The Finnish National Qualifications Framework (NFQ) was adopted in March 2017, when the legislation governing the National Framework for Qualifications and Other Competence Modules entered into force. The framework covers the entire education system. In this framework the qualifications, syllabi and other extensive competence modules of the Finnish national education system are classified into eight levels on the basis of the learning outcomes. The referencing to the EQF was completed in December 2017.
The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have been involved with the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning from the very beginning. The decision that a Finnish National Qualifications Framework (FNQF) should be developed was made already in 2008.
Information on the National Framework for Qualifications and Other Competence Modules, including legislation governing the framework as well as its design is available on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s website:
A broad range of stakeholders has been involved since the early stages of the NQF development work. Broad consultation and information sessions were organised throughout the process. The NQF working group, which was chaired by the Ministry of Education and Culture, included stakeholders from:
• different ministries
• teachers' union
• student unions
• trade unions
• representatives of employers' organisation
• labour organisations.
The Finnish National Qualifications Framework (FNQF) is seen as a tool for transparency. It facilitates the examination of the Finnish education and qualifications system by describes the required learning outcomes and competence modules in a comprehensive and comparable manner and defines their interrelations.
The FNQF adds the lifelong learning opportunities both by describing learning outcomes on all levels of education and by making recognition of prior learning easier. The framework increases national and international transparency and comparability of qualifications. It promotes international mobility, recognition of qualifications and supports educational co-operation and education export.
The FNQF is a compatible with the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) and the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area. The learning outcomes approach is well-established and generally accepted in the vocational education and training, it also has a long history in this sector of education.
Also higher education institutions are moving towards learning outcomes-based qualifications. In the level descriptors, a distinction is not made between knowledge, skills and competences. Instead, the learning outcomes are described in a holistic way, as one unified descriptor.
In the first stage, the FNQF covers qualifications and syllabi that are governed by the Ministry of Education and Culture and qualifications from other administrative sectors. The qualifications that are referenced to the Finnish National Qualifications Framework are referred to in the Government Decree.
The Finnish National Qualifications Framework will be further developed towards a wider framework for learning, by incorporating for example certain extensive competence modules which are a qualification requirement for a certain position, or relate to the improvement of professional skills and competence.
As the framework evolves, the level descriptors may be revised. The development work will be steered by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The tasks of the Finnish National Agency for Education are closely linked with the National Qualifications Framework, notably the regulations concerning the qualification requirements. The Finnish National Agency for Education also has the main responsibility over sharing information both nationally and internationally.