TVET Reform and Qualifications Frameworks: What Is Known About What They Can and Can’t Do?

  • Stephanie AllaisEmail author
Reference work entry


Raising skills levels, reforming education and training systems, and improving qualifications systems are among the policy priorities of most countries around the world. A particular concern for many countries is improving the relationships between education and training systems on the one hand and labor markets on the other. Increasingly, qualifications frameworks have been seen as a useful policy tool to achieve these and other goals. Since the mid-1990s, when the first national qualifications frameworks were established in Australia, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and South Africa, interest in implementing qualifications frameworks in other countries has been growing rapidly. In most cases, they have been strongly focused on the reform of technical and vocational education and training. This chapter reflects on 15 years of research into this policy, including two large international studies. It finds that despite limited evidence of success, there is still fairly strong continued support for the frameworks. In some instances, outcomes-based qualifications frameworks have been found to distort education and training programs and lead to practical complexities. This is partly because governments have sometimes assumed that a qualifications framework can be a generator of learning and skills, instead of a mechanism for framing existing provision. The chapter argues that the continued popularity of qualifications frameworks as a reform mechanism seems to be symptomatic of the ways in which transitions from education to work are in flux in many countries, coupled with fragmented and complex systems of vocational provision in some countries. Even where such systems are not overly complex, they have possibly weakening relationships with work.


NQF NVQ National qualifications frameworks National vocational qualifications Education and work Technical and vocational education and training reform 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Researching Education and Labour, School of EducationUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Section editors and affiliations

  • Robert Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamStamfordUK

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