ACQF-II project - brief activity report 2023

The first 9 months of the ACQF-II were intensive, working in close collaboration with the countries, regions and AU. The ACQF Policy Document was validated by the Member States at the Addis Conference (11-13 July 2023). Five important multi-country policy and capacity development workshops conducted: Johannesburg, Addis, Nairobi, Accra and Maputo.


1        Overall project information

1.1      Summary

Title:                             Support to the implementation of the African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF II)

CRIS/OPSYS:               CRIS number: 043-851

Basic Act:                     Financed under the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI-Global Europe)

Timeframe:                   Started on 01/04/2023 – till end 2026

Implementing partner:    European Training Foundation (ETF)

1.2      The Action

The Overall Objective (Impact) of this action is to contribute to improved mobility, lifelong learning opportunities for African youth, as a result of enhanced comparability and transparency of qualifications, recognition of skills and diplomas, improved mutual trust and information-sharing between qualifications frameworks and systems on the continent.

The Specific Objectives (Outcomes) of this action are to:

  1. Strengthen capacities at continental (AU), national and regional levels enabling the implementation of the ACQF functions and services.
  2. Support the development and implementation of national qualifications frameworks and systems, and cooperation with regional qualifications frameworks.
  3. Set-up and operationalise the ACQF systems for delivery of the services and results in (i) referencing national qualifications frameworks or systems and ACQF, (ii) ACQF qualifications management information system and database, (iii) recognition of skills and qualifications, (iv) cooperation with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and other frameworks, (v) development of common profiles of qualifications for priority sectors of free trade, inclusive economic integration, emerging occupations, green jobs, in cooperation with AfCFTA. This outcome has 4 main outputs:
    • Output 3.1: Governance (Network); Digitalisation (QCP)
    • Output 3.2: Support countries' development of NQF and related policies
    • Output 3.3: RPL Campaign
    • Output 3.4: Common profiles of qualifications


2        Synthesis report: main activities and outputs 2023

The first year of the project (9 months) was focused on:

  • Validation of the ACQF Policy Document
  • Organisation of project implementation processes, such as procurement of relevant experts, and finetuning of budget monitoring. Completion of tender process for output 3.1 (QCP).
  • Implementation of key activities related to the relevant project outputs, notably: 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3.

Output 1.1 Capacity development

Main focus of 2023: Trust building and common concepts and knowledge on NQFs and related policies; dissemination and information-sharing on ACQF.

  1. Instruments: multi-country workshops
  2. Country-specific workshops
  3. ACQF Website: comprehensive workshops’ webpages with all training materials; new photo galleries; news.

Conducted and completed:

A.1 Starting workshops

  • 8-12 May: 2 workshops SADC: a) TVET Symposium – 14 countries; b) TCCA SADCQF workshop 14 countries.
  • 11-14 July: Addis conferencevalidated ACQF Policy Document, 1st meeting ACQF AG; launched and presented ACQF-II project. 78 participants – 33 countries. Leadership and facilitation: African Union Commission (AUC). Participation of African Union ESTI Commissioner with opening speech, and his representative throughout the conference. Participation of leadership of EU Delegation to AU, with speeches at both opening sessions. Day 1: presentation, discussion and validation of the ACQF Policy Document; Day 2: launch of the ACQF-II project, detailed presentations; Day 3: completion of day 2 and 1st meeting of the Advisory Group ACQF.Screenshot 2024-02-19 at 11.25.20.png

A.2 Programme of 3 capacity development workshops on theme “Making NQFs operational in a time of change”. Agenda and all workshop materials and presentations are accessible at the indicated webpages:

Photos and memories by workshop: available at the Gallery on ACQF website.

Participants: approx. 50-55 per workshop. In Nairobi and Accra: representatives of the 11 priority countries and other countries with advanced NQF experiences (South Africa); in Maputo: representatives of 23 countries.

Workshop themes distributed as follows:

  • 9-11/Oct: Nairobi - NQFs in a systemic view; Registration of qualifications in NQF; monitoring and evaluation of NQFs; RPL; Micro-credentials; Quality Assurance; Study visit KNQA.
  • 07-08/Nov: Accra - Level descriptors, learning outcomes, governance NQF, green skills, credit accumulation and transfer systems, articulation and progression, AI in education.
  • 05-06/Dec: Maputo – Transforming NQFs (in keynote and parallel session); Digitalisation of qualifications and NQF (2 sessions); AI in education; African Qualifications Network; Inclusion via RPL; ACQF QCP. Digitalisation of LMIS. ACQF surveys – initial results. Updates on new NQFs in Africa. Study visits: CNAQ and ANEP. Note: the workshop had a high-level delegation from RD Congo led by the Minister of TVET.


Two country-specific workshops:

    1. 31/07 to 04/08 in Guinea-Bissau. Visit the webpage
    2. 29-31/11: Sierra Leone (online-onsite). Visit the workshop webpage to get information and all workshop materials.
    3. Presentations and technical contributions (online):
      1. a) Conference Internationale de Dakar sur l’Assurance Qualité (Higher Education), Dakar. 2-4 October 2023. Presentation on ACQF working in synergy with other projects and instruments supporting recognition
      2. b) AfriQAN: 25/Nov – Presentation on ACQF, as catalyst for change, integration and synchronization between NQFs.
      3. c) Uganda: 14/Dec – Presentation on ACQF – objectives, scope of work, catalyst for development of NQFs in Africa. This was a contribution to the national stakeholders’ brainstorming towards development of the NQF.
  1. Technical contribution to TVET Round Table, in Kinshasa (10-14/Nov 2023), organised, hosted, and funded by the Ministry of TVET of the DR Congo.

