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European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET
The recommendation establishes a new reference tool to help Member States 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.
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].
The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is a new reference instrument to help authorities of Member States 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.
Member States 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.
As a reference instrument, the framework makes methodological suggestions that will help Member States 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 Member States. This will allow feedback on the progress achieved.
Drawing on the framework, Member States should develop approaches for improving their national quality assurance systems by 18 June 2011 at the latest. All relevant stakeholders should be involved in this development work.
European network for quality assurance
The recommendation encourages Member States 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 Member States 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 will promote the active and practical development of the framework at the national level, support Member States’ self-evaluation as well as the Network's work, and disseminate the related information to all relevant stakeholders.
The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET belongs to a series of European initiatives that encourage mobility. It will promote 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.