Qualifications Systems

Bridges to Lifelong Learning

image of Qualifications Systems

In the quest for more and better lifelong learning, there is a growing awareness that qualifications systems must play a part. Some countries have started to realise that isolated developments in qualifications standards lead to uncoordinated, piecemeal systems. After reviewing the policies and practice in fifteen countries, the authors present nine broad policy responses to the lifelong learning agenda that countries have adopted and that relate directly to their national qualifications system. They also identify twenty mechanisms, or concrete linkages, between national qualifications systems and lifelong learning goals. The overall aim of this book is to provide these mechanisms as a tool for governments to use in reviewing their policy responses to lifelong learning. Evidence suggests that some mechanisms, such as those linked to credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, qualifications frameworks and stakeholder involvement, are especially powerful in promoting lifelong learning.

English Spanish, Korean, Bulgarian, French


Executive Summary

Since the 1970s, the evolution of the OECD economies and societies, in particular the advent of information technologies, has made lifelong learning a key goal for education and training policy. Progress in technology and international economic integration is rapidly changing the economic landscape and putting an ever greater premium on the need to innovate, improve productivity and to adjust to structural changes painlessly. In this context, the 1994 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) of 12 OECD countries provided a sobering finding: at least one-quarter of the adult population fails to reach the third of the five literacy levels, which many experts regard as the minimum level of competence needed to cope adequately with the complex demands of everyday life and work. These results have been confirmed by follow-up surveys in 22 countries/regions. A population with this level of skills can hardly be expected to adapt rapidly and respond innovatively to the ongoing structural changes. “Lifelong learning for all” is a response to this challenge. This policy goal was identified by a meeting of OECD Education Ministers in 1996 (Lifelong Learning for All, OECD, 1996) and also echoed in publications by UNESCO and the European Commission.

English French

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error