Qualifications Frameworks

The Finnish National Agency for Education (Opetushallitus / Utbildningsstyrelsen) is the National Co-ordination Point for the European Qualifications Framework. The National Coordination Point gives information on questions concerning the national qualifications framework and the European Qualifications Framework.

European Qualifications Framework

The European Parliament and the Council adopted the Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) in 2008. The Council has updated the Recommendation in May 2017.

The purpose of the framework is to facilitate the comparison of qualifications and qualification levels of different countries. The framework aims to further citizens’ mobility and lifelong learning.

In the EQF, qualifications and competences are allocated on eight reference levels. The framework covers all general education, vocational and higher education qualifications. Each level is provided with a description of the knowledge, understanding and practical capability of a person who has achieved that level. Learning outcomes are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competences.

The European Qualifications Framework provides a tool for defining the interrelations of national qualifications and qualifications systems. Each country references its national qualifications to the eight levels of the European Qualifications Framework, by using national qualifications frameworks or levels of national qualifications systems as guides.

National Framework for Qualifications and Other Competence Modules in Finland

Provisions on the National Framework for Qualifications and Other Competence Modules are laid down in Act (93/2017) and Government Decree (120/2017) on the National Framework for Qualifications and Other Competence Modules as of 1 March 2017. The framework covers the entire education system and will improve the clarity and effectiveness of the Finnish qualifications system, increase the national and international transparency and comparability of qualifications, and promote national and international mobility.

In this framework, the qualifications, syllabi and other extensive competence modules of the Finnish national education system are classified into eight levels on the basis of the requirements. Statutory regulations on the level descriptors and the positioning of qualifications, syllabi and extensive competence modules on the various levels of the framework on the basis of required learning outcomes, are enacted by the Government Decree.

The framework facilitates overall scrutiny of the Finnish qualifications system. It describes the learning outcomes required by qualifications, syllabi and other extensive competence modules as knowledge, skills and competences, and by defining their interrelations. The competence-based description of qualifications is designed to support lifelong learning, improve employment prospects, increase mobility, and bridge the gap between education and the world of work.

The Framework for Qualifications and Other Competence Modules is based on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The abbreviation FiNQF is also used to refer to the National Qualifications Framework.

In the Government Decree, Finnish qualifications, syllabi and other extensive competence modules are placed at the following levels of competence of the National Qualifications Framework (FiNQF):

  • Basic education syllabus at level 2
  • The Matriculation Examination and the general upper secondary school syllabus at level 4
  • Upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications, Basic Examination in Prison Services, Fire Fighter Qualification, and Emergency Response Centre Operator Qualification at level 4
  • Specialist vocational qualifications, the Sub-Officer Qualification (Fire and Rescue Services) and the Vocational Qualification in Air Traffic Control at level 5
  • Bachelor’s degrees (universities of applied sciences) and Bachelor’s degrees (universities)at level 6
  • Master’s degrees (universities of applied sciences) and Master’s degrees (universities) at level 7
  • Universities’ and National Defence University scientific and artistic postgraduate degrees (licentiate and doctor degrees), the General Staff Officer’s Degree, the Specialist Degree in Veterinary Medicine, and Specialist training in medicine and Specialist training in dentistry at level 8