latest issue of ECVET Magazine is now available for download. ECVET Magazine N°4 - April 2011.
The topics of this issue: *an editorial by Christian Lettmayr, Acting Director of Cedefop; *an article about the results of the OPIR-Project, based on the OPIR final conference on 18-19 February in Brussels; *an article on the designing and testing of mobility units developed by the Aerovet project; *an article on the CREDCHEM project about developing and testing a credit system on enhancing the mobility in the chemical sector; *an article on the M.O.T.O project, which tests ECVET in practice on mobility in the tourism sector; *an article by Cedefop on the general stage of development of ECVET in Europe; *a snapshot from the seventh ECVET pilots projects seminar in Vienna; and a series of news items.
Download ECVET Magazine N°1 - June 2010. ECVET Magazine N°2 - October 2010. ECVET Magazine N°3 - January 2011.ECVET Magazine N°4 - April 2011.
The way forward: preparing for introducing ECVET

The Cedefop monitoring identifies eight types of strategic action lines in the current progress towards ECVET implementation.
Strategy 1: Setting up broad range testing initiatives. Testing is carried out within national initiatives such as the FINECVET initiative in Finland or the DECVET initiative in Germany. There are also initiatives focusing on specific qualifications (e.g. in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Belgium/Wallonia starting in 2011). In most cases, these initiatives informed the decisions of the main policy-making stakeholders (i.e. ministries or qualifications authorities). The initiatives receive a specific budget line and are co-financed by national and European budgets.
Strategy 2: Measuring impact (theoretical and methodological approaches). This strategy is common to the Czech Republic, Germany, Finland and Austria for instance. In Austria a feasibility study analysed the legal and organisational status-quo of various Austrian VET options regarding their ECVET readiness; it delivered evidence to underpin the policy decision to start developing ECVET for European mobility.
Strategy 3: Updating VET legislations and regulations. Legislations and regulations are updated, taking on board some (or all) technical features of ECVET. This is the case in Luxembourg, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia, and Italy or at regional level (such as in Catalonia).
Strategy 4: Adapting qualifications systems. ECVET or elements of ECVET are introduced within activities for adapting qualifications systems, such as the renewal of curricula (in Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia within the European Social Fund programme ‘Modernising the content of VET’ in 2007-2013), the development of partial qualifications (such as in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain), the development of validation mechanisms (in Germany or the Czech Republic for instance) and the renewal of educational standards (such as in Austria).
Strategy 5: A ‘wait and see’ strategy. In Cyprus or Norway, ECVET developments at national and European levels are observed and discussed. For the time being, no concrete action plan has been defined. Both countries are represented in the European ECVET Users Group.
Strategy 6: Combining ECVET with NQF development. In some Member States such as Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic, ECVET is considered as part of the development of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). In Poland this happens in the framework of the Human Capital Operational Programme (2007-13); in Greece it is linked to the renewal of the education and training institutional set-up. For the two countries already having a qualifications framework (England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI-UK/QCF) and Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)), the frameworks have been revised to accommodate credit transfer.
Strategy 7: Learning by working in European ECVET projects. This strategy consists of leading or participating in European, national, regional or sector-related ECVET projects and bundling the experiences. The European ADAM database1 registers 111 projects dealing with ECVET in Europe, the earliest ones dating back to 2003. A large number of countries and sectors are represented in those projects.
Strategy 8: Marketing ECVET to the stakeholders. Different Member States are working on developing information materials. In Austria a working group is writing guidelines for ECVET implementation for the purpose of mobility exchanges. It addresses VET practitioners who are involved in transnational mobility projects (e.g. teachers, people responsible for mobility, project sponsors from VET schools and colleges, part-time vocational schools for apprentices, training enterprises, and sectoral organisations). In Poland stakeholders are preparing guidelines, typical procedures and model documents. The third phase of FINECVET includes the publication of a handbook on the implementation of ECVET at the different stages of mobility (before, during and after). During the ECVET forum (July 2010) the French delegate announced the development of information materials on ECVET.
ECVET is currently in its next phase of development which started with the release of the European Recommendation in July 2009. This phase is intended to last until 2014, when the European Commission will evaluate the progress made and report to the European Parliament and Council. The first monitoring of the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) developments, elaborated by Cedefop in 2010, confirms that ECVET is gaining momentum in national VET policy contexts. ECVET is taken forward within national and regional education and training systems, within European projects and national or regional initiatives. National initiatives and project activities are equally important for ECVET implementation, although ensuring transfer from experimentation to policy-making in order to innovate education and training, is a complicated matter...
Credit systems impact on the structure of qualifications (via the design of units and the setting up of credit points) as well as on progression and transition in education and training (by setting up rules for accumulation and transfer). The extent of ECVET impact will depend on the field of implementation (for international mobility or for reforms) and the political/regulatory anchorage and support to credit arrangements in qualifications systems. Discussions are currently being held on the necessary level of formalisation and regulation for the deployment of ECVET. The recognition of learning outcomes after a mobility period requires agreements at different levels (and this links to the European validation principles). Currently some would advocate that this can be done on the basis of existing mutual trust and experiences. Others consider that a higher degree of formalisation is requested since it ECVET relates to changes in VET systems (for instance on modularisation or the development of partial qualifications). The level of formalisation and regulations depends on traditions and regimes of VET and qualifications systems; this will be an issue for further analysis.