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What is NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework)?

By Ampersand Group

What is NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework)?

The Indian government launched the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) in 2013. It identified the importance of skill development among the youth and students with the realisation that the engines of social and economic progress are based on knowledge and skills. A robust National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) means that the economy can meet the current demand and supply mismatch between skilled workforce in critical sectors such as healthcare and manufacturing.

The Indian government describes NSQF as a quality assurance framework. NSQF organises qualifications in terms of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude and these are defined by learning outcomes. It is crucial for a learner to possess these levels irrespective of whether they were acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning. The grades for these levels run from 1 to 10, making it a competency-based skill framework. This nationally integrated education framework covers vocational education, general education as well as technical education.

What are the objectives of the NSQF?

The objectives of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) are crucial in order to create and ensure a high-quality assurance framework. These are as follows:

1. Indian education system

NSQF takes into account the diversity of the Indian education system and its many training programmes.

2. Structure for development

NSQF provides a set structure for development and maintenance of progression pathways which allows learners to shift without much difficulty from one industry to another. It also provides the necessary qualification for the same.

3. Education and Training

NSQF provides an opportunity to learners to upskill and progress with the help of different educational and training programmes.

4. Global mobility

Various levels of NSQF training allows learners to be equipped with knowledge and skills that help them to be on par with international counterparts. It also recognises the value of Indian qualifications.

5. Life-long learning

The framework enables students and learners to get equipped with crucial skills. These skills not only benefit them for a short period of time but yield results for a lifetime.

What are the key features of NSQF?

Here are some of the key features of NSQF:

1. Skill development and proficiency

The main focus of NSQF continues to be to equip learners with in-demand industry skills and knowledge while making them proficient in the process. This gives learners a level-playing field and a chance for global mobility.

2. Vocational training

The government continues to push vocational training in order to upskill students and youth in sectors such as hospitality, manufacturing and automobile among other. Vocational education also provides a career pathway and bridges the gap between industry and in-demand skills.

3. Progression

Several progression pathways between school education, higher education, technical education, vocational education, training, skilling, and job markets; is available for learners.

4. Multiple entry and exit potential

NSQF allows learners to enter and exit their learning process with flexibility. Thus, catering to a diverse audience across India.

5. Quality Process

Thanks to a national quality assurance framework, the NSQF’s learning outcomes are consistent and nationally acceptable.

What are the benefits of NSQF?

1. Global recognition

The National Skills Qualifications Framework is recognised internationally, thus allowing learners to be flexible in pursuing the right job opportunities or higher education in India or abroad.

2. Skill development

The NSQF ensures students and learners are equipped with the right skills and knowledge of certain industries.

3. In sync with industry demands

The framework contributes in bridging the gap between industry demands and a skilled workforce. Thus, leading to a higher employment rate.

4. Progressive educational system

It pushes students and learners to upskill themselves, as and when required. NSQF pushes for quality education and lifelong learning.

5. Partnerships

In order to better meet the market needs, institutions can partner with companies to provide industry training to learners under NSQF.

Ampersand Group - Benefits of NSQF

What is NSQF level? What are the 10 Levels of NSQF?

As mentioned above, the National Skills Qualification Framework levels are from grade 1 to 10. These 10 levels are categorised based on different learning outcomes of five domains, mainly: process, professional knowledge, professional skill, core skill and responsibility. These can be acquired via formal, informal or vocational education.

Let’s take a look at the 10 levels of NSQF:

1. Level 1 of NSQF

The NSQF level 1 goal is to get learners ready to automatically get into repetitious jobs and save valuable time. A learner does not need any prior experience to acquire jobs at this level. For eg: A helper or security guard.

2. Level 2 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 2 seeks to equip learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform routine jobs. It would support logical thinking by assisting them in comprehending and completing the assignment. The level of responsibility at this stage is limited.

3. Level 3 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 3 seeks to equip learners to perform certain employment positions or task that is predictable in nature and requires little effort. For eg: A junior technician will be able to assist in a predictable task.

4. Level 4 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 4 involves people who already have knowledge of the given field. These people are responsible for their own work and are familiar with the nature of the job. For eg: A senior skilled technician.

5. Level 5 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 5 involves people who have a range of skills as well as specialised skills in their domain. This level aims to prep learners with the right skills and help them enter the job market for their choice of profession.

6. Level 6 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 6 requires a wide range of abilities, particularly technical ones. The student must be well-versed in the subject and be able to perform both standard and non-standard tasks depending on the demands of the position. The candidate could be a manager, technical manager or product manager.

7. Level 7 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 7 is a skilled worker equipped with advanced knowledge of critical understanding of emerging developments. The skilled worker has a deep understanding of practical and theoretical concepts and holds high-level responsibility for an organisation’s growth.

8. Level 8 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 8 includes people who are innovation-driven and hold top management positions in multi-national companies. These management professionals are strategic thinkers who are responsible for driving an organisation to newer heights.

9. Level 9 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 9 is a highly skilled person often on the company board of directors. They are responsible for taking strategic and data-driven decisions in the best interest of the company.

10. Level 10 of NSQF

The NSQF Level 10 is a thought leader and trusted innovator, possessing a broad range of knowledge of various fields. They also are the decision-makers when faced with complex business problems and responsible for horizontal or vertical growth of the organisation.

What are the important provisions of NSQF?

The NSQF mechanism put in place is trustworthy, open, and responsible for talent and skill development across several industries.

The ease of mobility that NSQF offers is crucial for young learners to explore and switch job markets or industries.

An effective implementation of NSQF paves the path for life-long learning and skill development.

NSQF also helps learners of different age groups return to formal or informal education and provides the ease of switching occupations.

What are some of the challenges or problems faced by NSQF?

1. The Ministry of Skill Development which is supposed to provide vocational training and Ministry of Human Resource Development responsible for educational courses are not aligned.

2. Another drawback of the NSQF is that there is a gap between theoretical knowledge and practical hands-on experience in vocational training.

3. Unlike general academics, the NSQF does not have clarity on its course curriculum.

Ampersand Group - 10 Levels of NSQF

How NSQF implementation can help educational institutions?

The implementation of NSQF can help educational institutions to bridge the gap between academics and vocational training. This can be done by introducing practical, hands-on training sessions to make students and youngsters job ready. Industrial training must be included in the syllabus to help learners get equipped with crucial skills.


Indian government’s National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) is crucial in bridging the gap between formal school education and vocational training courses. This will give students and learners the opportunity to reach their chosen competency levels, enter the workforce, then, when the time is right, go back and pick up new skills to advance their abilities even further. It also enhances employability by providing evidence of practical proficiency alongside academic qualifications.

To know more about what Ampersand Group does in the education and skill development sectors, visit Ampersand Group.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to Implement NSQF in Educational Institutions?

Institutions can start by designing a curriculum that integrates academic knowledge with vocational skills relevant to industry needs. These institutions can also establish partnerships with industries to provide students with exposure to real-world work environments through internships and apprenticeships, facilitating a seamless transition from education to employment.

2. Why is the government establishing NSQF?

The government establishes NSQF to bridge the gap between education and employment by providing a standardized framework for skills development.

3. What is the use of an NSQF certificate?

An NSQF certificate serves as a recognized credential that validates an individual's competency in specific skills aligned with national standards. It enhances employability by providing evidence of practical proficiency alongside academic qualifications.

What is NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework)? | Ampersand Group
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