Dennis Gunning, director of development at the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which helped devise the system, said: "This is really the first time that we have a framework which pulls together all the national qualifications in a systematic way. It is a sort of qualifications Holy Grail."
In a foreword to the draft proposals, which are entitled Adding Value to Learning, Helen Liddell, the Education Minister, said: "Even a step on the lowest rung of the qualification climbing frame can develop the confidence of people who have been marginalised." The framework links school, college, university, work and professional qualifications, awarding points that can be carried forward.
A higher national diploma over two years would earn 120 points in each year. A single Higher, calculated as one-fifth of a full year of study, is allocated 24 points.