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Opinions of European Union citizens about education and training and its quality

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The Eurobarometer survey was carried out in all 28 Member States between 26 April and 11 May where 28 000 people from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face. The survey provided important data on a number of issues that are relevant to current policies on education and skills in Europe. The survey highlights EU citizens’ attitudes towards the education that they have received and the priorities for education and training in their country, as well as their views on the most important aspects of education, and the main skills that education can provide. The survey was ran as a part of European Commission consultation on the European Area of Skills and Qualifications.

The main findings of this Eurobarometer survey on skills and qualifications are as follows:
• The most important aspects of education relate to individual teachers, in particular the teacher’s ability to engage and motivate students. This is also the area seen as needing the most improvement. The other aspects of education that are seen as in most need of improvement are learning environments that stimulate students’ creativity and curiosity (41%) and practical work experience with a company or organisation (37%).
• EU citizens acknowledge that various skills can be obtained outside of formal education, most notably foreign language skills and skills that can be used in different jobs. EU citizens think that basic skills (e.g. reading and writing, and numeracy) are the most important type of skill that education provides. This is chosen by 62% of respondents, ahead of the other types of skill included in the question: job-specific skills (34%), skills that can be used in different jobs (30%), specialised skills in specific subjects (26%) and foreign language skills (24%).
• Attitudes to respondents’ own education are generally positive, particularly their experience of school education (86% say this was good).
• Nearly three-quarters of EU citizens (73%) agree that their education or training has provided them with the necessary skills to find a job in line with their qualifications, while around a quarter (23%) of EU citizens feel that their education or training has not provided them with the necessary skills.
• Just over half of respondents (56%) think that their qualifications would be recognised in other EU Member States. Similar proportions also think experiences of working or studying in another Member State would be recognised in their own country.
• 6% of EU citizens say that they have tried to work or study in another EU Member State, including remote working or distance learning, but were not able to do so. The main reason for this, in relation to their qualifications, was that they were not recognised by either their prospective employer (12%) or by the education institution (7%), or that they did not have enough information on whether their qualifications would be recognised in another EU Member State (17%).
• Only 9% say they know the level of the European Qualifications Framework to which their qualifications correspond, and just 12% more have heard (in general) about the European Qualifications Framework.
• A third of EU citizens (34%) say that they have heard of at least one of the various tools for documenting skills and qualifications, most commonly the Europass CV (15%).
• More than two-thirds (69%) assume that a combination of skills or competences acquired in different ways can be used to obtain a qualification.
• A quarter of respondents (24%) have used a career guidance service. This varies considerably by Member State; in some countries, only 3% of respondents say they have used a career guidance service. The main reason for never having used a career guidance service is the lack of access (45%).
• The majority of EU citizens have positive views about the availability and usefulness of career guidance services; for example, 71% agree that they are useful for making the right choice for further studies.
• In total, 44% of EU citizens say that they have looked for information of some kind on education, training or career guidance. Just over half of respondents (56%) say they found it at least quite easy to find the information they needed.
• Only 18% of EU citizens say they are aware of at least one of the European information points (e.g. Europass contact centres.

EU citizens were also asked about the quality of education and training and it appeared that EU citizens are mostly positive towards the education and training that they have received. A high proportion of EU citizens say that the education they received at school was very or fairly good (86%), while 12% say that it was bad. A quarter say that their school education was very good. Views are also generally positive towards vocational education, with 83% describing this as good and 10% as bad, there are positive views of higher education (75% good, 9% bad); attitudes towards courses for adults are also generally positive (66% good, 11% bad); respondents are somewhat less positive about online education (41% good, 15% bad).

Across individual EU Member States, in several countries, 90% or more of respondents say that their school education was good; the highest figures are in Finland and Latvia (92%). Respondents are most likely to describe their school education as bad in Denmark (20%) and in three countries that have been particularly affected by the crisis: Greece (18%), Spain (16%) and Ireland (16%).

The proportion of respondents that have received vocational education varies by individual Member State. If ‘not applicable’ answers are excluded, the most positive views are found in the Czech Republic (89% say their vocational education was good), Hungary (89%) and Sweden (88%). No countries have particularly negative view.

More information:

European Commission press release "Education and training is not up to the job, say quarter of Europeans in survey": http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-685_en.htm

European Commission. Special Eurobarometer 417 “European area of skills and qualifications. Report: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_417_en.pdf

Public consultation on the European Area for Skills and Qualifications: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/more_info/consultations/skills_en.htm

 

Erasmus+ Programme Guide and Call for proposals

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Much has already been said while waiting for the famous Erasmus+, the European Union's new programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport for 2014-2020.

Well now it's time to stop speculating and start studying: the Erasmus+ Programme Guide has been published!

Submission of applications start from end of January 2014 either to National Agencies or to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) in Brussels.

