The Turkish Qualifications Framework (TQF) has been prepared by the joint work of the Vocational Qualifications Authority (VQA), the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and the Council of Higher Education (CoHE) in cooperation with the ministries, public authorities, professional bodies, trade unions, employer associations, student council and relevant social stakeholders. The TQF has been officially adopted with the publication of the Regulation on the Procedures and Principles for the Implementation of the Turkish Qualifications Framework in the Official Journal No. 29537 on 19 November 2015. Since the Regulation has been approved by a Cabinet Decision, it has a very strong legal status.
All information and publications regarding the TQF are accesible at www.tyc.gov.tr
Purpose and Scope of the TQF
The design brief for the TQF, as set out in the relevant legislation, was to provide for a single integrated structure to support LLL, in which all quality assured qualifications would be described and classified. The TQF is therefore primarily a reference framework for existing qualifications. However, the framework is also expected to provide for a range of further applications:
- Developing new qualifications,
- Recognizing prior learning,
- Identifying opportunities for lateral and vertical transfer between qualifications, and
- Ensuring the international comparability of qualifications.
In fulfilment of this brief, the TQF has been designed as a single integrated structure for the classification of qualifications in Turkey, to accommodate all quality assured qualifications achieved through all education and training programme including primary, secondary and higher education, as well as those achieved through experience-based learning and through individual learning that takes place at the work place or other non-formal and informal learning environments. The TQF also allows for the development of qualifications that will enable the appropriate recognition of learning outcomes to be achieved by individuals with special needs.
Main purposes of the TQF are;
- to provide a clear and consistent means of describing, classifying and comparing qualifications
- to provide a single integrated framework including all quality assured qualifications,
- to continuously improve the qualifications system so that it can provide appropriate recognition of qualifications achieved in non-formal and informal learning contexts,
- to contribute to the training of individuals who are employable and equipped with defined and measurable qualifications,
- to strengthen institutional cooperation among all parties, which primarily includes awarding bodies, the industry and social partners,
- to provide a benchmark for the recognition of foreign qualifications in Turkey and for the recognition of qualifications awarded in Turkey abroad, and to serve as an instrument of comparison.
The TQF will initially include qualifications awarded by Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and Vocational Qualifications Authority (VQA) as well as higher education qualifications awarded under the coordination and supervision of CoHE. In time, it will include other formal qualifications awarded by various responsible bodies such as ministries, public authorities or professional bodies, together with vocational and professional qualifications, some of which are already available and others that will be required in the Turkish labour market will be gradually included in the TQF.
Architecture of the TQF
The TQF structure comprises levels and qualification types. The eight-level structure is the basis of the TQF and the level descriptors define the minimum common learning outcomes of each level. The level descriptors are also the mechanism for identifying the relevant level of the qualification types and for referencing the TQF to other frameworks.
The qualification types are the main instrument through which many qualifications will be allocated to the TQF levels and they will enable the categorisation of different qualifications at the same level. The learning outcomes of qualifications types will be developed by elaborating and enriching the relevant level descriptors.
The interaction of the levels and qualification types provides a flexible structure for describing all kinds of qualifications and for supporting the development of qualifications suitable for all kinds of learning.
Governance and Implementation of the TQF
The matrix of policies and procedures that will shape the governance and implementation of the TQF is explained in detail in the TQF Paper. The key legislative instrument in this regard is the ‘Regulation on the Procedures and Principles Regarding Implementation of the Turkish Qualifications Framework’. The TQF Regulation has been drafted to regulate the procedures and principles governing the preparation, development, implementation, management and updating of the TQF.
The TQF Regulation covers principles and procedures for inclusion of qualifications acquired through all education and training programmes including higher education and through other means of learning into the TQF, ensuring their quality assurance, identifying institutions and organisations in charge of quality assurance, establishment and operation of advisory, decision-making and executive units for the development and maintenance of the TQF, as well as identifying roles, authorities and responsibilities for activities covered by the Regulation.
The tasks involved in preparing, developing and updating the TQF are exercised by VQA. However, it will be the joint work of responsible bodies to implement the TQF; MoNE, CoHE and VQA are the main ‘responsible bodies’ that award qualifications or supervise the award of qualifications throughout the education system. The Regulation sets out a detailed structure through which these bodies are to collaborate to fulfil their responsibility in relation to the TQF, including the establishment of the TQF Coordination Council as the key decision-making body, the TQF Council as the technical working body, and a standing TQF Consultation Committee to provide a platform for on-going broad consultation with stakeholders.
