HEFCE has published the outcomes of its consultation on the future direction of quality assurance in higher education (notes 1 and 2).
The outcomes have been agreed by the HEFCE Board and will come into operation from the academic year 2013-14. They form a strong and positive package which puts students at its heart, and achieves better regulation by focusing effort where it is most needed. The revised approach, which builds on existing good practice, will protect and enhance the student experience through robust and rigorous reviews of the quality assurance of teaching and learning in universities and colleges, and the standards of their awards. Students will continue to play a key role, as central partners in the quality assurance and enhancement of their higher education experience.
Future institutional reviews will be more integrated, and more closely tailored to individual institutional circumstances. There will no longer be a mid-cycle review, and institutions with a longer track record of assuring their quality and standards will be reviewed every six years (note 3). HEFCE will formally ask the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to adopt the new approach, and the QAA will consult on implementing it in time for the 2013-14 academic year.
Minister for Universities, David Willetts, said:
'The sector has responded positively to HEFCE's consultation. These proposals cut the burden of red tape on our universities. As a result we will have a system that will focus the Quality Assurance Agency’s effort where it will have most impact, balancing better regulation with protecting the interests of students and supporting the enhancement of quality across the sector.'
HEFCE Chief Executive Sir Alan Langlands said:
‘Quality assurance is not simply about meeting a set of minimum standards. It drives improvement, dissemination of best practice and the achievement of excellence.
‘This is a balanced package of measures which recognises the crucial importance of student involvement in quality assurance and enhancement activities.
‘It will also result in better regulation through varying the frequency, nature and intensity of review.’
1. The publication is available on the HEFCE web-site. There were over 130 responses to the consultation. Over three-quarters of respondents supported the three key principles HEFCE had identified as essential to the risk-based approach:
- the retention of a universal system for higher education which continues to promote enhancement
- an approach which is robust and rigorous, enabling HEFCE to carry out its statutory duty to secure assessments of quality for higher education providers that have access to public funding
- an approach which enables students to continue to play a prominent role in assessing their own academic experiences.
There was also wide cross-sector support for a range of other proposals:
- to reduce unnecessary burden and achieve better regulation, targeting the QAA’s efforts where they are most needed
- to tailor external review to the individual circumstances of providers by modifying the frequency, nature and intensity of review
- to ensure transparency, for example through the application of clear criteria and the publication on the QAA website of a rolling programme of reviews.
2. The consultation followed a commitment in the Government’s higher education white paper, ‘Students at the heart of the system’, and subsequent technical consultation, to introduce ‘a risk-based quality assurance regime that focuses regulatory effort where it will have most impact’ and which would give greater prominence to the interests of students. The Government asked HEFCE ‘to consult on the criteria against which overall risk should be assessed and the frequency of review, with a view to achieving very substantial deregulatory change for institutions that can demonstrate low risk’. HEFCE was also asked to consult on ‘a set of ad hoc triggers which would be central to a risk-based approach to quality assurance’. (White paper, paragraph 3.20)
3. HEFCE is asking the QAA to discontinue any form of mid-cycle review given that there are already safeguards in place, such as the QAA’s Concerns Scheme, for institutions which have continuing issues to address between reviews. HEFCE is also asking the QAA to review those providers with a shorter track record of assuring quality and standards at a more frequent interval of four years. A small number of respondents to the consultation called for consideration of a ten-year review cycle for institutions with a longer track record of assuring their quality and standards, but HEFCE has concluded that the arguments in support of the student interest, continuous enhancement, safeguarding of the international reputation of UK higher education, and regular assessment under our statutory duty outweigh the calls for any longer interval.
Donating to universities and colleges in the UK is more widespread than ever before, according to a report published by HEFCE today.
‘Review of Philanthropy in UK Higher Education’ is a landmark report that sets out the success of universities and colleges over recent years in attracting philanthropic gifts from a more diverse range of donors. The report, produced by specialist fundraising consultants More Partnership, shows how universities and colleges have worked hard, with the support of Government, to deliver these gains.
