Establishment of the NQF
Law 4763/2020 establishes the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which is based on the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2017 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for Lifelong Learning (2017/C189/03). According to the recommendation, the EQF aims at improving the transparency, comparability and transferability of qualifications.
General goals and purposes
Its main goal is the development of a tool to enhance the readability and comparability of the Greek titles/qualifications, in the context of improving the Greek educational system. The NQF’s purposes are:
- to provide a common reference framework, according to which all Greek titles/qualifications can be recorded, classified and at the same time compared with each other,
- to provide the basis for the mapping of Greek titles/qualifications to the European Qualification Framework levels (EQF),
- to provide the basis for the comparison of all qualifications awarded in Greece by other national and/or international bodies.
Moreover, the NQF, taking into account the specificities and characteristics of the Greek education system, contributes to the objective evaluation of Greek titles/qualifications, making them comparable with those of other European countries, in order to enhance and promote the geographical mobility of trainees, students and workers between Greece and other EU countries. Through the NQF, individuals' qualifications, i.e., the knowledge, skills and competences acquired through formal education and training, non-formal education and informal learning are identified and correlated. Then, they are classified into levels, according to the learning outcomes.
Competent bodies for the formulation and implementation of the NQF
- The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs oversees the development and implementation of the NQF. It coordinates all stakeholders involved in it, i.e. representatives in national and EU collective bodies, education and training providers, social partners and chambers.
- The National Agency for the Accreditation of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP). EOPPEP is the National Coordination Point for the EQF and the National Reference Point for Quality Assurance. It is responsible for:
- The formation and development of the NQF and its reference το the EQF,
- The classification of qualifications acquired through formal education and training, non-formal education and informal learning into the levels of the NQF,
- The classification of international sectoral qualifications,
- The establishment of sectoral descriptors, in the form of knowledge, skills and competences, corresponding to the levels of the NQF.
Architectural structure and descriptive indicators
According to law 4763/2020, the NQF consists of 8 levels, which become the defining element of the structure and are the mechanism for referencing the NQF to the EQF. For each level of the NQF, descriptive indicators and qualification types are developed. The level descriptors express the learning outcomes required to obtain a title/qualification at a particular level.
Development and operation of the NQF
The dynamic nature of the procedures for the development and operation of the NQF is established as a consequence of applying a specific methodology based on learning outcomes. The NQF may be enriched by classifying new titles/qualifications and revised according to national and European needs and priorities.
National Register of Qualifications
The qualifications/titles listed in the NQF are included in a specific register managed by EOPPEP and linked to the corresponding Portal of Learning Opportunities and Qualifications in Europe. The National Register of Qualifications includes information on each qualification, in accordance with the relevant specifications and guidelines of the European Commission, providing valid and direct information to all stakeholders at national and European level. The minimum information to be included for each qualification is as follows:
- Level of the NQF,
- Awarding body,
- General description,
- Purpose and category,
- Educational sector,
- Learning outcomes, i.e., knowledge, skills and competences,
- Relationship to employment.
Referencing of NQF levels to EQF levels
EOPPEP is the National Coordinating Body for the EQF. It is also responsible for organising the process of continuous referencing of the NQF to its European counterpart. The aim of the process is to constantly demonstrate the referencing of the NQF levels and consequently the titles/qualifications of Greece to the corresponding EQF levels, in a transparent and reliable manner.
In order to modify or complement the referencing of NQF titles/qualifications to EQF levels, a report is prepared which is submitted to and approved by the competent body of the European Commission (EQF Advisory Group). Following its adoption, the table of types of qualifications managed by EOPPEP is modified or supplemented accordingly. The report describes the referencing process followed and provides evidence that the required conditions have been met.
Current NQF - Recommendation of the European Commission and of the Council of 23 April 2008 (2008/C111/01)
The information and tables below relate to the NQF developed under the previous Recommendation and is still in force until reviewed and updated under the new law. Greece developed a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) for lifelong learning, the Hellenic Qualifications Framework (HQF), responding to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 (2008/C111/01) on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning. According to the aforementioned Recommendation, it was proposed that Member States designate national coordination points in order to support:
- The interlinking of all the competent national authorities and bodies for national qualifications systems and
- The referencing of these national qualifications systems to the European Qualifications Framework, in line with quality and transparency.
HQF’s development started in 2010 and was implemented in line with the provisions of law 3879/2010 and law 4115/2013, as amended and in force. During the planning of the HQF, the current needs of the country as well as the relevant European and international developments were taken into consideration. Working groups were formed under the supervision of the ministry of education to draft the “Qualification Types” of the formal educational system and the initial vocational training system, and to suggest their allocation to the eight levels of the HQF. The Ministry of Education is the competent authority, responsible for coordinating and monitoring the HQF. The National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) was set up in 2011 to:
- Develop and put the HQF into practice
- Link the HQF to EQF
- Put the HQF and the procedures for validation of learning outcomes into practice and
- Assure quality in lifelong learning.
An advisory committee, comprising representatives from public administration, the education and academic community, social partners and external consultants, was established to support EOPPEP. EOPPEP operates as the national coordination point (NCP) for EQF and is the awarding body of the vocational training diploma, level 5 of HQF. The referencing of HQF to EQF was completed with a presentation made by the Greek delegation during the 33rd Meeting of the European Qualifications Framework Advisory Group in Berlin on 2 December 2015.
