Which column is more important?

7. Is one column of the descriptors table more important than the other?

Existing qualifications will vary considerably as regards their focus on knowledge, skills or competence. For an instance, academic qualifications might focus more on knowledge, whereas certain vocational qualifications might focus more on skills or competence. The three dimensions introduced in the EQF should help to identify these differences in the process of assigning qualifications. By no means the EQF is not intended to promote or to discriminate any type of qualification, but to act as neutral reference point for all different sorts of qualifications. An important objective underpinning the EQF is the promotion of parity of esteem between academic, vocational or higher education routes as well as between initial and further education. In this sense, all the dimensions of the table are of equal value.

A qualification may fit perfectly in a certain level in one of the columns, but according to the descriptors in another column, at first sight, may seem to fit better in another level (see question 3). One could, therefore – or simply because the column “knowledge” comes before “skills” – ask if a certain column has more importance than the others. This is not the case. All of the dimensions are equally important and the order of the columns is not meant to be of any particular consequence (see question 6).