ACQF-II coordinator developed the draft concept and agenda of the Round Table, and the initial draft proposal on the mission and governance of the African Qualifications Network. Contributed to facilitation and reporting, jointly with the Chair of the Experts’ Commission. The Final document of the Round Table contains the 17 Recommendations of the participating countries, validated on 14/Nov 2023. For more information on the presentations, visit the webpage of the event.

New countries and regional organisations have joined the ACQF-II by end 2023, thanks to networking and participation in the TVET Round Table.


Outputs 2.1, 3.3

Support to NQFs and related policies (RPL, CATS)

Priority countries working with ACQF-II: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan. New country: Seychelles.

Conducted activities:

  • Baseline analysis meetings conducted with all ACQF-II priority countries.
  • Draft plans 2023-2024 agreed with some countries.
  • Concrete activities and outputs with 9 countries (listed below)
  • Angola, INQ: drafted technical notes for INQ on CATS and RPL. These notes were discussed and served as reference for development of legal acts by INQ. Discussed work plan 2024.
  • Guinea-Bissau, INAFOP and Ministries (NQF): 1 mission and good progress on NQF concept document, validated by stakeholders.
  • Eswatini, EQA (RPL): 1 mission and workshop on RPL; 1st draft RPL Policy document for comments. Completion: until mid Feb 2024. Discussed work plan 2024. Developed and launched on the public space the EQA website – this is a pilot project of ACQF-II.
  • Ghana, GTEC: 1st draft concept comprehensive NQF – shared, not yet discussed with stakeholders. NQF working group in formation. Work plan 2024 discussed and agreed. Support to Ghana includes: development of comprehensive NQF policy document; NQF and RPL Policy documents.
  • RD Congo: NQF governance - benchmarking information for Ministry TVET; comments and advice on draft decree establishing NQF Authority (ACRQCP); drafted Work Plan supporting steps towards operationalisation of the Authority. Discussed overall scope of NQF and RPL related activities 2024. Decree establishing the NQF Authority was approved by Council of Ministers in October and signed in December by Prime Minister. The next step is the Presidential Ordonnance establishing the directorate and council of ACRCQP.
  • Kenya, KNQA: M&E NQF – 1 mission, training, and technical advice. Report completed. This is a pilot project of the ACQF.
  • Mozambique, CT NQF / CNAQ: development of operational NQF instruments – 2 regulations drafted and discussed with concerned institutions. Both documents were approved in Dec 2023 by government, for application.
  • Sierra Leone, NCTVA and Ministry Technical and Higher Education: training workshop (part I) on NQF, credit system and LMIS was conducted. The workshop agenda was adjusted to the unforeseen circumstances of unrest (27-28/Nov), and together with the national authorities it was conducted in a hybrid mode (29-30/Nov and 01/Dec).
  • Senegal: training workshop postponed to 2024 (May).
  • Somalia: Roadmap NQF development – draft 1.
  • ACQF research: conducted 3 surveys – NQF, RPL and Micro-credentials. First results presented at Maputo workshop. To widen the number of responses, we reopened the surveys for 1 week (until 12/Jan) and sent invitations to all new countries and experts.
  • ACQF: Publication. A case of good practice in South-South and Triangular Cooperation – Transforming Education and Delivering on SDG-4. Article drafted by ACQF-II, upon invitation of the UN South-South Cooperation Office and the AUC. Published and disseminated.


Output 3.1

Governance (African Qualifications Network) and digitalisation (QCP)

  • Technical and conceptual contribution to 1st TVET Round Table organised by DR Congo in Kinshasa (10-14/11/2023). We drafted the concept note and agenda, and the Final Recommendations document. We contributed to facilitation and technical content of the Round Table. In the concept note we included the proposal of creation of the African Qualifications Network, which was well accepted by RD Congo and the participating countries and AUC. This Network is mentioned in ACQF-II Description of Action (Output 3.1), and the idea gathered a favourable opinion by the member states participating at the Addis conference in July 2023.
  • Drafted detailed ToRs for Tender to select a competent consortium to develop and operationalise the Qualifications and Credentials Platform (QCP). Procedure is completed, but there is an administrative delay affecting the start of activities, which needs to be monitored to avoid adverse consequences.
  • First reflections on the expectations and objectives of the QCP with ACQF-II priority countries. Brief overview of other similar databases. focus on Europass.

Output 3.2

Referencing to ACQF

  • Technical foundations: ACQF Guideline 3 and the related Training Module 3, have been complemented in 2022 by shorter support materials, such as a guide for self-assessment of readiness to initiate referencing to ACQF.
  • During ACQF-II workshops in 2023 several countries expressed interest in referencing to ACQF, notably: Cabo Verde, Eswatini, Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa. Angola, Mozambique and other newer NQFs are likely candidates.


Output 3.3

RPL Campaign

  • Concept of RPL Campaign: initial draft elaborated – for further development and details.
  • Annotated outline of RPL Policy Document elaborated.
  • Annotated outline for RPL Handbook for Practitioners elaborated.

Output 3.4

Common profiles of qualifications

  • Reflections on scope and methodology were elaborated and discussed with SADC countries at the 10-11 May 2023 workshop. Information was shared at ACQF-II workshops in Quarter 4 2023, and contacts with European Commission / DG EMPL (VET Unit) initiated to learn from the experience of “core VET profiles” at EU level (scope, methodology, use cases).  

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