Referencing is a process that establishes the relationship between the eight-level AQRF and NQF or qualifications system of participating AMS; and the number of levels an NQF may differ, and typically between 8 and 9 levels.
AQRF would therefore improve the understanding of the qualification of each level of a NQF or qualifications system of the participating AMS. AQRF also works as an information tool to facilitate the recognition of qualifications and does not replace the decision-making process of the competent authorities in each AMS.
In the long-term, AQRF could potentially serve as a meta-framework to support the recognition of its levels against other Regional Qualifications Framework (RQF) and inter-regional recognition. Interested AMS can choose to begin referencing according to their readiness.
The Malaysian Education Blueprint (Higher Education) 2015-2025 (Higher Education) in Shift 10: Transformed Higher Education Delivery outlined the need of linking the national system to the regional system. Initiative D1: Enhancing MQA processes and the quality assurance framework stated that 'the MQF will to facilitate greater harmonization with the TVET sector, as well as to align with the ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF)'.
In light with the endorsement of the ASEAN Qualification Reference Framework (AQRF) in the three ASEAN Ministerial Meetings, of Economy, Education and Labor, which were held between 2014 until 2015, the Malaysian Government, on 29 April 2015, mandated the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA), an agency under the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), to oversee and coordinate all AQRF related matters in Malaysia
The referencing report of MQF to AQRF is expected to be submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat in the mid-2018.