According to the report, central to successful fundraising is the need for universities and colleges to have a clear identity and a compelling case for charitable support, which aligns with the institutional mission and with the interests of donors. Crucial to success is understanding what motivates donors to give. The most cited reasons are that they wish to see their donations making a real difference to students, and that they wish to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.
The review also highlights the importance of leadership from within universities and colleges for successful and sustained fundraising. Whereas in the past higher education looked to the US for good practice in fundraising, there is now a lot of expertise within the UK to be celebrated. There is potential to develop this pool of fundraising professionals, and encourage fundraising as an attractive career option.
The review also challenges conventional thinking around what makes for successful fundraising. The review makes a number of recommendations addressed to universities and colleges, to the Government and to HEFCE. It also sets out the challenges for the next decade, emphasising that fundraising is a long-term game that requires ongoing work in order to retain the support of donors.
Professor Shirley Pearce, Chair of the Review Group, said:
‘There has been a step-change in philanthropic giving to higher education over recent years. Successful institutions can be found right across the sector. They have shown strong leadership and have aligned their philanthropic goals to their academic strategy. Increasingly the UK is developing a body of good practice in fundraising and is developing the people it will need for the future. There is a real sense of momentum and this must be maintained. If the current trajectory continues, UK higher education institutions can expect to receive up to £2 billion per annum from some 630,000 donors by 2022'.
HEFCE Chief Executive, Sir Alan Langlands, said:
‘This report highlights the strong and continuing tradition of philanthropic giving to higher education. This is an important source of discretionary income, supporting activities beyond those met from core funding streams. The real beneficiaries here are those students whose lives have been changed and those who gain from the application of the knowledge created through the generosity of donors. We will do all we can to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations’.Notes
- The review can be found on the HEFCE web-site. A four-page summary is also available below.
Summary of key messages and recommendations Download the Review of philanthropy summary
- The review of philanthropy was set up in January 2012 by HEFCE to address the next decade’s challenges in increasing voluntary giving to higher education. The review was chaired by Professor Shirley Pearce, former Vice‑Chancellor of Loughborough University. The other review members were:
- Nick Blinco, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, University of Birmingham
- Rory Brooks, Founder, Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Foundation
- Professor Sir Richard Trainor, Principal, King’s College London
- Martin Williams, Director of Higher Education Strategy, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
- Fundraising consultancy, More Partnership, was commissioned by HEFCE to produce the report following review of data and relevant literature, interviews with institutions and donors, and an open consultation with stakeholders.
Today, the Business Secretary Vince Cable is launching a new web-site that features a standardised set of data called the Key Information Set (KIS). The completely revised Unistats web-site provides extensive information for over 31,000 courses in the UK, including student satisfaction ratings, graduate salaries and employment, tuition fees and financial support, and the cost of accommodation.
The new KIS data have been collated after consulting students about the information they find most useful when they are choosing higher education courses. The data for each course link directly to the relevant course webpage, which provides more detail on what the course contains and how it will be taught.
For the first time prospective students will be able to search and compare information about courses across the UK, focusing on the factors that are most important for them. They will also be able to create a shortlist of their favourite courses and create a detailed comparison page, to make it easier to compare their options. Results from the 2012 National Students’ Survey, published today, will also be included in the site.
Dr Cable said:
'Applying to university is a big decision and we want to ensure that all students, whatever their background, have the key facts at their fingertips to help them make the right choice for them. The introduction of the Key Information Set represents a major step forward for students, their parents, and their school and college advisers.'
HEFCE Chief Executive, Sir Alan Langlands, said:
'This the first time that students will have ready access to reliable, impartial information in an easily accessible format. I greatly appreciate the hard work and commitment of universities and colleges in providing the data and enhancing the information that is available about higher education.'
Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and Chair of the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group which led the development of the Key Information sets, said:
'Research into the information students most want to see has underpinned the development of Key Information Sets. The KIS includes the information that students say they need to make informed choices and that is published where they want to see it.
'Of course Key Information Sets do not provide the complete picture and should not be used as the sole basis for making a decision where to study, that was never the intention. They provide an excellent starting point for anyone considering a degree and the basis for further investigation. I’m hugely confident they will be a success.'
Rachel Wenstone, NUS Vice President (Higher Education) said:
'The Key Information Set is a new addition to the wide variety of resources students need to make sure they make the right application choices.
'This information needs to be combined with an understanding of the learning environment, the relationship between students and staff, as well as the role of student representation, all of which are such important factors in empowering individuals to make the right choices for them.
'We need to see a continued commitment from the higher education sector to provide increasingly relevant and contextualised information to prospective applicants, and this should be seen as another step on that journey.'
Dr Cable will see the new Unistats site go live during a visit to Strode College in Street, Somerset this morning.
- The higher education (HE) White Paper 'Students at the Heart of the System' (June 2011) set out the expectation that higher education institutions would provide a standard set of comparable information about their courses (the Key Information Set), by September 2012.
- The KIS covers full-time and part-time undergraduate higher education courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for 2013-14 which subscribe to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). It also covers undergraduate programmes taught through further education colleges in England and Wales (this applies to colleges funded indirectly through a higher education institution and for courses HEFCE funds directly). The KIS does not cover short courses (one year full-time equivalent or less), postgraduate courses, those delivered entirely overseas, or closed courses.
- Developments to the KIS have been made in collaboration with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Department of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland, Universities UK, GuildHE and the Association of Colleges. Unistats covers all HEIs in the UK and HE courses in further education colleges in England and Wales. It is overseen by the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (HEPISG), chaired by Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.
- The development of the KIS has resulted from the following research, consultation and pilot study:
- The views of 2,000 prospective and current students (collected during research in 2010 by Oakleigh Consulting and Staffordshire University)
- Responses to the consultation HEFCE 2010/31
- Four expert working groups considered specific parts of the KIS
- A pilot study with eight institutions
- User testing in late 2011 and early 2012 across England, Scotland and Wales with more than 200 prospective HE students.
- More information can be found on our page about KIS research and development.
- Unistats data will also be used by other web-site providers. For example, Which? have already launched their guide and will shortly be updating their data to include Unistats data. The raw data that underlies the Unistats web-site is available for analysts and developers to download from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
- A separate press release is available today on the results of the 2012 National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS is one of the components of the KIS.
The Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) can be used to check that a UK higher education provider existed and was approved by the UK Government at any given date going back to 1990. Every UK university and college is listed in the database to provide a check on degree awarding status.
In response to a query, HEDD provides contact details to direct the user to the appropriate university or college records office. The service is also particularly useful for employers and postgraduate course providers who want to verify degree results, and can be used by graduates to request transcripts and replacement certificates.
Three universities, Manchester, Sheffield Hallam and Essex, have signed up and submitted their student records to the HEDD service and several more are in the pipeline. Together they are generating around 350 enquiries per month. Over 90 per cent of the enquiries are from screening and recruitment agencies, with almost half of these from overseas.
The main benefits of the service are fast and reliable verification, and improved efficiency. Universities using the system have reported a 50 per cent reduction in enquiry processing time as well as a positive effect on staff morale and productivity. The service reduces the burden of work on Registry teams by handling all customer service activity and providing automatic verification, where student data is available. Verification enquiries have been increasing significantly each year and cost English universities alone over £2 million in Registry resources.
Katie Britton, Verifications Manager at the University of Manchester, said:
‘Having HEDD has made a big impact on us – it’s much more convenient and easy to use than our old processes were, and it’s freed up so much time to spend on the other jobs we have to do.’
The service is one of several projects funded by HEFCE to support greater efficiency at universities and colleges and reduce costs over the medium term.The HEDD web-site provides more information, or contact email@example.com.
