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IP/08/558

Brussels, 10 April 2008

Commission launches initiative to facilitate mobility in vocational education and training

The European Commission has presented plans for a Europe-wide credit system in vocational education and training. This system, called ECVET, would make it easier for citizens to get formal recognition of knowledge, skills and competences they have gained in another country. Member States are encouraged to sign up to this voluntary scheme that does not seek to replace national systems but to facilitate the transfer between them.

The European commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel', explained the significance of this initiative: "For the first time in history, we are able to introduce a credit transfer scheme in vocational education and training. ECVET will make it much easier for individual trainees to complete their training courses in different training establishments and in different countries, thereby boosting mobility of learners throughout Europe. This is an even more remarkable achievement, given that there are over 30,000 vocational training establishments around the EU."

This new initiative aims to build on the success of ECTS, the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System in higher education. Originally introduced in 1989, the ECTS has improved transparency and facilitated the recognition of study components done in another country than one’s own.

Education systems in Europe are highly fragmented and often complex. Vocational education and training are no exception in this respect. The number of different qualifications and procedures, even within one country, can make it difficult to transfer the results of learning from one system, or learning context, to another.

By facilitating such transfer situations, the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) supports citizens' mobility and gives them better access to lifelong learning, whether in formal, non-formal or informal contexts. In ECVET, units of learning outcomes are defined with an associated number of credit points. This in turn helps qualification-awarding authorities in the Member States to translate learning outcomes and associated points acquired elsewhere into their own vocational training qualifications system.

ECVET is fully compatible with both the European credit system in higher education and national systems in vocational education and training. The Commission’s proposal takes the form of a recommendation, now submitted for approval to the European Parliament and the Council. Member States would eventually adopt it on a voluntary basis and implement it according to their own rules.

The Commission has also put forward plans for a new reference tool that would help Member States exchange best practice in vocational education and training policies. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF), which is the subject of a separate Recommendation, aims at increasing transparency and consistency of policy developments in this field. Member States are invited to improve their quality management practices by applying this set of common criteria and indicative descriptors and measure their policies against it.

Useful links:

European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training

DG Education and Culture: ECVET

http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/ecvet/index_en.html

Quality Assurance in vocational education and training:

DG Education and Culture: European Network on Quality Assurance in VET: http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/2010/qualitynet_en.html

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop): Quality assurance in VET: http://www.trainingvillage.gr/etv/Projects_Networks/quality/

Annex:

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

ECVET – the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training:

In ECVET, learning outcomes acquired by an individual in different contexts, whether this is abroad or under another system, can be easily transferred to the individual's home context for accumulation and the achievement of a qualification.


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