Qualifications Systems

Bridges to Lifelong Learning

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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.

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Policy Responses to Improve National Qualifications Systems

This chapter draws together recent policy responses to the lifelong learning agenda that involve national qualifications systems. Countries described the major pressures for changes and innovations over the past decade (inter alia from the various stakeholder groups), how policy has evolved to deal with these pressures, and any changes anticipated in the qualifications system. Country experts also identified the major constraints on reforms and innovations. This chapter is therefore a synopsis of evidence drawn mainly from background reports. It attempts to give an overview of the ways countries perceive policy development related to qualifications systems. This wide policy view sets the scene for more detailed work on mechanisms that link qualifications systems and lifelong learning.

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