Scottish higher education institutions will in the coming academic year offer a unified credit system for all mainstream education and training by couching their qualifications in a new "national language".
Andrew Cubie, chair of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework joint advisory committee, unveiled a national implementation plan at the SCQF's annual conference in Glasgow.
The SCQF aims to help learners and employers understand qualifications and to ease transition between all levels of education. It has been awarded £1.5 million by the Scottish Executive.
Most mainstream qualifications will be credit rated by 2004-05, and a national information campaign will be unrolled over the next two years.
"This is not a paper exercise," Dr Cubie said. "It is about helping real people to find their way through all the learning opportunities open to them and helping them to achieve their potential."
Iain Gray, Scotland's minister for enterprise, transport and lifelong learning, said the framework would break down barriers and make it easier to progress from learning in school to learning in the workplace, from community learning to continuous professional development and from further to higher education.