'Learning outcomes are here to stay but a lot of work remains to be done'. The latest issue of the magazine includes interesting articles on the ECVET network's life and on the latest developments on ECVET.
Edito - Question time - By Carlo Scatoli Policy Officer at the European Commission – Adult Education and Continuing VET.
Questions. For us who deal with ECVET and other European instruments on skills, credits, quality and qualifications, this is the season when question marks bloom.
Blooming started earlier for Europass, EQF and EQAVET, early enough for first answers to find their way to the public debate: the external evaluation reports are available on the Europa website (Cf. http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/more_info/evaluations/index_en.htm), as are the reports that the Commission submitted to the European Parliament and the Council (Cf. EQF http://ec.europa.eu/eqf/documentation_en.htm).
The first report on ECVET by an external evaluation team will soon be available, presenting findings, considerations, conclusions and recommendations. Five years after the adoption of its legal basis, it is the time for ECVET community to look back and reflect on itself. Is ECVET still relevant in the current policy context? Is there cooperation with other transparency tools? What is the benefit for learners and other stakeholders? Is ECVET supporting people in VET, is it helping them train abroad? Is it supporting their mobility? And many more – the terms of reference include 43 question marks.
Still, the report on ECVET that the Commission will submit in 2014 to the European legislative bodies will take advantage of further questions. This newsletter is released still within the four month span, from mid-De - cember 2013 to 15 April 2014, during which citizens and organisations are invited to participate in the open consultation on a European area of skills and qualifications (EA-SQ). I am sure many of you have contributed already and others will soon follow.
Just in case you have not yet received the invitation to participate in the open consultation on a European area of skills and qualifications, here is the link: http://ec.europa.eu/ dgs/education_culture/more_info/ consultations/skills_en.htm
The objective of the EA-SQ is to ensure that citizens who look for a job or further learning – anywhere in the European area – can trust that their skills and their qualifications will be appropriately understood, appreciated, recognised. This covers a great deal of situations – from recognition of foreign qualifications to good com - munication between jobseekers and employers. The purpose of ECVET is to allow people who develop skills in a training environment to have those skills recorded, assessed and certified as a credit that can be cumulated and transferred. This helps people by ma - king their learning opportunities more flexible, facilitating mobility across countries, transfer across sectors and institutions of education and training, compatibility with working life.
It looks very much like implementing ECVET in a satisfactory way does contribute to the objective of the EA-SQ, doesn’t it? If the knowledge, skills and competence you have developed are packed into “units of learning outcomes” – as we say in ECVET –, do they actually become easier to be understood, appreciated, recognised? What does the ECVET experience so far tell us about that? Such questions have been addressed in a special meeting of the ECVET Users’ Group on 13 March 2014. Representatives of countries and social partners have gone through the issues raised in the open consultation, focusing on what the ECVET experience could suggest. Their considerations will be gathered in a document that will be part of the response to the consultation.
The meeting on 13 March has been the first occasion to discuss such questions, others will follow: the Users Group meeting of 13-14 May will debate the final report of the external evaluation and the messages to convey to the European Parliament and the Council, which will also be tabled in the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training of 3 June, on 17 June a dedicated conference will discuss the EA-SQ, and the ECVET Forum of 30-31 October will have its share of question marks on ECVET’s next steps, and a few steps beyond. That was a long introduction, now it is time for questions and answers. See more in ECVET Magazine No 18 (March 2014)...