This group aims to connect professionals working in the field of quality assurance in vocational education and training, managerial and administrative staff, teachers and trainers, consultants and researchers working in quality assurance.
The group members will exchange information, ideas and practices related to quality assurance, application of EQAVET and EFQM principles in their organisations, problems and pitfalls, suggestions for improvement, solutions.
While the group originates from the EU project BEQUAL, and its successors BEQUAL+ and EXPANDVET, it is open to everyone person working on the theme and wants to be part of our community.
This group aims to connect professionals working in the field of quality assurance in vocational education and training, managerial and administrative staff, teachers and trainers, consultants and researchers working in quality assurance.
The evaluation of a training course is becoming a standard procedure; the training courses that are funded by European programmes or ESF have evaluation as a requirement, but it is expanding also in private funded training courses. Every training organization, more or less, has a procedure for the final evaluation of training courses. Typically, the evaluation is being done through an evaluation questionnaire. And then someone processes the questionnaires, analyses the results and provides suggestions and recommendations for improvement. Or at least, that is the way it should be…
I remember back in 2007, when we organized our first in-service training course for staff in adult education. Before that we had developed a large number of evaluation questionnaires for different purposes. But at that point, we decided to develop a standard questionnaire for our international training courses, one that we can use in every course and can help us improve ourselves. For the development of that evaluation questionnaire, we spent a lot of time. We worked in a team, to think about the aspects of the organization and delivery of the training course that we wanted to evaluate. There are so many things that we want to have the feedback of the trainees!! We want to know about the motivation of the trainees to choose our training course among so many others, we want to ask about the the quality of the training course and learning materials, for the trainers and for the social programme. We give particular emphasis to receive the comments of the participants, as with close questions we get the overall feeling but we cannot capture details. And we care very much about the details. We want to ask everything, but we also want a short questionnaire, so that people can fill-it-in in 5 minutes. We spent time to phrase carefully the questions, to revise the questionnaire again and again to make it short but comprehensive. And after using the questionnaire in that first evaluation course, we revised it once more.
Now, in every training course that we organize since then, we use the same standarised questionnaire. Therefore, we can compare results over time and improve our services continuously. With the time, we have improved many aspects of the training course and now we think that we have reached high quality standards.
Two weeks ago, we organized a five-days training course for a team of 10 women entrepreneurs and managers from the Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts in Lithuania. The group consisted of high qualified trainees; most of them had postgraduate degrees and extensive working experience in demanding positions. These women left their daily businesses for a week and they had high expectations from the training course. Our job was to deliver a high quality training course and provide also a social programme for first time visitors in Greece.
The evaluation showed an overall satisfaction, however, there were some points that were not so good and needed our attention. The points that were raised were not in our immediate influence: they complained about poor internet connection in the hotel and poor taxi services. The truth is that it was the first time to organize a training course in a hotel in Athens; we normally use our training room in Piraeus and we have a number of service providers including hotels, restaurants that we use and we trust. For this training course, we had selected a 4-star hotel in the centre of Athens, so that our hosts can minimize time spent on travelling and spend more time in sightseeing. The issue of the taxi drivers is known. We always inform our hosts that they should pay attention to taxi drivers.
Nevertheless, as a hosting organization, we need to keep our visitors satisfied in every aspect of their study visit. Therefore, following this experience, we have designed corrective actions for these two points, to minimize the same problems in the future.
- Regarding the hotel, we have developed a check list and we will make sure that someone will pay a visit to the hotel to check everything before the organization of the training course.
- Regarding the taxi services, we will provide our hosts information about taxi companies and the option to prebook a taxi waiting in the airport.
Wednesday 25 September 2013
IDEC organised the conference "Quality in vocational education and training" in company's premises in Piraeus. 25 people from the field of education and training participated in the conference, representing private and public organisations. Participants expressed their interest for the evolutions in the field of education at European and national level and especially in the field of quality assurance, validation, accreditation and transparency of qualifications.
In the conference in was presented the European projects BEQUAL+ and EXPANDVET, the European and national framework for quality in lifelong learning, methodologies and tools for quality assurance, continuous professional development of staff and teachers in LLL and the development of generic skills and competencies needed in the labour market.
