The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) was launched in October 2003. It is designed to accommodate school, further and higher education and training awards across its ten levels. The breadth of its scope results in a central point of reference, nationally and internationally, for the comparison, contrast and recognition of qualifications. Its ultimate purpose is to place the learner at the centre of education and training.

The implementation of the NFQ provides a series of challenges for, amongst others, programme designers, lecturers, education providers, and awarding bodies. The university sector Framework Implementation Network (FIN) was established so that practitioners in higher education could discuss and propose some approaches to these challenges, and communicate these to their colleagues across higher education for consideration. The following report represents the outcomes from this collaborative exercise. It focuses on the recognition of prior learning (RPL); an increasingly important aspect of lifelong learning in the university sector in Ireland and abroad.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of FIN, nominated by the universities and their linked colleges, for their contribution to this project and their commitment to the purpose and activities of FIN.
On behalf of the network, we would like to acknowledge again the role of Professor John Scattergood, Trinity College Dublin. Professor Scattergood has sustained his high level of commitment to the network’s activities since becoming Chair in 2007. His enthusiasm for the subject of this document has extended to all network members.

Electronic versions of this report and other FIN outputs as well as details on the network’s membership and activities, are all available at


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