Integration of new qualifications and competencies in Africa

African countries are embracing national qualifications frameworks (NQFs) to integrate new competencies in TVET and to strengthen recognition of formal, non-formal and informal learning.

Many African countries have implemented or are in the process of implementing NQFs to shift from ‘knowledge-based’ to ‘competency-based’ curricula and to integrate new qualifications and competencies into their training. Of 41 African countries examined by the African Continental Qualifications Framework mapping study in 2021, 22 had already approved NQFs, 8 were in the process of developing NQFs, and 8 were planning to develop an NQF. Only 3 countries had no NQF. (ACQF 2021)

Qualification frameworks promote the transparency and recognition of new and existing qualifications and competencies by classifying them according to set criteria and levels. They also facilitate recognition of prior learning (RPL) processes to validate skills acquired informally or non-formally through competency-based assessments. RPL is a key policy priority in Africa to create pathways to further education and decent employment for the large proportion of young people and adults who have gained skills outside the formal education system. (ILO 2019)

Comprehensive qualification frameworks, which integrate all academic and vocational qualifications in a single framework, have been found to provide learners with strong pathways to further education via both the academic and vocational tracks. (ILO 2019)

According to TVET experts consulted in 2021, comprehensive qualification frameworks can also raise the standing of TVET qualifications. (BILT scoping study of current TVET trends in Africa carried out in 2021)

“Recognition of prior learning outcomes is at the top of the policy agenda in many countries in Africa”

(ILO 2019)

Training to integrate RPL tools that assess competencies, based on evidence and the portfolio of candidates, is required. Such recognition should include an assessment of students’ lifelong learning skills and self-efficacy, both pre-requisites in the 21st century marketplace.



The BILT project is implemented by

International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

with support of

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

and sponsored by

Federal Ministry of Education and Reserve

UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre

for Technical and Vocational Education and Training

UN Campus, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1

53113 Bonn, Germany


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