Following the acceptance of the TQF, the TQF Department was established in VQA and the TQF Boards became operational. With the preparation of the procedures and principles regarding quality assurance, credit systems, inclusion of qualifications in the framework, determination of opportunities for advancement between qualifications, verification of non-formal and free learning and placement of qualifications in the TQF, which are included in the TQF Regulation, the TQF preparation phase has been completed to a large extent and has entered the implementation phase.
The TQF Department of VQA is mainly responsible for conducting studies regarding the development, implementation and revision of the TQF and to ensure coordination between the responsible bodies and the TQF Councils. It became operational in January 2016. TQF Board, which consists of twenty-two members, conducts technical studies related to TQF and organizes them in TQF Coordination. It was established in January 2016 to present it to the Board. TQF Board; It meets regularly (at least every two months) to discuss, evaluate and finalize issues such as the TQF action plan, quality assurance criteria and principles, qualifications database, and TQF-EQF referencing.
4. Higher Education Quality Board
5. Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB)
6. Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK)
7. Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK)
8. Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ)
9. Confederation of Rights Trade Unions (HAK-İŞ)
10. Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK)
11. Confederation of Civil Servants Unions (MEMUR-SEN)
12. Confederation of Public Employees Unions of Turkey (KAMU-SEN)
13. Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK)
14. National Student Council of Higher Education Institutions
The TQF Council consisting of twenty-two members was established in January 2016 in order to carry out the technical studies related to the TQF and submit them to the TQF Coordination Council. The institutions represented on the TQF Council are MoNE, CoHE, VQA, Student Council, Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK), three confederations of employees’ unions, three confederations of public employees’ unions and Confederation of Employers’ Unions (TISK). The TQF Council meets regularly (at least every two months) in order to discuss, evaluate and conclude issues such as TQF action plan, quality assurance criteria and principles, qualifications database as well as the EQF referencing.
Since the first meeting on 1 March 2016, the TQF Council had twenty five meetings. The TQF Council carries out its activities within the framework of the 3-year TQF Action Plan prepared in 2016. Strategies, action plans, procedures and principles foreseen in the TQF Regulation have been prepared. In 2017, TQF has been referenced to the EQF. Qualification Database of Turkey has also been developed as an online platform and informational activities have been organized. EU Projects and EQF NCP tasks were carried out. Within the scope of the project activities carried out, the TQF Strategy Document was prepared with the consensus of the main stakeholders of the TQF. The TQF Strategy Document is a document that outlines the actions to be taken by the TQF Department, the TQF Board and the responsible institutions for the Implementation Phase of the TQF, and most importantly, provides contextual analyzes of the actions. The English version of the document is available at this address.
In 2018, the Regulation on Quality Assurance has come into force, the TQF Communication Strategy and Quality Assurance Handbook have been prepared, qualification type descriptors have been drafted, the Qualifications Database of Turkey has been enriched, the TQF website has been improved, conferences have been held and awareness-raising activities have been carried out.
In 2019, The procedures and principles for the implementation of the TQF were established, in particular the Procedures and Principles to be Applied in the Process of Inclusion of Qualifications in the TQF, TQF Board Duties and Working Procedures and Principles; Supporting documents for TQF such as Validation of Non-Formal and Free Learning Guidelines, Learning Outcomes Guide, Crediting Guide and EQF Booklet were prepared; Studies on the promotion of TQF at national and international level were carried out. The TQF website (www.tyc.gov.tr), which contains all information and documents regarding TQF, has been put into use.
In 2020; Studies for the implementation of the TQF Quality Assurance Regulation were carried out, the Quality Assurance Documents prepared by the responsible institutions have been evaluated, qualification type specifiers have been completed, the list of qualification types has been updated, the placement of qualifications in the TQF has begun, the Turkish Qualifications Database has been enriched and the legislation on TQF Studies were carried out to prepare the regulations.
In accordance with the TQF Quality Assurance Regulation dated 25 March 2018, responsible institutions are required to submit their Quality Assurance Documents regarding the quality assurance systems to the TQF Council. In accordance with this provision, VQA Quality Assurance Certificate and Mandatory Guidelines were presented at the 21st Meeting of the TQF Council dated 4 July 2019. Other responsible institutions, MEB and YÖK, presented their Quality Assurance Certificates at the 254th Meeting of the TQF Council dated February 25, 2020. Efforts to improve the Quality Assurance Certificates in light of the recommendations of the TQF Council continue as of May 2020. The quality assurance documents prepared by the other responsible institutions, MoNE and YÖK, were submitted to the TQF Board in 2020 and were finalized in the light of the Board's opinions and recommendations. Quality Assurance Documents were approved at the 29th meeting of the TQF Board dated 24 December 2020.