Lithuanian VET institutions may already use the electronic quality comparison tool on the site www.bequal.info to evaluate themselves at national and European level. The site is now available in the Lithuanian language, so filling in an electronic questionnaire which enables a comparative analysis of the quality of the processes will not be difficult.
In a four-part questionnaire the planning, performance, evaluation, feedback and process improvement are evaluated. In the “My Statistics“ section each institution may view its own results, and compare their strengths and weaker areas with other training organizations in Lithuania and other European countries.
BEQUAL statistics summarise the data, categorising it by country or by type of organization and etc. If the answers from a VET institution place it among the best 20 percent, the institution may present their best practice example and for 18 months may advertise for free on the site, that operates in 11 different languages.
The operation of national versions of the site and opportunities of using all facilities of the site were discussed in the second meeting of the project TOI EXPAND QUALITY ASSURANCE IN VET (BENCHMARKING TOOL) LLP-LdV-TOI-2012-LT-0117 by partners from Lithuania, Poland, Austria and the United Kingdom on 23-24 May in Lodz.
Six months after the first meeting in Greece it was important to evaluate the performance of the first half of the year, to discuss the problems in adapting and improving the benchmarking tool in individual countries, to define a single set of best practice criteria, and to plan the tasks for the next six months.
According to the project’s coordinator Ausra Giedriene (VET chief specialist from Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts) , the project partners are Greek training and consulting company "IDEC" (who implemented the original BEQUAL project), Kaunas Vocational Training Centre for Service Business Specialists, Norton Radstock College (United Kingdom), The Faculty of Management of The University of Lodz (Poland) and the BEST continuing vocational training institute (Austria).
Brochures in all of the project partners' national languages (including Lithuanian) have been published. These brochures present to VET institutions the EXPANDVET project’s innovative content, opportunities to evaluate themselves in a broad context and opportunities to estimate the strengths and weaknesses of their quality processes. It is also possible to connect to the European educational institutions network, to interact with colleagues from other countries, and to participate in discussions via social networking, to share the best practices.
Project EXPANDVET transfers innovation to Lithuania, Poland, Austria and the United Kingdom coming from Greece, France, Germany, Romania, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Turkey. The quality assurance tool and e-platform are taken from the previous transfer of innovation project BEQUAL+, therefore it is planned for EXPANDVET representatives to participate in final conference of that project to ensure the continuity of innovation.
The TOI EXPAND QUALITY ASSURANCE IN VET (BENCHMARKING TOOL) LLP-LdV-TOI-2012-LT-0117 project objectives:
· To examine the existing approaches for quality assurance in participating countries
· To transfer, adapt and pilot the benchmarking tool in Lithuania, Austria, Poland and United Kingdom.
· To develop the Lithuanian and Polish language versions of the thematic portal.
· To enrich the thematic portal with various content, documents, links, articles, videos.
· To disseminate and promote the benchmarking tool at regional, national and European level.
· To collaborate in development of products and quality assurance practices.
The project is implemented by 6 partners from 5 EU countries. The consortium is based on the objective of using the best European practice in the field of quality assurance systems in VET.
The following outcomes of the project are expected:
- An on-line benchmarking tool, which offers VET institutions the possibility to compare their quality processes and practices and to identify their strong points and processes to be improved compared to competing institutions. The core of the benchmarking tool is a multiple choice questionnaire to be filled in by VET providers. Each institution has to self-assess its state of fulfilment of the indicator in question and to compare its results with similar institutions operating in the same country and/or in other countries. The tool offers VET stakeholders, policy makers and consultants information on which indicators have a good degree of fulfilment by the majority of VET institutions concerned and which points need to be further enhanced. The benchmarking tool is hosted in the thematic portal.
- A web based quality sharing network and good practice centre establishing a Community of Practice (CoP) in the field of quality assurance in VET. The establishment of the CoP also involves a series of networking activities for VET stakeholders and practitioners, blogging in the thematic portal, and creation of profiles on Facebook and Twitter.
