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National qualifications framework

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

2.Organisation and governance

2.5National qualifications framework

Last update: 10 June 2022

Stage of Development and Implementation

The Qualifications Framework of the German-speaking Community (QDG) was elaborated together with all educational institutions within the German-speaking Community, in particular the Institute for Initial and Continuing Vocational Training in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (IAWM). In addition, other institutions outside the German-speaking Community, in particular the Flemish Community and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), have provided scientific support for this concept.

The guidelines and recommendations of the European Union have provided an important impetus for the qualification framework of the German-speaking Community. Within the framework of the Bruges-Copenhagen Process and the EU agenda, special importance was attached to vocational education and training. The German-speaking Community acted on the basis of a recommendation of the European Council and the European Parliament: Like the other EU member states, it had to develop its own national qualifications framework according to the model of the European Qualifications Framework.


The QDG is the instrument for the systematic description and allocation of qualifications on the basis of proven competence and the associated possibility of advancement to the next level of competence.

The QDG serves:

- better comparability of qualifications and their competence levels,

- the increased permeability of the various education systems.

Important principles of the QDG are:

- the equivalence of vocational and general education, i.e. for example of journeyman's certificates and the completion of upper secondary education (both level 4),

- to define the concept of education very broadly in order to include reliability, accuracy, perseverance, diligence, creativity, attention, intercultural competence, tolerance and democratic behaviour.


The QDG comprises eight competence levels, numbered in ascending order from level 1 to level 8. It is divided into two competence categories:

- Professional competence (knowledge and skills),

- personal competence (social competence and autonomy).

The descriptors describe the competences required to achieve one of the eight levels of competence.


The qualification is assigned on the basis of the learning outcomes. Such an assignment does not replace any existing recognized qualifications. The assignment does not entitle the holder to a recognized qualification or to access further qualifications.

The following criteria are taken into account when assigning qualifications:

- The pertinence of the qualification is given in relation to either:

o the entry into the world of work or the exercise of a profession for occupation-related qualifications, or

o entry into a course of study or further training for general educational qualifications;

- There is a clear description of the learning outcomes for the qualification by an institution recognised by the government;

- The procedures for the evaluation of competences and the comparability of learning outcomes with the desired competence standards on which the achievement of the qualification is based as well as the corresponding quality assurance processes are comprehensible;

- A recognised proof of qualification is available.

Quality assurance and quality development should be guaranteed.

All evidence, certificates and diplomas that are already assigned to a qualification are marked accordingly and provided with the qualification level.

Validation of competences

Learning outcomes acquired in non-formal and informal learning contexts can be used by validation. To this end, the Government of the German-speaking Community has opened a validation project for the Ministry within the framework of its Regional Development Concept and its ongoing work programmes (LAP 2014-2019, LAP 2019-2024).

National and European Qualifications Framework

The Ministry of the German-speaking Community still has the tasks:

  • to link the Qualifications Framework of the German-speaking Community with the European Qualifications Framework;
  •  to ensure the transparency of the methodology used to link the QDG with the European Qualifications Framework;
  •  to ensure access to information and guidelines for institutions, educational actors, enterprises and citizens.

Recent developments

The Ministry of the German-speaking Community is leading a validation project to enhance the "non-formal" and "informal" competences of citizens. The main target group of the validation was defined:

- those who have no or low qualifications, but already have many competences and skills as a result of experience;

- People who want to reorient themselves professionally,

- and immigrants whose foreign diploma has not been recognised in Belgium.

Care is taken to ensure that people with disabilities also have access to the system. All citizens of the German-speaking Community should be shown ways and perspectives that enable them to have their non-formally and informally acquired competences recognised.

Social orientation of the measure

For the validation of non-formal and informal learning, the guidelines of the validation project in the German-speaking Community are also applicable. In this sense, the validation ;

- promote mobility in the field of education and the labour market by facilitating access to education and employment or mobility within these fields for the individual;

- promote the efficiency of education and training by helping individuals to have access to individually tailored learning opportunities;

- promote equal opportunities in the recognition of skills and competences, wherever they may have been acquired, thus contributing to the creation of a level playing field in education/training and the labour market;

- promote disadvantaged groups such as migrants, refugees, the unemployed and older workers;

- promote lifelong learning by providing lifelong opportunities for recognition of learning;

- achieve coherence with other (EU) countries;

- meet the needs of different sectors where there is a shortage of skilled labour and comply with the provisions applicable to vocational qualifications;

- facilitate adaptation to demographic change;

- Addressing skills gaps.