The ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) is a common reference framework that enables comparisons of education qualifications across participating ASEAN Member States (AMS).
The AQRF is developed based on agreed understanding between AMS. By design, it aims to have a neutral influence on national qualifications frameworks (NQF) of participating AMS. AMS are invited to participate in AQRF on voluntary engagement and implementation. More important, engagement in AQRF does not require changes to national qualifications systems (NQS). AQRF respects the specific structures and processes of participating AMS to maintain their responsiveness to national priorities.
AQRF is underpinned by a set of agreed quality assurance principles and broad standards related to the functions of the registering and accrediting agencies; systems for the assessment of learning and the issuing of qualifications; as well as regulation of the issuance of certificates.
The objectives of AQRF include:
A Task Force on AQRF (TF-AQRF) was created in 2013 under the auspice of ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) Economic Cooperation and Work Programme (ECWP) to take on the task to develop the AQRF.
The TF-AQRF, which completed the AQRF development in 2014, comprised representatives from ASEAN ministries of trade, education, and labour or manpower, qualification, accreditation and relevant agencies.
As AANZFTA Parties, representatives from Australia and New Zealand formed part of the TF-AQRF as non-voting members.
The AQRF was endorsed by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) in August 2014; the ASEAN Education Ministers (ASED) in September 2014; and the ASEAN Labour Ministers (ALMM) through ad-referendum from November 2014 to May 2015.
Subsequently, the AQRF Governance and Structure document was endorsed by ALMM and ASED in May 2016, and AEM in August 2016, and provided the basis for the establishment of the AQRF Committee to implement the AQRF.
The AQRF Committee is a high level executive committee that engages with the complex policy and technical issues arising from implementation and evolution of a regional qualifications framework. The Committee is responsible for building the zone of trust by providing transparency to the public.
The ASEAN Secretariat serves as the regional coordinating point on AQRF. It also provides administrative support to the AQRF Committee including servicing meetings and maintaining repository of information and decisions of the AQRF Committee, as well as information sharing with relevant stakeholders.