- HEDD is run by Graduate Prospects, the trading arm of Higher Education Careers Services Unit, which works to improve careers education and advice for graduates of UK universities. Graduate Prospects provides a range of shared services to the HE sector. The HEDD team is working with stakeholders including BIS, the CBI and the NUS, who have formally endorsed the service.
- Further details about HEFCE’s shared services projects are available here.
As a result of the massification of higher education and the increasing competitiveness in European and global higher education, many questions surrounding teaching and research quality have emerged in recent years. The primacy of research over teaching is increasingly debated. The higher education profession has changed significantly, with the emergence of a more explicit teaching role in universities and the development of more diverse and more active teaching methods, although work in this area remains largely uncoordinated, particularly in the social and human sciences. Though still limited in scope, original initiatives are beginning to emerge to promote the teaching component of higher education. Today, teaching excellence tends to be the main focus of attention, reigniting debates over higher education academics’ training and support.
We can no longer afford to assume that a good researcher automatically makes a good teacher or to think that ‘banking’ on self-training is a viable policy simply because it is consistent with the professional habitus of academics. We know that representations have a direct impact on teaching activities and that a learning-based approach is more effective than a content-based approach. Judging by recent initiatives taken in a number of countries and the increasing amount of research in this area, there appears to be an emerging consensus among both policy-makers and researchers on the importance of ‘pedagogical development’ among higher education staff. However, it is important to note that this trend has been encouraged by institutions rather than by academics, who, despite having training needs in areas such as strategies for teaching large classes and the development of more active teaching methods (based in particular on ICTs), are rarely prepared to devote more than two days a year to teacher training.
The first theoretical studies on educational development were conducted in North America in the late 1980s. The SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) has had an undeniable impact on both curricula and core skills. The aim is to bridge the gap between teaching and research and to show, through self-reflective practice and participation in action research, that teaching can meet the same standards as research. Pedagogical development involves a range of formal and informal approaches. The idea of compulsory training to enter the higher education profession or to obtain tenure has been actively promoted in a number of countries (including Australia, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). In some countries, the decision lies with institutions (Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States). In other countries, recent efforts have tended to focus on support and accompaniment (Belgium, Canada), while in France the main focus so far has been on doctoral training, notably with the CIES (Centres d’Initiation à l’Enseignement Supérieur).
The point is not to choose between ‘initial’ and ‘continuing’ training, but to combine them. As far as induction is concerned, research suggests that a training period of at least one year (combined with teaching) is required to develop new methods, but also, and above all, to change representations of learning. The aim may also be to promote ‘scientific’ teaching practices, to foster networking and to help higher education teachers understand the institutional context. Making higher education teacher training compulsory requires national guidelines and frameworks. Teacher training can only be effective in a favorable structural and cultural environment. The role of departments in particular is crucial to fostering closer links between research and teaching and encouraging exchanges between new entrants to the profession and more experienced staff, for example through mentoring systems and communities of practice.
While there is no formal continuing training system at present (in the sense of compulsory training), a wide range of initiatives have emerged in this area, although these are mostly local actions involving little or no inter-institutional coordination. There are conflicting views on whether to promote local actions in response to staff training needs or to opt for a more traditional form of service provision. Some advocate short tailored programs based on reflexive and contextualized practice, while others defend the idea of a more traditional form of training based on repeated interventions aimed at all staff. In either case, subject-specific interventions are considered to be a key part of training provision. Ultimately, the point is to promote multidimensional service delivery that integrates these approaches as part of a global approach to teacher training. In other words, it is not enough to provide lessons and conferences; it is also important to develop project support and action research and to develop tools and methods to assess teaching.