- A thematic portal on quality assurance in VET, hosted at the address www.bequal.info. The portal includes the following functions: Online benchmarking tool, the good practice centre, statistics, blogs, news and news feeds, links, library, resources and articles, polls, the on-line login module and information on the project. The portal is multilingual. The national versions are not identical to the English one.
The project is funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme, managed by the Education Exchanges Support Foundation in the Republic of Lithuania. The material represents the grant recipient, but not the Education Exchanges Support Foundation, the European Commission or their institutions points of view. The European Commission is not responsible for the content of the material and the possible use of the information.
The DG Education and Culture has announced the Lifelong Learning Programme call for proposals 2013. This year's strategic priorities are the same with the 2012 ones:
- Develop strategies for lifelong learning and mobility
- Encourage cooperation between the worlds of education, training and work
- Support initial and continuous training of teachers, trainers and education and training institutions' managers
- Promote the acquisition of key competences throughout the education and training system
- Promote social inclusion and gender equality in education and training, including the integration of migrants and Roma
The deadlines to keep in mind are:
|Comenius Individual Pupil Mobility||03/12/2012|
|Comenius, Grundtvig: in-service training||16/01/2013, 30/04/2013 and 17/09/2013|
|Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Grundtvig: multilateral projects, networks and accompanying measures||31/01/2013|
|Leonardo da Vinci: multilateral projects for the Transfer of Innovation||31/01/2013|
|Leonardo da Vinci: Mobility (including the Leonardo da Vinci mobility certificate); Erasmus: Intensive Language Courses (EILC)||01/02/2013|
|Jean Monnet programme||15/02/2013|
|Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci, Grundtvig: partnerships; Comenius: Comenius Regio partnerships; Grundtvig: workshops||21/02/2013|
|Erasmus: intensive programmes (IP), students mobility for studies and placements (including the Erasmus consortium placement certificate) and staff mobility (teaching assignments and staff training)||08/03/2013|
|Grundtvig: Assistantships, Senior Volunteering Projects||28/03/2013|
|Transversal programme: Key activity 1 — Study visits||28/03/2013 and 15/10/2013|
|Transversal programme: all other activities||28/02/2013|
This is the theme of the 2012 Global Youth Video Competition organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
So what is the big issue in education and skills today?
- Learning the right skills to get a job,
- Bridging the 'digital divide',
- Tackling inequality in access to education and training,
- Inspiring creativity and innovation,
- ... or something else?
Participants of 18 to 25 years old are invited to make a short video (no more than 3 minutes) on the theme of Education and Skills and submit it to OECD till 31 March 2012. The 3 winners will be announced on 16 April 2012 and will get as prize an all expenses-paid trip to Paris, France to attend the OECD Forum on 22-24 May 2012.
To learn more about the competition visit the 2012 Global Youth Video Competition website.
Erasmus for All is the new programme proposed by the European Commission for education, training, youth and sport. It is planned to start in 2014 and it is expected to significantly increase the funds allocated for the development of knowledge and skills.
Erasmus for All would bring together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes with one: Lifelong Learning (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius and Grundtvig), Youth in Action, and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This will increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for grants, as well as reducing duplication and fragmentation.
The programme will support the following types of actions:
- Learning opportunities for individuals, both within the EU and beyond, including: study and training, traineeships, teaching and professional development and non-formal youth activities such as volunteering.
- Institutional cooperation between educational institutions, youth organisations, businesses, local and regional authorities and NGOs, to encourage the development and implementation of innovative practices in education, training and youth activities, and to promote employability, creativity and entrepreneurship.
- Support for policy reform in Member States and cooperation with non-EU countries, with a focus on strengthening the evidence-base for policy making and exchange of good practices.
- A loan guarantee scheme to help Master's degree students to finance their studies abroad and to acquire the skills needed for knowledge intensive jobs.
- The creation of 400 'knowledge alliances' and 'sector skills alliances'. Knowledge alliances are large-scale partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship by offering new learning opportunities and qualifications. Sector skills alliances are partnerships between education and training providers and businesses to promote employability by forming new sector-specific curricula and innovative forms of vocational teaching and training.
