The Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999

The Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999 was enacted in July 1999. Its main objectives are:

  • to establish and develop standards of knowledge, skill or competence,
  • promote the quality of further education and training and higher education and training,
  • provide a system for co-ordinating and comparing education and training awards, and
  • promote and maintain procedures for access, transfer and progression.

The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland was established in 2001 on a statutory basis as provided for in the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act, 1999. The Authority has a membership from a range of stakeholders including the social partners.
The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland was established in February 2001. The Authority itself has three principal objects which are set out in the Qualifications (Education & Training) Act, 1999. 



      the establishment and maintenance of a framework of qualifications for the development, recognition and award of qualifications based on standards of knowledge, skill or competence to be acquired by learners



      the establishment and promotion of the maintenance and improvement of the standards of awards of the further and higher education and training sector, other than in the existing universities



      the promotion and facilitation of access, transfer and progression throughout the span of education and training provision.



It is important to note that the Authority is not an awarding body.  

The authority has developed a National Framework of Qualifications which presents a comprehensive system for the recognition and comparability of awards across a wide range of learning.  There are no formal awards associated with primary education.  The Junior  Certificate is places at Level 3 of the 10-level Framework and the Leaving Certificate, the Leaving Certificate Applied and the Leaving Certificate Vocational, as well as Post-Leaving Certificate Courses, are placed at Levels 4 and 5, reflecting the wide range of learning outcomes associated with senior cycle programmes.   The availability of the Framework will provide a reference point for ongoing curriculum review and will also enable schools to diversify their curriculum by providing access to a greater range of awards.

Contact:  The QQI, 4th Floor, 6-9 Trinity Street, Dublin 2, telephone (01) 6127080,

External link to legislation: