Ministers have been advised to introduce a single qualifications framework which would cover all post-16 education.
Sir Anthony Greener, chairman of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, called for "a single qualifications framework which includes all general qualifications, vocational qualifications, university degrees and higher degrees". He was speaking at the Learning and Skills Development Agency new year lecture on Tuesday.
In an attack on the huge numbers of government-funded qualifications, he said the "artificial" barriers between schools, FE and HE needed to be broken down.
He said: "Our so-called national qualifications framework is not a 'framework' in the sense of providing architecture. At present it is merely a list of qualifications."
He added: "This proposal puts the consumer, the learner, at the core.
Nothing short of this will provide genuine pathways for lifelong learning."