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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

UK qualifications in Europe 

Self-certification of the FHEQ with the framework of the European Higher Education Area 

QAA has verified that The framework for higher education qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) is compatible with the qualifications framework set up through the Bologna Process - the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (FQ-EHEA). The group charged with conducting the verification process was set up by QAA, and made up of representatives from across the higher education sector. The group included international experts, including a representative from the Council of Europe, and the final report was written by an independent rapporteur.

The FQ-EHEA provides a mechanism for relating the qualifications frameworks of different European countries to each other, so helping with the recognition of qualifications from different countries and promoting mobility of learners and graduates across Europe.

The criteria and procedures for verification require each country to demonstrate the robustness of their quality assurance systems as well as the links between their national framework and that of the European Higher Education Area. The process is one of self-certification by each country.

All countries in the European Union were required to complete the process by 2010, and all countries in the UK did so.

The framework for qualifications of higher education institutions in Scotland (FQHEIS; see also Chapter A1: The national level of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education) exists within the context of a credit-based system: the wider Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). The SCQF embraces all the main qualifications in Scotland, from the access stages (school) through to postgraduate study, and from work-based to academic learning.

Work has been done to verify that the Scottish frameworks are comparable with an overarching European framework, through the Bologna Process.

The Bologna Process is a voluntary agreement, signed by the higher education ministers of 47 European countries, which created the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). It is a means of promoting mutual recognition of qualifications, demonstrating transparency and easing mobility of staff and students.


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