniques, instruments, devices, tools and materials;Possesses the skills to study in order to become able to take over further researches with a certain degree of independence;
Possesses the ability to communicate and discuss with target groups from the narrow profession or area of study, with colleagues, superiors and clients.
|Has a high degree of personal and business responsibility, and ability to evaluate their own work and the work of the group based on criteria in the field of work;
Capability to transfer knowledge to others, organize, communicate and control own work and the work of others;
Takes responsibility for own results, but also shares responsibility for the activities, results and work of others in the group.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Demonstrates knowledge and understanding in the scientific field of study that builds upon previous education and training, including knowledge in the domain of theoretical, practical, conceptual, comparative and critical perspectives in the scientific field according to the relevant methodology;
Understanding of a certain area and knowledge of current issues in relation to scientific research and new sources of knowledge.
Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of different theories and methodologies necessary for the wider area of research.
|Is able to apply knowledge and understanding in a manner that shows a professional approach to the work or the profession;
Demonstrates ability to identify, analyse and solve problems;
Capability to find and support arguments within the profession or the field of study;
Capability to collect, analyse, evaluate and present information, ideas and concepts from relevant data;
Capability to assess theoretical and practical issues, provide explanations for the reasons and to select an appropriate solution;
Takes initiative to identify the requirements for acquiring further knowledge and study with a high degree of independence;
Capability to communicate and discuss information, ideas, problems and solutions, when the decision criteria and the scope of the task have been clearly defined, both with (professional?) and the non-expert public.
|Takes responsibility for the own results and shared responsibility for the collective results;
Capability for independent participation, with a professional approach, in specific scientific and interdisciplinary discussions.
Makes relevant judgement by taking into consideration the personal, social, scientific and ethical aspects.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the scientific field of study that builds upon the first cycle, by applying methodologies appropriate for resolving complex problems, both in a systematic and in creative manner, which provides the basis or the possibility for originality in the development and/or application of autonomous ideas in the context of the research;
Presents a high level of professional competence in one or in several specific scientific fields;
Possesses knowledge from one or more subject areas, which in the given scientific fields are based on the most renowned international research in that scientific field, as well as capability to connect wider and deeper knowledge in related professions or fields of science.
|Capability for critical, independent and creative problem-solving with a certain degree of originality in new or unknown environments and in multi-disciplinary contexts, related to the field of study;Capability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and to handle complex issues, in a systematic and creative manner;
Capability to evaluate and select scientific theories, methodologies, tools and general skills from the subject areas, and to put forward new analyses and solutions on scientific basis;
Capability to recognize the personal need for further knowledge and capability for independent and autonomous actions when acquiring new knowledge and skills in the social framework;
Capability to exchange conclusions and proposals by clearly and unambiguously arguing and rationally underpinning the stance, both with experts and non-experts.
|Demonstrates significant responsibility for the own and the joint results, for leading and initiating activities;
Capability for solid evaluation, even in the case of incomplete and limited information, which includes the personal, social and ethical responsibilities in the application of the acquired knowledge and evaluation thereof;
Capability for taking responsibility for further professional development and education, both for personal and for the group with which cooperates.
||Knowledge and understanding
||Demonstrates a systematic understanding of the field of research and perfect knowledge of research methods and skills within the respective field in accordance with the highest international standards;
Possesses knowledge gained with own research or work, thus significantly contributing to the professional and scientific field of research, but also in the related fields.
|Demonstrates ability to interpret, design, apply and adapt the essential subject of the research with scientific integrity;
Uses the knowledge as a basis for original ideas and research that exceed the current boundaries of knowledge, developing new knowledge, valued on the level of national and international peer-reviewed publications;
Ability for critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas, necessary for solving complex problems in the field of research;
Ability for independent initiation and participation in national and international research networks and events with scientific integrity;
Ability for independent initiation of research and development projects, through which new knowledge will be generated, as well as skills for development in the field of research;
Expected to be capable of self-promotion in academic and professional context and in the technological, social or cultural development in a knowledge-based society;
Capable for communication with the colleagues, the wider academic community and with the society as a whole within the field of expertise.
|Takes maximum responsibility for the results of the own work, but also for the work of the others in the group;
Takes responsibility for managing complex processes, while, in the same time, ensuring the professional development of the individuals and the group as a whole.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
A public document provides evidence of an acquired qualification and is issued by an authorized institution.
- 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.
- 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).