National Skills Qualification Framework
Government of India
What is NSQF?
National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF), is a quality assurance framework which organizes qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude. These levels are defined in terms of learning outcomes which the learner must possess regardless of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.
The NSQF would also help shift emphasis to outcome based learning - both in the general and vocational space. Today, there is lack of uniformity in the outcomes associated with different qualifications across institutions, each with its own duration, curriculum, entry requirements as well as title. This often leads to problems in establishing equivalence of certificates/diplomas/degrees in different parts of the World, which in turn impacts the employability and mobility of students. By shifting the focus from inputs to learning outcomes, the NSQF would aim to tackle this challenge.
NSQF will also facilitate Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) that is largely lacking in the present education and training scenario. Additionally, it would help alignment of Indian qualifications to international qualifications.
The credit accumulation and transfer system that will be integrated in the NSQF will allow people to move between education, vocational training and work at different stages in their lives according to their needs and convenience.
The framework would be anchored and operationalized by the National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), an autonomous body attached to the Ministry of Finance, mandated to coordinate and harmonize skill development efforts of the Government of India and the private sector.
The NSQF is a nationally integrated education and competency based skill framework that will provide for multiple pathways, horizontal as well as vertical, both within vocational education and vocational training and among vocational education, vocational training, general education and technical education, thus linking one level of learning to another higher level. There are 10 levels in the framework, with the entry level being 1, and the highest level being 10 equvalent to International Doctorate. This will enable a person to acquire desired competency levels, transit to the job market and, at an opportune time, return for acquiring additional skills to further upgrade competencies, as well as, find opportunities to work not only in India but also abroad.
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Why is NSQF Important?
NSQF is not a new concept, similar quality assurance and outcomes based certification frameworks are already in existence in over 140 countries. In India, NSQF is going to change educational landscape and will become one of the most important certification to have due to following points covered in the Government of India's NSQF notification dated 27th December 2013:
International Parity & Work Mobility- NSQF Certficates will be aligned with other Qualifcation Frameworks being used Internationally. It will also enhances chances of working abroad for NSQF certificate holders
LMIS Registration - All NSQF Certificate holders shall be registered in the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) registry of Government of India based on their skill levels and linked to your Unique Identification number such as Aadhar. This will also help employers verify the credentials of your NSQF certficates online.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) - NSQF Certficates can be obtained on the basis of appearning for and passing a 3rd pary asessement for various levels based on your prior work experience or knowledge that you gain while working in your career. In principal, one can obtain a Level 10 certificate equivalent to International Doctroate based on their work experience.
Lateral Entry in University Porgrams - The Government has asked all Government funded Universities to implement lateral entry guidelines for their degree programs within 3 years from the date of the notification. All Univerisities have to implement NSQF lateral entry guidelines within 5 years.
Government & Private Jobs - The Government of India is amending the Recruitment Laws to allow entry in to all Government departments & Public Sector Units on the basis of NSQF levels and is also asking private contractors to recurit NSQF certficate holders.
* The above chart is a descriptive example only, actual eligibiity may vary from course to course