Inclusion of Awards in the NFQ

At initial meetings, network members identified a number of issues related to the design of awards for inclusion in the Framework, including the consistent titling of awards; the basis upon which decisions on the appropriate inclusion of awards in the Framework are made; and the role of quality assurance.  There is an evident link between these topics and so they were amalgamated to form the basis of the activities of one of the working group of the network.  

Working Group Report

The report of this working group, Technical aspects of designing and redesigning programmes / awards for inclusion in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), provides a brief technical guide, primarily aimed at programme designers, to the characteristics of programmes that are recognised through the NFQ, including level indicators, major and non-major award-types, award-type descriptors, and credit allocation.. As such, the function of this – as with the function of all the working groups – is practical and utilitarian. 

The report sets out:

  • Principles and guidelines around the process of designing awards for inclusion in the Framework, including that each programme leading to awards in the Framework should have some form of programme descriptor; the descriptor should be expressed in Framework terms and use its generic outcomes (i.e., the eight sub-strands of knowledge, skill and competence) for mapping purposes; how the learning outcomes and volume of the award will help to determine the appropriate award-type (i.e., major, minor, special purpose or supplemental)

  • Principles and guidelines around the use of titles for major and non-major awards, including the fact that the responsibility for naming awards resides with awarding bodies; that the aim of the Framework is to bring coherence and transparency to the qualifications system and highlights the centrality of the consistent naming of awards in fulfilling this objective; and non-major award naming conventions

  • the direct connection between of principles and guidelines with quality assurance practices included in, for instance, the IUQB/IUA 'Framework for Quality in Irish Universities' , which references review processes surrounding the inclusion of awards in the Framework.
Working Group Members

Sinead Critchley (UCD)

Andrea Durnin (NUI)

Eleanor Fouhy (UCC)

Orla Hanratty (NUIM)

Sharon Jones (UCC)

Phyl McMorrow (DCU)

Noirin Moynihan (NUI)

Denis O'Brien (IPA)

John O'Brien (UL)

Trish O'Brien (NQAI)

Mary Ryan (NUIG)

Maura Tierney (NUI)

Eugene Wall (Mary Immaculate College)

*Eamonn Connway (Deputy, Mary Immaculate College)

Tony White (Milltown Institute)

*Tom Whelan (Deputy, Milltown Institute)

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