Studies on preparing qualification type determinants, which include the elements determined to define the common features specific to the qualifications in each qualification type, were carried out with the support of local experts in partnership with the main responsible institutions, MoNE, YÖK, VQA. As a result of the studies, the Qualification Type Designators under the responsibility of VQA were accepted at the 17th Meeting of the TQF Board on 13 September 2018, and the Qualification Type Designators under the responsibility of MoNE and YÖK were accepted at the 28th Meeting of the TQF Board on 19 November 2020. The qualification type specifiers to be used as reference documents for the placement of qualifications in the TQF can be accessed via the TQF website. Types of qualifications, which are defined by qualification type specifiers, which represent qualification groups in which qualifications at the same level of TQF and which are similar in terms of their functions, learning outcomes, credit values or general, professional and academic orientations, and accordingly the TQF Diagram, were approved in 2020 with the approval of the TQF Board. has been updated. The current list can be accessed at the following address.
The ultimate goal of the activities carried out within the scope of TQF is to place the qualifications with quality assurance into the TQF. As a result of the work carried out, the first big step towards this goal was taken in 2020. With the decision taken at the 28th Meeting of the TQF Board held on 19 November 2020, in line with the Procedures and Principles to be Applied in the Process of Inclusion of Qualifications in the Turkish Qualifications Framework; The Steel Welder Vocational Qualification Certificate requested by VQA to be placed in the TQF was the first qualification placed in the TQF. As of July 2021, a total of 51 qualifications have been placed in TQF. The list of qualifications placed in TQF can be accessed at the following address.
The first meeting of the TQF Consultation Council, which is the wide participation consultation platform of the TQF, was held in Ankara on 19 December 2019 with the participation of more than 100 representatives from ministries, public institutions, professional organizations, trade unions and non-governmental organizations. At the meeting, the scope and basic components, activities carried out between the years 2016-2019 and extensive briefings on quality assurance criteria and requirements, Turkey Competencies Database, thematic presentations for TYC-EQF Referencing studies and TYC Communication Strategy and promotional activities were carried out. At the meeting, the opinions and evaluations of the members about the activities carried out between 2016-2019 were also received.
The Turkish Qualifications Database continued to be enriched by adding new qualifications. As of July 2021, there are a total of 30,430 qualifications in the database, of which 527 are under the responsibility of VQA, 930 from MEB, 28.973 from YÖK and 51 of which are under the responsibility of other institutions.
Upon the efficient implementation of the TQF, quality assurance structures and practices which are comparable, transparent, and compatible with international approaches will be given a systematic structure at national level for the first time and an integrated quality assurance approach will be adopted through the monitoring and harmonization tasks of the TQF Councils.
In accordance with the EQF Recommendation and confirmation letter of MoNE No. 6334 and dated 19/08/2008, VQA was identified as the EQF NCP and has been representing Turkey in the EQF Advisory Group since December 2008.
VQA is responsible for the referencing of the TQF to the EQF, for the utilization of a transparent methodology throughout the referencing process, ensuring that the stakeholders access to the related information and guidance on how the qualifications are linked to the EQF, and ensuring the participation of related stakeholders in the process of comparison and utilization of qualifications at European level.
The Turkish Referencing Report, which proves the compatibility between the TQF and the EQF, was delivered to the European Commission. Referencing reports are negotiated by the EQF Advisory Group which is the authorized body of the European Commission, and the decisions on referencing are taken.
The Turkish Referencing Report has been presented to the EQF Advisory Group at the meeting on 29 March 2017 in Brussels and has been inclusively negotiated and evaluated as explicit, transparent and reliable by the EQF Advisory Group and, as a result of the negotiations, it has been decided that the TQF is referenced to the EQF.
In the EQF Recommendation, updated in 2017, it was considered an important requirement to reflect the systemic changes in the existing referencing reports and to update the reports regularly by the authorized institutions.
In the intervening three years, there have been important developments in our country's education, training and qualification system and the implementation of TQF. 2017 dated decision EQF therefore recommended requirements in Turkey should be addressed in the new report with a transparent approach to the development and updating Referencing Report. In this context, Turkey Referencing Report in Turkish and English was reconsidered and updated requirements are determined by matters heard of. In accordance with the decision taken at the 22nd Meeting of the TQF Council, a Referencing Report Update Team was formed with the participation of MEB and YÖK. Turkey updated in 2020 Referencing report is planned to be published in the European Learning Opportunities and Qualifications Portal.
It is aimed to publish the updated Turkey Referencing Report on the Europass Portal in 2021.