The work on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) began in 2008 within a project ‘An inventory of competences and qualifications for the Polish labour market and the development of the National Qualifications Framework model’, supported by the European Social Fund (ESF). As a result, experts developed a model of the NQF and preliminary guidelines for its implementation (published on a special website in January 2010).
As a follow-up, between July 2010 and June 2015, the Educational Research Institute in Warsaw carried out a project “The development of terms of reference for the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework and the National Qualifications Register for lifelong learning”, supported by the ESF. The project designed the Polish Qualification Framework (PQF) (Polska Rama Kwalifikacji) and produced a so-called reference report, referencing the levels of the PQF to the levels of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The reference report was approved by the Polish and EU authorities in the middle of 2013. The work on the Integrated Qualifications Register (Zintegrowany Rejestr Kwalifikacji) led to the development of system-level arrangements for the quality assurance of qualifications, validation, and to cooperation with selected sectors with a view to establishing sectoral qualifications frameworks and testing selected elements of the integrated national qualifications system on a pilot basis. Also, a campaign was conducted to raise awareness of the measures taken to integrate the national qualifications system. In March 2015, the Government endorsed the main principles for the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System (Ustawa o Zintegrowanym Systemie Kwalifikacji) which was passed on 22 December 2015. The Act provides for the integration of the Polish qualifications system by establishing two instruments: (a) the 8-level PQF and (b) the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR).
Most of the provisions of the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System came into force on 15 April 2016. With regard to the education system, its key provisions (Article 8) assign the PQF levels to individual qualifications awarded within the education system, including school education. This enables the awarding institutions to provide information on the relevant levels of the PQF on school certificates and diplomas, and on other documents conferring qualifications. For further details, see the Integrated Qualifications System website.
The work on the PQF is part of wider-scale activities related to the planning and implementation of the Lifelong Learning (LLL) policy. In order to ensure better coordination, an Intersectoral Task Force for Lifelong Learning, including the NQF, was established in February 2010 by the relevant Regulation of the Prime Minister. a Steering Committee for the NQF, chaired by the Minister of Science and Higher Education, was established as part of the Task Force. Its members include representatives of the Minister of National Education, the Minister of Economy, the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy, the Minister of Development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Minister of Health, the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Interior and Administration and the Minister of Infrastructure. The tasks of the Committee include initiating changes necessary to implement the PQF and monitoring their effectiveness.