Study visit to Glasgow

From the 26 to the 29 of March, 2012, the NQF project team met with experts of the Glasgow Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership. During the meetings, a lot of information was acquired about developing the portal, as well as on the institution managing the Scottish Qualifications Framework (SQF).

The NQF project team participated in two meetings. The first was held in the office of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework with Aileen Ponton, Chief Executive and Paul Cleary, Development Officer. Ms. Ponton presented on the functioning of the SQF, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The portal for the Framework is continually being modified. The last major changes to its structure were made over a year ago. This enabled problems to be resolved that were encountered by the portal managers and include suggestions made by institutional users. These modifications have improved use and allowed it to be divided into sections intended for various audiences (e.g., educational institutions or learners).

Buchanan Street in Glasgow (photo: Anna Piotrowska)

Formally, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Partnership is a charity. This form of legal entity was chosen because of regulations: no other administrative or political entity, especially ministries, can put “pressure” on a charity.  In this way, political autonomy is ensured.

Qualifications are presented by diplomas in the SCQF register. In Scotland, there are common diplomas (qualifications) for many schools at the same level, for example, a diploma from university A is indistinguishable from a diploma from university B. External institutions (Credit Rating Bodies - CRB) are responsible for the quality of diplomas.

The river Clyde in Glasgow (photo: Anna Piotrowska)

The tasks of the SCQFP include informing individuals about the qualifications framework, managing a database containing a register of the diplomas which can be obtained in Scotland, carrying out the formal process of accrediting external organizations, as well as organising training and seminars for accredited institutions. The SCQFP does not undertake broader promotional activities for the SQF nor does it control the institutions issuing diplomas.

The NQF project delegation then met with representatives of the NS Design company, which services the SCQF database. The meeting made it possible to obtain information about the design and cost of servicing the database. The conclusion of the meeting - hiring an external company to service the software, data and the portal has its pluses and minuses. The advantages are low maintenance costs and not having to address the daily problems of managing the system. Among the disadvantages is the delay in correcting information.

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