In higher education institutions, pedagogical development is generally the responsibility of one or several central bodies, which depend for their effective functioning on budget and resource allocations. The cases of Britain and Australia are good examples of issues in this area. In both countries, although the system was formalized several years ago, the services currently provided have yet to reach full maturity, especially in traditional universities. In France, the SUP (Services Universitaires de Pédagogie) are a relatively recent development. Created in the early 2000s, SUP are currently found in only 20% of universities and have only just formed a network. Regardless of the configuration of training, research suggests that there is a need for strong leadership (at both central and local levels) and for appropriate measurement tools to assess the impact of actions on both staff and the general functioning of institutions.
The question of the professionalization of academic advisors – and therefore their training – is a key issue in this respect. However, there are other important issues that also need to be addressed. Studies on the dynamics of change in higher education institutions have shown that relying on assessments of teaching and reward systems is not enough to promote skill development. While the role of individual actors is undeniable (particularly the role of academic leaders), departments and doctoral schools also have a key part to play. The point is to promote internal knowledge transfer in order to develop a learning organization capable of regenerating itself. Prior to this, higher education institutions must recognize that there is a problem that needs to be solved, while remaining careful not to exacerbate the tension between research and teaching.
Higher education teaching: a changing profession
The demand for excellence in teaching
Higher education has undergone unprecedented changes over the last 30 years, as shown by various studies by UNESCO (Global University Network for Innovation or GUNI) and the OECD (Institutional Management in Higher Education programme or IMHE). The image of universities as places exclusively devoted to knowledge production has changed, and the primacy of research over teaching is increasingly becoming a matter of debate.
These changes are part of a movement toward educational and pedagogical innovation – a trend promoted in Europe by the Bologna process and driven by the massification of higher education and by the increased social pressure on higher education institutions to ensure that the skills and knowledge they provide meet the needs of society (Romainville & Rege Colet, 2006).
At a meso level, the significant impact of ICT in higher education has contributed to promoting student-centered teaching models (Langevin et al., 2007), while at a micro level, the inherent tensions of the higher education profession have reignited the debate over research and teaching (Musselin, 2008).
In Europe, new questions surrounding the quality of teaching emerged in the 1990s, notably with the creation of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). The publication of the Dearing Report (United Kingdom, 1997) was another major landmark: for the first time, an official report explicitly challenged the link commonly made between excellence in research and excellence in teaching (Fanghanel & Trowler, 2007).
The perception of a close link between teaching and learning – a view held by a number of English-speaking scholars (Säljo, Entwistle, Ramsden, Prosser, Trigwell) and promoted in French-speaking Europe by authors such as Rege Colet and Romainville – favored the emergence of teaching resource centers and professional teacher development (de Ketele, 2010).
More recently, in the mid-2000s, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) addressed the question of excellence in teaching by defining guidelines for quality assurance management in European higher education (ENQA, 2005).
A recent study by the OECD (Hénard, 2010) identified a number of initiatives aimed at promoting teaching quality in member countries while emphasizing their empirical (and even experimental) nature. According to Hénard, the consolidation of these initiatives involves a range of measures, including support for the initiatives taken by the teaching profession.
These new directions represent a major challenge for higher education institutions. How should we define quality? What makes a good lesson? What makes a good teacher? It is not enough merely to assess outcomes; it is also important to focus on processes. In addition to the quality of teaching, it is also important to focus on questions related to the quality of teachers, including selection and promotion criteria, initial and continuing teacher training, and profiles of innovators in teaching (Parmentier, 2006). Recent research suggests that quality assurance and assessment provide a lever to promote the professional development of higher education teachers. Download PDF.
See also Savoir enseigner dans le supérieur: un enjeu d'excellence pédagogique and Le projet professionnel dans l’enseignement supérieur.
Young people and 'NEETs'
The aim of this project is to investigate the current situation of young people in Europe, focusing specifically on those who are not in employment, education or training, and to understand the economic and social consequences of their disengagement from the labour market and education. Member State initiatives to help reintegrate young people into the labour market are also investigated.
Definition: what is a NEET?