Up to 5 million people, almost twice as many as now, could get the chance to study or train abroad with a grant from Erasmus for All. Among them would be nearly 3 million higher education and vocational students. In general Erasmus for All is open to all learners and trainers, through any public or private body active in education, training, youth and sport. It will support formal and non-formal learning experiences and activities across all sectors.
The latest issue of the ECVET magazine (issue No.6 November 2011) is now available to the public.
The ECVET Magazine is published five times per year by the ECVET network.
The objectives of the ECVET Magazine are threefold:
- to inform about activities and initiatives to test and implement ECVET by Member States or by stakeholders in form of projects;
- to disseminate information about the of the ECVET pilot projects funded through the centralised actions of the Lifelong Learning Programme;
- to announce the activities of the ECVET Network.
All issues of the ECVET magazine are now available from BEQUAL portal through our ECVET documents section.
The BEQUAL Community of Practice is expanding. The BEQUAL project results will be transferred to Bulgaria, Italy and Turkey in the newly approved transfer of Innovation project BEQUAL+.
With BEQUAL+ project, the portal and the benchmarking tool will be made available in Bulgarian, Italian and Turkish, the Community will expand to include more VET institutions from the new countries, the benchmarking tool will gather more entries - benchmarks, the selection of good practices will be enriched. In parallel, we will continue to enrich the portal with articles, interviews and blog entries, so as to foster discussion on quality assurance issues and promote international cooperation and exchange of experience in quality assurance.
BEQUAL+ is led by the National Agency of Vocational Education and Training (NAVET) of Bulgaria. Partners are: Industry Watch Group from Bulgaria, IDEC from Greece, Development for Vocational Technical Education Centre (METGEM) of University of Bahcesehir in Turkey, Development Agency of Empoli (ASEV), Italy.
The kick-off meeting will take place in Sofia on 10-11 of November 2011.
The 2nd conference of the QALLL project (Quality Assurance in LifeLong Learning with a Focus on Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education) will take place on November 28th 2011, in Berlin, Germany. It is titled "Reaching mutual trust...Quality assurance that works" and it includes interactive working groups and sessions highlighting the latest trends in the quality assurance field.
The conference is addressed to education professionals and experts, project contractors of the European Lifelong Learning Programmes Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig, policy makers, national authorities, social partner representatives and other stakeholders interested in quality assurance in vocational education and training and adult education.
Eurypedia is an EU website that aims to present the most accurate picture of national education systems across Europe. It includes information about specific education systems as well as analysis of educational issues at European level. In total 38 school and university systems are presented in this European educational website, that was developed by Eurydice Network.
Eurypedia was launched on October 2011 and all its contents are expected to be finalised by December 2011.
This meeting is organised in the framework of the European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR) Annual Conference 2011, that is being held in Athens, Greece, on 10 and 11 November 2011.
The Conference will highlight two main issues at stake for providers of services to persons with disabilities. On Day 1, participants will gain insight into the challenges of reintegrating youngsters. On Day 2, the Conference will explore the role of human resources in relation to the quality of rehabilitation services, and discuss how to optimise the use and management of staff.
The event "Outcome Measurement in Vocational Rehabilitation" will take place on 9 November 2011, during the afternoon session. This event is only open to EPR members.
The European Platform for Rehabilitation (EPR) is a network of European providers of rehabilitation services to people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups.
The Lifelong Learning VETWORKS project transfers the SPEAK instrument in six countries (Austria, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain and Hungary). SPEAK system is an innovative tool for strategic planning, evaluation and knowledge management for projects realised in the area of Vocational Education and Training. SPEAK provides a multi-stakeholder approach to national VET networks and advances their effectiveness and efficiency by using the European common quality assurance framework as a reference framework for implementation. In accordance with the Helsinki goals, the project will improve educational planning and training delivery within local, regional and sectoral VET networks in order to become a world quality reference and develop a common culture of quality improvement.
