Since 2001, mainstream Scottish qualifications have been brought into a single unifying framework known as the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). In this framework, qualifications are described in terms of their level and their credit value as defined by a number of SCQF points. These qualifications provide the foundations of a learning and credit transfer framework that is being implemented and embedded throughout Scotland's education and training provision.
The SCQF was established by a partnership of national bodies - The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) through its Scottish office, The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and Universities Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government. These bodies are known as the Development Partners.
Within this overall context the general aims of the SCQF are to:
The SCQF provides a national vocabulary for describing learning opportunities and thereby makes the relationships between qualifications clearer. It will clarify entry and exit points, routes for progression within and across education and training sectors and increase the opportunities for credit transfer. In these ways it will assist learners to plan their progress and minimise duplication of learning.
This is exemplified through the alignment of qualifications at higher education levels in the UK. At the postgraduate levels, qualifications are common with those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Honours Degree levels are considered to be in broad alignment. Below Honours Degree the qualifications reflect the different educational structures and contexts. There are some points of comparability - for example, HNDs north and south of the border, and Advanced Highers and A-levels are considered comparable. SVQs and NVQs at all levels are also comparable. Further discussions are taking place to inform developments in Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe.
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