The term NEET is used to describe young people who are not engaged in any form of employment, education or training. The term has come into the policy debate in recent years due to disproportionate impact of the recession on young people (under 30 years old). The unemployment rate for those under thirty is nearly double the average rate. See full infographic Download the full report.
Who is at risk?
Those with low levels of education are three times more likely to be NEET than those with third-level education. The risk is 70% higher for young people from an immigration background than nationals while having a disability or health issue is also a strong risk factor. See full infographic.
Rates of NEETs across Europe
Some 14 million young people are not in employment, education or training across the EU as a whole. However rates vary widely from from around 5.5% of 15-24 year olds in the Netherlands to 22.7% in Italy. See full infographic.
The cost of NEETs to society
The economic cost of not integrating NEETs is estimated at over €150 billion, or 1.2% of GDP, in 2011 figures. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Poland are paying 2% or more of their GDP. See full infographic.
Disengagement from society
The economic cost is not the only one. Young people not in employment, education or training are at higher risk of being socially and politically alienated. They have a lower level of level of interest and engagement in politics and lower levels of trust. Even in those countries where NEETs are more politically engaged (such as Spain) they do not identify with the main actors.See full infographic.
EU Member States have tried a number of measures to prevent young people from becoming NEET and to reintegrate those who are NEETs. The involvement of a range of stakeholders in the design and delivery of youth employment measures is essential. In particular, a strong level of engagement with employers and their representatives is needed for measures that focus on fostering their beneficiaries’ employability. Successful policies are innovative. They introduce new ways of reaching out to their target groups, with outreach activities forming an important part of efforts to engage disfranchised young people, while incentives, ‘branding’ and marketing campaigns can be useful in the context of more universal youth employment services.See full infographic.
Establecer un espacio integrado por los Institutos Tecnológicos, las Universidades Tecnológicas y las Universidades Politécnicas, que permita el intercambio y la cooperación, para elevar la calidad de la educación en beneficio de la comunidad estudiantil y académica, así como establecer una plataforma que promueva su internacionalización.
Los procesos de colaboración entre las IES participantes permitirá desarrollar y fortalecer la calidad educativa, a través del reconocimiento mutuo de la competitividad, comparabilidad y compatibilidad de sus programas educativos de nivel licenciatura y posgrado.
Las estrategias y acciones pactadas en el seno de esta alianza, están orientadas esencialmente a elevar la competitividad económica y social de México, a través de una educación superior tecnológica basada en el desarrollo de competencias profesionales y en el aseguramiento de la calidad y la empleabilidad de los egresados de las instituciones participantes.
Articulación de esfuerzos en materia de docencia, investigación, vinculación y gestión social del conocimiento, que posibilitará el diálogo y la cooperación entre las instituciones de educación superior tecnológica de México y del extranjero.
Este evento permitirá reunir en un solo espacio a expertos internacionales y nacionales en la gestión de la calidad educativa con intención de fomentar y promover la mejora continua.
Se contará con empresas consultoras y organismos encargados de la certificación de la calidad educativa, así como también con los titulares y responsables a nivel nacional de las instancias encargadas de fomentar, fortalecer y acreditar la calidad educativa en las Instituciones y sus programas académicos de nivel Medio Superior y Superior.
Esperamos contar con su asistencia a este gran evento para poder compartir experiencias y situaciones actuales que pueden ayudar a mejorar la calidad de la educación en la Instituciones de Educación Media Superior y Superior.
Promover una cultura de mejora continua en instituciones educativas públicas y privadas, mediante la presentación de herramientas de vanguardia y experiencias por parte de expertos en el diseño, desarrollo, implementación y mantenimiento de los sistemas de gestión de la calidad, a fin de fortalecer y mejorar la calidad de los servicios de la Educación Media Superior y Superior.
