NSQF – A Guide to Everything You Need to Know

Every year, thousands of students graduate from different universities and colleges. However, only a few of them are able to find lucrative jobs. Some of them have to settle for less and accept any offer that comes their way while many are left unemployed.

But what’s the reason behind this? Don’t we have enough employment opportunities? The reason is not a lack of great jobs but skilled applicants. Hence, the Government of India started an initiative called National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) which was later renamed National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF).

The framework includes three schemes of GOI (Government of India), namely Scheme of Community Colleges, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Centres for Knowledge Acquisition, Upgradation of Skilled Human Abilities and Livelihood (KAUSHAL), and aims at helping learners to hone their skills. NSQF committee is responsible for offering education that combines knowledge, data, skills, and aptitude.


What is NSQF?

NSQF stands for National Skills Qualifications Framework and is a nationally integrated education and competency-based skill framework that enables students to acquire the desired level of competence level. It provides multiple pathways, including vertical and horizontal, within vocational training and education and also involves general and technical education thereby, linking one level of learning to a higher one. Learners can transit to the job market after reaching the required competency level and even return to learn additional skills to scale their careers.

NSQF organises qualification levels based on knowledge, skills, and aptitude. The levels are then graded from one to ten that are defined based on the learning outcomes of students, which aligns more accurately with the comprehensive NSQF meaning and purpose.


Key Elements of NSQF

  • To achieve international equivalency, NSQF provides national principles for identifying skill competencies and proficiency at different levels.
  • It offers a “multiple entry and exit” option to students between vocational education, general education, skill training, technical training, and job markets.
  • NSQF level training includes a provision of progressive pathways defined within the skill qualification framework.
  • Better opportunities that promote lifelong learning, skill development, and education among learners.
  • It partners with industry leaders, employers, and agencies to understand the current job market and its requirements.
  • The framework builds a credible, transparent, and accountable mechanism to develop skills across multiple sectors.
  • NSQF provides better potential to recognize early learning.


Objectives of NSQF

  1. Accommodate Diversity in Education
    NSQF accommodates the diversity of the Indian education system within the skill-based framework. The focus of NSQF courses has been to develop qualifications for different levels and define expected learning outcomes.
  2. Progressive Roadmaps and Structure
    The goal was to create a well-defined structure for developing and maintaining progressive pathways that help learners. This would not only provide access to the industry-based practical knowledge, qualifications, and skills but also support learners to switch easily between different sectors of training and education to polish their skills. Based on various job roles & levels, NSQF introduced the two primary criteria for industry-specific skill development- Qualification Packs (QPs) and National Occupational Standards (NOS).
  3. Industrial Training and Experience
    Students can gain theoretical knowledge, but they can’t understand the core practices and application of their skills without practical training. NSQF gives them the chance to upskill and progress through industrial training, which is a part of their education program to address their doubts. They get recognition, hands-on experience, and real-time knowledge even before their course is complete.
  4. International Mobility
    NSQF aligned courses support high-quality learning and give students exposure to international platforms and opportunities. It increases the national and international mobility of students by offering NSQF-compliant education that adds value and credibility to their qualifications. Thus, amplifying the importance of education and eliminating the barriers of geographical boundaries.
  5. Skill Set for Life
    The primary goal of NSQF is to inculcate skills that go beyond professional benefits and provide a lifetime value. Therefore, the committee focuses on offering the highest-quality education for skill development. This helps students develop a sharp mindset to deal with any critical situation and survive the toughest challenges throughout their life.



NSQF is certainly a great step toward skill development. It motivates institutions to focus on other non-academic and professional skills that are otherwise ignored.

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