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European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

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European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

The recommendation establishes a new reference tool to help EU countries and participating countries develop, improve, guide and assess the quality of their own vocational education and training systems. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework gives new impetus to transparency, and thus to mobility, by offering a common tool to develop quality management practices.

ACT

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training [Official Journal C 155 of 8.7.2009].

SUMMARY

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is a new reference instrument to help authorities of EU countries promote and monitor the improvement of their systems of vocational education and training (VET).

Quality assurance can be used as a systematic approach to modernising education systems, especially by improving the effectiveness of training. Therefore, it should underpin every policy initiative in VET.

EU countries are invited to develop and use this instrument on a voluntary basis. The main users of the reference framework will be national and regional authorities as well as public and private bodies responsible for ensuring and improving the quality of VET.

Implementation

As a reference instrument, the framework makes methodological suggestions that will help EU countries to assess clearly and consistently whether the measures necessary for improving the quality of their VET systems have been implemented and whether they need to be reviewed.

The methodology proposed by the framework is based on:

  • a cycle consisting of four phases (planning, implementation, assessment and review) described for VET providers/systems;
  • quality criteria and indicative descriptors for each phase of the cycle (Annex I);
  • common indicators for assessing targets, methods, procedures and training results - some indicators are to be based on statistical data, others are of a qualitative nature (Annex II).

The recommendation stresses a culture of quality improvement and responsibility at all levels, i.e. at the VET-system, VET-provider and qualification-awarding levels. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET attaches importance to systematic self-assessment. It includes internal and external assessment mechanisms that are to be defined by EU countries. This will allow feedback on the progress achieved.

Drawing on the framework, EU countries were to develop approaches for improving their national quality assurance systems by 18 June 2011 at the latest. All relevant stakeholders were to have been involved in this development work.

European network for quality assurance

The recommendation encourages EU countries to participate actively in the European network for quality assurance in VET, using it as a basis for further development of common principles and tools for quality improvement in VET at national, regional and local levels.

The recommendation also encourages EU countries to designate Quality Assurance National Reference Points for VET, to bring together competent bodies and involve all relevant players at national and regional levels. These reference points promote the active and practical development of the framework at the national level, support EU countries' self-evaluation as well as the Network's work, and disseminate the related information to all relevant stakeholders.

Background

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET belongs to a series of European initiatives that encourage mobility. It promotes the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

The recommendation responds to the resolutions of the 2002 Barcelona European Council, which set the target of making Europe’s education and training systems a benchmark for the world by 2010. It is also in line with the Copenhagen process, which concerns re-launching cooperation in vocational education and training.

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training [ COM(2014) 30 final of 28.1.2014 - not published in the Official Journal].

This is the first report on progress of quality assurance in VET in the European Union, following the adoption of the Recommendation. Its main conclusions are:

  • European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) has contributed to advancing a quality culture in VET in European countries, as well as to its practical implementation, through the development notably of quality operational measures within the EQAVET network;
  • such measures have focused on institutional, school-based provision (most of initial VET and part of continuing VET), with less visible impact on work-based learning and non-formal provision (which makes up most of continuing VET but could also play a key part in Initial VET in dual systems);
  • the flexible approach of EQAVET, making available tools for selection and adjustment, has facilitated its use, but at the same time has reduced its potential as a common language and conceptual framework across countries.

A clear need has therefore emerged for enhanced cooperation with other European instruments for quality assurance and transparency.

Last updated: 15.06.2014

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