The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is a new credit transfer system which has replaced the National Qualification Framework (NQF). It recognises qualifications and units by awarding credits. And since each unit has a credit value and the credits can be transferred, the system gives the learners the ability to get qualifications at their own pace. The QCF is jointly regulated by the England’s regulator Ofqual, Wales’ DCELLS and Northern Ireland’s CCEA.
The QCF system is based on units which have credit value and levels (from Entry Level to Level 8). One credit roughly equals 10 learning hours which allows the learners to evaluate how much time they will need to gain the desired qualification. According to the QCF system, the learners can gain three types of qualifications:
To gain an award, it is necessary to have 1 to 12 credit points which equals 10 to 120 hours of learning. Learners who have 13 to 26 credits (130 to 260 hours) are awarded certificates, while those who have 37 credits or more are awarded diplomas. The QCF system gives awards at any difficulty level from 1 to 8 which is due to the fact that it reveals the size of qualification and not its difficulty level. The latter is indicated by the title of qualification which, however, also reveals the size of the qualification and its subject.
In addition to developing units, developing and accrediting qualifications, and awarding credits and qualifications, the regulators of the QCF are also responsible for maintaining a unit databank and monitoring the organisations that operate within the QCF in order to ensure that all awarded qualifications meet the regulatory requirements. These are specified in the Regulatory arrangements for the Qualifications and Credit Framework that has been developed jointly by the regulators in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Just like the QCF, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) also covers schools, colleges, and vocational training. The SCQF too is based on awarding credit points which reveal the size of qualification and the system of levels which indicates qualification’s difficulty but in contrary to the QCF, the SCQF has 12 rather than 8 levels. Just like in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, one credit point in Scotland roughly represents 10 hours of learning. The SCQF is jointly managed by the Scottish Qualification Authority, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Universities of Scotland, Association of Scotland’s Colleges and Scotland’s Government.
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