Qualifications Framework important to lifelong learning: SED (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Qualifications Framework (QF) will play a pivotal role in integrating education, training and employment seamlessly, the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, said at the opening ceremony of the QF Conference on "Global Mobility - Making It Happen" today (March 18).

     Recognising the importance of continuing education and lifelong learning to increase the competitiveness of Hong Kong's workforce in the long run, Mr Ng said that the Government developed and launched in May 2008 the Hong Kong QF, which serves as a platform to provide learners with a clear articulation ladder and multiple progression pathways for further studies and career advancement.

     "Over the past years, we have concentrated our efforts and resources on fostering our QF fundamental building blocks such as a seven-level QF hierarchy, the setting up of Industry Training Advisory Committees (ITACs), the drawing up of Specifications of Competency Standards and progression pathways in each industry and the implementation of the Recognition of Prior Learning mechanism. More recently, we have formulated an Award Titles Scheme and the QF credit system," Mr Ng said.

     Referring to this year's Budget proposal of allocating $10 million per year to support ITACs to launch new initiatives under the Hong Kong QF to further enhance the knowledge and skills of workers in the industries, and their competitiveness in the labour market, Mr Ng said the Government would be working closely not only with ITACs but also education and training providers and quality assurance agencies to implement the initiatives.

     To facilitate learners' mobility and articulation around the world, Mr Ng added, "We have been stepping beyond our boundaries to establish ties with QF and quality assurance authorities in different places, so as to enhance mutual understanding, trust and recognition."

     Also officiating at the opening ceremony, the Chairman of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQFP), Sir Andrew Cubie, said that the Scottish QF was launched in 2001 and they were always looking for ways to use it more fully or creatively.

    "QFs provide us with a means to have conversations with other countries/regions about referencing and benchmarking of qualifications. We know that over 100 countries/regions are developing or have developed their Frameworks and therefore this conference is concentrating on some key topics related to the issues around referencing and alignment," he said.

     Jointly organised by the Education Bureau and the SCQFP, the two-day QF Conference is being held on March 18 and 19. It signifies the collaborative efforts in furtherance of the Memorandum of Understanding that the Education Bureau signed with the SCQFP in March 2012, and the purpose is to stimulate ideas and forge partnerships for scaling new heights in Hong Kong, Scotland and other parts of the world in terms of learners' mobility and articulation.

     Speakers at the conference come from Australia, Hong Kong, the Mainland, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Over 400 representatives from education institutions, training providers, trade associations, labour unions and Government departments are attending the conference.

Ends/Monday, March 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:31