Key Milestones in the Development of the NFQ

​​​​Quality Assured and Recognised

The NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) provides a way to compare qualifications, and to ensure that they are quality assured and recognised at home and abroad.

The concept of the NFQ was first proposed in legislation in 1999 and was officially launched as an active framework in 2003. 

Since then, there have been many national and international developments which have helped establish the NFQ in Ireland and its recognition in other countries developing their qualifications frameworks.

Since its launch, all of the qualifications made by the national awarding bodies in Ireland have been recognised within the NFQ.


​The NFQ was proposed by the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999.


​After an extensive period of public engagement and consultation, the NFQ was established as the single national entity through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other.

Policies and Criteria for the Establishment of the National Framework of Qualifications are published


The Grid of Level Indicators is Published


​Determinations for the Outline National Framework of Qualifications are published.


Descriptors for Minor, Special Purpose and Supplemental Award Types are published


​The NFQ was self-certified as compatible with the Qualifications Framework in the European Higher Education Area (QF EHEA), the first national Qualification Framework to complete this exercise. Verification of Compatibility of Irish National Framework of Qualifications with the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area


​The NFQ was referenced to the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning the first national Qualifications Framework to complete this exercise. For the report click here.


​An international panel was commissioned to carry out a study on the impact and implementation of the Irish NFQ. The review period for the study was October 2003 - September 2008.

The brief of the study team was to review all the inputs to the study and prepare a report which was to include conclusions and recommendations. The report is available here.


​The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 reaffirms the statutory basis of the NFQ.  

Quality and Qualifications Ireland is established and one of its statutory functions is ‘to promote, maintain, further develop and implement the Framework’.  

2014Descriptors for the class of professional award-types determined at levels 7-9 in 2011  and extended to Levels 5 and 6 in 2014.


​QQI publish Reflections and Trajectories - Qualifications Policy Insights as a companion paper to the  Policy Impact Assessment of the NFQ.


NFQ Policy Impact Assessment


​​The Grid of Level Indicators is Published


​​NFQ Key Milestones 2003-20​20​​