Goals and purposes
HQF’s work is directly linked to the country's efforts to develop a framework for improving lifelong learning policies and practices, which will allow recognition and certification of all kinds of education, training and learning, in general. The objective of HQF is to create a coherent and comprehensive system of classification of all qualifications obtained from formal, non-formal education and informal learning in Greece in order to:
- Improve transpareny of quality procedures for qualifications and qualification titles
- Increase horizontal mobility (within and outside the country), as well as vertical mobility (showing pathways that a person can follow to move from one level to another)
- Support lifelong learning.
HQF and its referencing to the European Qualifications Framework is in accordance with the common European strategy “Europe 2020”, which aims at smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
HQF is aimed at everyone who can make use of its benefits; people in training, people in or out of employment, employers, education and training providers, awarding bodies, career counselors, professional sectors, social partners and every citizen holding a title of study. People in training and in employment, who wish to change field of study, job or country of employment, have a tool for “translating” and comparing their qualifications. Employers, on the other hand, have a tool for identifying the knowledge, skills and competences hidden behind qualifications (degrees, diplomas, certificates, certificates of competency).
Structure of HQF
The eight-level structure reflects the existing formal education and initial vocational training system in Greece. Levels are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competencies. Work on level descriptors for HQF and on a qualifications framework for higher education has taken place separately, but the final objective is to have a comprehensive framework, covering all levels and types of qualification. Its structure is defined by the following features:
- Levels: Eight levels cover the entire range of qualifications, from compulsory education to higher education. Each level is defined by a set of knowledge, skills and competencies which determine the learning outcomes. The learning outcomes constitute the qualifications for this particular level
- Learning outcomes: The qualifications have the form of learning outcomes and are classified into levels. Learning outcomes signify what a person knows, understands and is able to do upon completion of a learning process. They are classified into knowledge, skills and competencies
- Descriptors: the learning outcomes which correspond to the qualifications of a specific level are defined by descriptors. These descriptors are defined by qualitative and quantitative grading of knowledge, skills and competences
- Qualification Types: Qualifications are classified into qualification types. They represent groups of titles with common characteristics which are classified in the same level.
The National Qualifications Framework referenced to the European Qualifications Framework
Source: EOPPEP www.eoppep.gr , https://nqf.gov.gr/en/index.php
The word ‘degree’ is a direct translation from the Greek terminology as it appears in the legislation (ptychio). In Greek, the word ptychio is used for titles of study from different education levels (higher, secondary, etc.). It is not to be confused with its usage in the English language, where degree refers to a higher education title of study, i.e. bachelor degree.
National Qualifications Register
The National Qualifications Register was established in 2015 and it was linked to the European Portal "Learning Opportunities and Qualifications in Europe". The National Qualifications Register lists all the titles of study, the qualifications that have been analysed, classified in HQF and referenced to EQF. They can be found in English and Greek at the following link: http://proson.eoppep.gr/el. To this day, the National Register of Qualifications includes 995 qualification entries:
|Hellenic Qualifications Framework (EPP) Level||CERTIFICATE & OTHER QUALIFICATIONS||ENTRY NO.|
|1||Primary school certificate||1|
|2||Lower secondary school certificate||1|
|3||Level 1 Vocational training institute (IEK) certificate (no longer awarded)||-|
|3||Level 3 Vocational training school (SEK) specialty certificate||-|
|4||General upper secondary school (GEL) certificate||1|
|4||Vocational upper secondary school (EPAL) certificate||1|
|4||Vocational upper secondary school (EPAL) ‘degree’||19|
|4||Vocational school (EPAS) certificate||34|
|5||Vocational training diploma (IEK)||159|
|5||Vocational post-secondary school ‘degree’ (EPAL apprenticeship class)||-|
|5||Post-secondary and not higher education diploma or ‘degree’||4|
|5||Vocational training diploma (post-secondary, IEK, no longer awarded)||-|
HQF and the qualifications framework for the european higher education area (EHEA)
EOPPEP cooperates with the Hellenic Agency for Higher Education (HAHE) on quality issues in higher education and represents Greece in the European network for Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET). HAHE is responsible for elaborating the Qualifications Framework for Higher Education, based on HQF qualification types and level descriptors, developed by EOPPEP. Consequently, there is coordination of the respective activities of the two national points regarding the quality subjects that arise from the implementation of HQF. The work programme of the national coordination point (NCP) 2018-20 includes an integrated communication strategy developed among EOPPEP and quality assurance agencies such as HAHE. The HQF/EQF referencing relates to all formal qualifications in Greece, including the three types of qualifications awarded in the higher education institutions (HQF levels 6, 7 and 8). Evaluation of HEIs has been completed.
In Greece, accreditation is conducted based on common criteria and quality assurance processes, according to our national legislation and our country’s commitments as a full member of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The quantitative and qualitative criteria and indicators are specific, predetermined, internationally accepted, published in advance and in line with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG 2015).
From 2018 to the end of 2022, following a public call for certification proposals to the country's institutions, HAHE completed 31 Internal Quality Assurance Systems (IQAS) accreditation reports and 272 accreditation reports for undergraduate study programmes of HEIs.
In 2021, HAHE drafted another quality standard based on the ESG 2015 to certify postgraduate programmes (MSc).