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Spain:National Qualifications Framework

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Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

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Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

On April 23rd 2008, the European Parliament and the Council enacted the Recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF), a common European reference framework which enables linking the qualifications of the Member States and calls upon the Member States to set their own national qualification frameworks.

In 2009, the Spanish Government entrusted the Ministry of Education with the drawing up of the Spanish Qualifications Framework. In 2011, the Sustainable Economy Act demanded the creation of this framework in order to encourage and increase the mobility of students and workers.

The Spanish Qualifications Framework is a national qualifications framework that includes lifelong learning. It organises qualifications according to levels and comprises from the most basic to the most complex learning.  

It includes:

  • qualifications obtained outside the education system through in-service training, work activity, collaboration with NGOs, etc.
  • qualifications obtained in the education system.

The proposed framework has eight levels and the level descriptors, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competences, are inspired by the level descriptors of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, but adapted to the national context.

The Spanish Qualifications Framework aims to correlate and coordinate the different subsystems of education and training and include the qualifications obtained in compulsory, post-secondary and higher education, as well as integrate the validation of non-formal and informal learning.

Main objectives of the Spanish Qualifications Framework

  • make qualifications more understandable by describing them in terms of learning outcomes
  • improve citizens’ information on national qualifications, as well as facilitate and promote mobility
  • support lifelong learning and correlate initial vocational training and vocational training for employment, as well as improve access and participation in this type of training, especially of people with some kind of disability
  • facilitate the identification, validation and recognition of all types of learning outcomes, including those related to non-formal and informal learning
  • facilitate transition and progression between the different training subsystems
  • develop procedures for the recognition of non-formal learning
  • reduce early school leaving.

Key actors

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, through the General Directorate for Vocational Training, coordinates the development and implementation of the Spanish Qualifications Framework in cooperation with the Ministries of Employment and Social Security, of Industry, Energy and Tourism, and of Economy and Competitiveness.

Other social actors are also involved in the development of the Spanish Qualifications Framework:

  • companies, through the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations or the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
  • institutional bodies, such as the Sectoral Committee for Education or the General Committee for University Policy
  • consultative bodies, such as the State Council for Education, the Council for Vocational Training and the University Council
  • evaluation agencies and other professional associations and corporations
  • Departments for Education of the Autonomous Communities.

Although the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport is in charge of the drafting and coordination of the actions and the necessary regulations for its implementation, as well as the body responsible for guiding its successful implementation through the National Coordination Point, its actual implementation is the responsibility of public authorities and the different social actors.

Structure of the Spanish Qualifications Framework: levels and learning outcomes

The eight levels of the framework cover all types of qualifications in Spain. Level descriptors are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competences.

The four upper levels are compatible with the levels of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education, based on the Dublin descriptors. For more information, see Higher education.

The establishment of learning outcomes constitutes an essential part of the development and implementation of the Spanish Qualifications Framework and the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education. The term ‘learning outcome’ represents a considerable change in the education and training system in Spain. The level of implementation of learning outcomes varies depending on the training subsystem, vocational training being the one where they are currently most developed.

Development and implementation of the Spanish Qualifications Framework

A Royal Decree that will establish the foundations for its implementation is currently under preparation.

In such project, the establishment of a committee including social actors, ministries, trade unions and the most representative employers’ associations, as well as experts in vocational qualifications of different sectors, is recommended. This committee would be in charge of deciding on the assignment of qualifications to the levels of the Spanish Qualifications Framework, which should be based on three criteria:

  • comparability between the descriptors of the qualifications, defined as learning outcomes, and the level descriptors of the Spanish Qualifications Framework
  • implementation of a common quality assurance system in higher education and vocational training
  • public consultation with the bodies and organisations involved in the design of qualifications in their respective sectors.

The intention is to assign formal education qualifications to the levels of the Spanish Qualifications Framework in the first place. The assignment of qualifications related to the validation of non-formal and informal learning is expected to be more complicated.

For more information, see the Spanish Qualifications Framework web portal.