Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework – What’s Being Proposed? 

A review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) has been completed and the final report released last month. The AQF sets the overall framework for the design and quality assurance of education and training in Australia and specifies the standards for educational qualifications.

Chaired by tertiary education policy professor at Victoria University, Peter Noonan, The Expert Panel has proposed a comprehensive set of reforms and an implementation plan that it believes would enable the AQF to be flexible and responsive, and to support and reflect ongoing change and innovation in qualification development and delivery.

What is proposed?

Revised AQF architecture

The proposed changes are designed to simplify and make the AQF structure less complex, with a primary focus on the qualification types in the AQF. It has been proposed to have a single, clearer taxonomy comprising eight bands of knowledge and six band of skills more flexibly applied. Application is not rigidly locked to other levels or bands.

Broader range of credentials to be included

The proposed changes facilitate the recognition of shorter form credentials including micro-credentials for credit. Short courses play a critical role in opening up educational pathways and delivering education and training linked to specific skillsets. In the future, they will be instrumental in building stackable qualifications better matched to an individual’s employment and developmental needs.

Credit recognition and pathways

Changes have been proposed to recognise previous learning and qualifications and support lifelong learning. This includes developing and testing a prototype AQF credit point system for voluntary use by providers. It has also been proposed to revise and rename the AQF qualifications pathway to better recognise and encourage broader credit recognition.

Change in the definition of volume of learning

Volume of learning is to be expressed in terms of hours, not years, and to be applied as a benchmark for compliance and quality assurance.

Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

It is proposed to not align the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education to a band. It is also proposed to revise the descriptor for the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education to emphasise its role in preparing students embarking on vocational education and training and/or higher education.

Implementation of reforms and ongoing governance

It has been proposed to establish a governance body made up of representatives from VET, higher education, government, schools, industry and professional bodies, and accountable to the relevant COAG (Council of Australian Government) councils. They are responsible for giving effect to the decisions of the review of the AQF, and to provide advice on revisions to the AQF in the future.

Read the full report here.

At a glance, see the difference between the current and the future state of the AQF if the Panel’s recommendations are adopted.

Figure of current and proposed AQF