This Eurobarometer survey aims to record the opinion of European citizens on vocational education and training. It was carried out through interviews of 26,840 European citizens aged 15 and above from all EU Member States.
Main topics of analysis of the survey were the image of vocational education and training, people’s impression of VET’s potential benefits within the EU, the impact of VET on society and on the economy and the factors that influence young people as they choose between VET and other forms of education.
Key findings include:
- Positive image of vocational education and training linked to quality
- Strong employment prospects
- Need to improve mobility for training and work
- Economic and social impact, challenges for entrepreneurship and support to sustainable development
- Need for improvements in guidance services
The report has particular importance now as it will provide guidance to the work of the European Commission and Member States as they implement the VET strategy.
Read the full report.
A new generation of vocational schools is going to emerge next year in United Kingdom. In these schools businesses will have active role and will help shape the curriculum. This way the training provided by the schools will meet their requirement for skilled workers.
These schools are known as university technical colleges and some of the known companies that will sponsor them are BlackBerry, Toshiba, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Hewlet Packard and Cisco. The schools will attract students of 14 to 19 year olds and some of the focus topics to be taught are amongst others engineering and life sciences.
Read the full article at guardian.co.uk.
The 2011 edition of Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), enables countries to see themselves in the light of other countries’ performance. It provides a broad array of comparable indicators on education systems and represents the consensus of professional thinking on how to measure the current state of education internationally.
The indicators show who participates in education, how much is spent on it and how education systems operate. They also illustrate a wide range of educational outcomes, comparing, for example, student performance in key subjects and the impact of education on earnings and on adults’ chances of employment.
The European Training Foundation has recently published the ETF Yearbook 2011, which focuses on the role of social partners in the fields of vocational education and training, lifelong learning and active labour market policies.
The 120 pages yearbook is written by ETF staff and it concentrates on a broad thematic analysis of the role and function of social partnership in VET in partner countries. Through the analysis and reflections on the topics it is expected to facilitate policy learning in EU partner countries.
IDEC, a company committed to serve in practice lifelong learning, based in Piraeus Greece, organises the training course International Development Officer, registered in the Grundtvig database. The course will take place in Piraeus, Greece on 19-23 March 2012.
Training fees as well as travelling and subsistence expenses can be fully funded by Grundtvig programme in service training grants. Grants must be requested by the National Agency of your country by 16/09/2011.
In the attached files you can find more information and the registration form. If you are interested to participate, please fill in the registration form and return it to the contact details indicated in it.
The number of participants in each training course is 16 and applications will be treated in priority order.
Lifelong learning is essential for everyone, for improving self confidence, quality of life, vocational skills and competencies. Lifelong learning programme presents unique opportunities to get funding and participate in European training courses, where apart from concrete learning outcomes, you will have the chance to meet people from various countries, share social and intercultural experiences and spend an enjoyable week in a foreign country.
The training fees and the travelling and subsistence expenses can be fully funded by Grundtvig programme in service training grants. For a list on the registered training courses you can visit the official Comenius - Grundtvig training database. Grants must be requested by the National Agency of your country.
The upcoming deadline for submitting an application for a grant to your National Agency is 16/9/2011.
If you are interested in participating in one of CEDEFOP's study visits, then you still have time to apply! The online application for the March - June 2012 study visits is open and will be open till 14 October 2011.
CEDEFOP study visits include presentations and on-site visits for groups of 10-15 persons and for 3-5 days to ministries, educational and training institutions, training sites, etc. The visits provide a forum for discussion, exchange and learning on themes of common interest and on European and national priorities.
Who can apply: directors of guidance centres, educational and vocational training inspectors, head teachers, teacher trainers, heads of departments, pedagogical or guidance advisers, representatives of education and training networks and association, trade union representatives etc.
How can you apply?
- Check if you are eligible to participate
- Contact your national agency for more information
- Consult the programme documents in CEDEFOP's study visits call for applications 2011/12 webpage
- Fill in your application online (around 45 minutes) and send the printed version to your national agency
The selection results will be communicated to applicants by January 2012 from the national agencies.
For more information on the planned study visits for 2011/2012 check out the official catalogue.
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