Individual & Social Responsibility

Descriptors of Key Competences in the National Qualification Framework

The objective of the National Qualification Framework is to present the learning outcomes of Key Competences at Levels 1 to 3 as defined by the European Qualifications Framework. The aim is to help training providers in planning vocational education and training courses enriched by key competences which cut across all areas of education and training.

In spring 2006, the Malta Qualifications Council appointed six working groups whose goal was to design level descriptors for key consequences as defined in the Commission Staff Working document Towards a European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (July, 2005).  The European Qualification Framework identifies and defines the key competences for lifelong learning. In this document, eight different key competences were identified, namely:

  1. Communication in Mother Tongue
  2. Communication in another language
  3. Basic competences in Mathematics, Science and Technology
  4. Digital competence
  5. Learning To Learn
  6. Interpersonal and Civic Competences
  7. Entrepreneurship
  8. Cultural expression.

Key Competences are defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context and which every individual needs for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment. The function of the National Qualification Framework is to position existing and emerging qualifications within the 8 levels as stated by law, as well as introduce a new framework for National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) within the general qualifications framework.

The National Qualifications Framework is also the tool through which National Qualifications can be compared with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), which is also based on an 8-level qualifications system.

The Key Competences for Lifelong Learning

The European Qualifications Framework defines the key competences for lifelong learning as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context and which every individual needs for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment.  These sompetences are taken to include three aspects which include: competences, knolwedge and skills.  These three components are defined as follows.





Interpersonal competences cover forms of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life in an increasingly diverse society, and to resolve conflict where necessary. Civil competences in a VET context equip individuals to fully participate in civic life, based on the knowledge of social and political concepts and the commitment to active and democratic participation in society and the world of work.

The competencies in Interpersonal and civic skills are presented in five strands: Communication, Working with Others, Problem Solving, Self-Management and civic skills. This five-fold distinction is consistent throughout the three levels under review namely:

a) the skill of communication develops a sense of care and respect for others and the facility to relate and communicate effectively in the place of work;
b) in working with others, Learners are required to contribute to the planning and carrying out of tasks and activities in co-operation with other people;
c) problem solving encourages Learners to develop a systematic approach to tackling problems and to reflect on their progress;
d) self-management skills foster a sense of personal responsibility for their own actions and behaviour;
e) in practising civic skills Learners are encouraged to develop a sense of social responsibility and appreciate the interdependent nature of the world in
    which they live and work. They also explore the need to work for the environment in particular in their place of work.

Each of these strands is revisited within a spiral and developmental approach, with an increasing complexity from Level 1 to Level 3.  Attitudes and values are given their due importance in the competence section.

Assessment at Level 1 shall be by oral-guided questionnaires, informal interviews, guided structured self and peer assessments, simple oral presentations, role-plays, guided structured portfolios.

At Level 2 assessment will take the form of questionnaires, formal interviews, semi- structured self and peer assessments, simple presentations, role-plays, semi- structured portfolios, simple projects.

At Level 3, assessment is in the form of questionnaires, interviews, self and peer assessments, presentations (individual/group using power-point), role-plays, portfolios, projects, field-work, reflections.

National Qualifications Framework - Malta Qualifications Council 

Level 1 

Level 2 



Level 3 







The overriding imperative of MCAST is to ensure that the set mission is accomplished and that resources put at MCAST's disposal are used in the most efficient and effective way to support the government's policies and direction, whereby learning is considered as an indispensable key for an evolving and dynamic economy. (Strategic Plan 2006-15)

Since its inception, MCAST's vision focused on raising the status of quality vocational education and training in Malta to provide meaningful, valid and accessible opportunities to all citizens, young students and adult workers, within an inclusive environment.  The progression routes offered by the College from levels two to six, with different entry points into the framework and exit points to the world of work, are indispensable for the development of a modern knowledge-based economy.  This provision also offers second chances to individuals who had not reached their full potential for whatever reason.

MCAST's mission is in line with the goals of the Lisbon Agenda and the Copenhagen process for Vocational Educational Training (VET).  The goals are mainly aimed at:

  • Reducing the number of early school leavers.
  • Adapting education and training systems to the knowledge economy and society.
  • Fostering lifelong learning for all.
  • Promoting and facilitating mobility through internationally recognised qualifications.

Important targets of the Lisbon Agenda include:

  • Reducing the percentage of early school leavers.
  • Increasing the number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology.
  • Ensuring completion of upper secondary education.
  • Increasing basic skills.
  • Increasing participation in lifelong learning.
Investing In Our Childrens Education.pdf Investing In Our Childrens Education.pdf
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M. Coles presentation on NQF 2006.pdf M. Coles presentation on NQF 2006.pdf
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Key Competencies - Skills for Life 2007.pdf Key Competencies - Skills for Life 2007.pdf
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