The Festival of Non-Formal Education, organized by Adukatar has already become the traditional event in the professional communication, as well as a holiday for lots of teachers, andragogues, trainers and other people sharing the values of life-long learning and non-formal education. Underlining the role and possibilities of non-formal education in improving the quality of life and achieving the aims of regional development the festival seeks to:
- present non-formal education as a system providing the life-long development of social, civic, professional competencies and creativity;
- present a variety of programmes and the specific character of non-formal education approaches for all generations in different regions;
- encourage the experience exchange and establish partner relations among the participants;
- organize the discussion of tendencies and prospective development of non-formal education for different generations.
Please apply by October 22, 2012.
More information on the festival can be found on the Adukatar website.
See also III FESTIVAL OF NON-FORMAL EDUCATION.
The first version of this document was prepared by the ECVET Users’ Group on May 2011. This revised version includes key issues for quality assurance when using ECVET for mobility. It was also prepared by the ECVET Users’ Group on May 2012. By emphasising the quality assurance aspect the guide reflects the growing need for a coherent use of European tools that facilitate the transparency and recognition of skills and competences, notably the European QualificationsFramework (EQF), the EUROPASS and the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET (EQAVET). It is part of the series of guidance documents and notes which constitute the ECVET Users’ Guide.
The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) is a technical framework for the transfer, recognition and where appropriate, accumulation of individuals’ learning outcomes with a view to achieving a qualification. ECVET tools and methodology comprise the description of qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes with associated points, a transfer and accumulation process and complementary documents such as Learning Agreements, transcripts of records and ECVET users’ guides. Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council
The implementation of ECVET has two broad objectives:
• To support mobility of European citizens
• To facilitate lifelong learning
This document concerns the use of ECVET for geographical mobility, in particular mobility that is organised as an element of learners’ education and training pathways.
To support mobility, ECVET is expected to improve the possibilities for recognition of learning outcomes and thus to enable people to build on what they have learned abroad, in a different education and training institution or in different situations. In other words, thanks to ECVET, it should become easier to fully integrate mobility into learners’ learning pathways and to make visible and recognised what they have learned abroad. The success of ECVET will depend on the development of mutual trust among competent institutions.
ECVET is based on a set of technical components that are all underpinned by the use of learning outcomes. The technical components referred to in this document are defined in the ECVET Recommendation and further explained in the document entitled ECVET Questions and Answers. The relationship between the ECVET technical components and the ECVET objectives is schematically presented in Figure 1.
3 Quality in ECVET mobility
‘Piloting and testing is important to find out what work works well and what needs to be adjusted. Use your
experiences, even if they are partly negative, as sources to learn from.‘ Quote from a participant at a seminar of the ECVET pilot projects in autumn
The ECVET pilot projects, as well as other ECVET projects under the Lifelong Learning Programme and national ECVET projects, have developed approaches for the implementation of ECVET for geographical mobility. Many of these projects have carried out mobility exchanges in order to test the procedures and tools developed in practice and to revise them based on experience (feedback from teachers, students as well as results). Some tools are already available and those who want to start with ECVET can use them. In many cases, however, the tools will need to be adjusted when applied to other contexts to reflect the specificities of each partnership. Therefore, to ensure quality and to further improve the use of ECVET for geographical mobility, piloting, testing and reflecting on experiences are important aspects with regards to continuous improvement. However, it is recommended to map out evaluation and review procedures at the beginning.
The quality assurance procedures underpinning the use of ECVET for geographical mobility are based on the EQAVET quality circle: planning – implementation – evaluation – review. On the one hand, this circle applies to the process of arranging each specific mobility experience: from the planning of the mobility experience to credit recognition and continuation of the learner’s pathway. On the other hand, the quality circle also applies to the quality management of each mobility partnership. Ideally, ECVET is implemented in partnerships. They are set up to support regular mobility exchanges (larger numbers of learners) and are expected to last for a duration that is longer than a specific mobility exchange.
Therefore, two quality circles (one for individual learner mobility and another one for partnerships), using the same approach, can be distinguished and are summarised below. Download ECVET Mobility Guide - 2012.