Check out the Erasmus+ Programme Guide.

Quality assurance in VET Group in Linkedin

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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.

Click here to get connected.

Evaluation of training: Lessons learned

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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.
In a competitive and challenging market, we cannot afford to rest, we need to continuously improve our quality assurance procedures, focusing on the satisfaction of our clients. With this in mind, we have to take very seriously all comments and not-so-good evaluation rates, deal with every little detail and continuously improve our services.

Conference "Quality Assurance in Education and Training"

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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.

Relevant Documents

 

Final conference of BEQUAL + project successfully held in Sofia

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International conference put an end of two years of work for expanding BEQUAL benchmarking tool and community of practice for quality assurance in vocational education and training.  The BEQUAL+ project was financed under EU Leonardo Da Vinci Programme (2011-2013) and brought together partners from Bulgaria, Italy, Turkey and Greece to transfer innovative techniques for self-evaluation of quality assurance practices in vocational education and training, quality benchmarking and networking. The innovative content transferred consists of electronic benchmarking tool for quality assurance in VET, offering opportunity for VET providers to compare their performance with similar institutions, web based quality sharing network and good practice center and thematic portal as a reference point for practitioners, researchers and policy makers in VET.

The partners presented the project activities and achieved results at the final conference, held on 20 September 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Among the participants were VET providers,  representatives of Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Economy and Energy, Office of the President of Republic of Bulgaria, educational experts, social partners, etc.

The functionalities of the BEQUAL Benchmarking Tool and Good Practice Center were demonstrated in details. The participants discussed the sustainability of the project results   and their potential to be embedded in the VET quality assurance policies and practices.

We also presented of  how our international cooperation provided opportunity for  synergy between two EU projects (BEQUAL+ and EXPANDVET) that use the same platform www.bequal.info . Three representatives of EXPANDVET partners attended the BEQUAL + final conference and provided details on how we collaborated to learn from each other and to improve the innovative content.

 

EfVET Newsletter June 2013

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Click here to download the newsletter.

 

 

The E-benchmarking tool is ready to be used by Lithuanian VET institutions.

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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.

Comparative study defined the adaptation of BEQUAL benchmarking tool for the Bulgarian, Turkish and Italian users

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The adaptation of BEQUAL benchmarking tool and Community of Practice that took place under the framework of BEQUAL + project had been based on Country Profiles fulfilling the role of background information for needs analysis and determining the main characteristics of VET systems in importing countries, existing approaches and gaps in quality assurance that needed be taken into account in the process of adaptation. They provided the basis for comparative analysis and for deciding the correct approaches for adaptation of the benchmarking tool.

Based on information provided by the partners from Bulgaria, Turkey and Italy, а comparative report has been elaborated to summarise the structure, content, and approaches for quality assurance in VET systems across the partner countries in order to identify the similarities, contrasts, and trends at national level that have to be taken into account in process of adaptation of the BEQUAL benchmarking tool.

The country studies and the comparative analysis reveal that the potential value added of the transfer of innovative instrument for benchmarking of quality assurance practices will be significant, as most of participating countries lack systematic national quality assurance approaches and established quality assurance practices consistent with the EQAVET recommendations. Only Italian VET providers seems to have access to mixture of well-established instruments for QA management, such as hetero-evaluation (ISO 9001-2000, the system of accreditation of training bodies (DM 166/2001) and the Model of accreditation ASFOR); self-assessment (system of indicators OECD-CERI, the CIPP Model, Model Self-Assessment Institute (Trento), the model evaluation of the Shares (ENAIP), the model for self-assessment Isfol structures of schools and training 34); mixed system (EFQM excellence and the Model Campus (CRUI), and accreditation.

The findings of the comparative analysis show that the potential users of BEQUAL benchmarking tool are quite diverse, as the institutions of VET systems in Bulgaria, Italy and Turkey are very different. This finding means that the benchmarking of different institutions from different countries requires agreement on common classification of the VET institutions that to be used in the adaptation of the tool.

The comparative analysis reveals also different progress in adoption of European Quality Assurance Framework for VET in the three countries. Bulgaria and Italy have established National Reference Points for quality assurance, while Turkey lags behind in this respect. Italy has adopted a National Plan for quality assurance in Education and Training, and Bulgaria has established an interdepartmental working group to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science to elaborate quality assurance measures and actions in VET.
This means that project partners should elaborate their own strategy and to put different efforts to promote the use of EQAVET in their countries.

BEQUAL tool piloting successfully accomplished

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The piloting of the translated and adapted BEQUAL tool for benchmarking quality assurance in VET was completed successfully in April 2013. The purpose of the piloting actions was to test the application of the adapted benchmarking tool in the importing countries (Bulgaria, Italy and Turkey), to observe the feedback of the users in order to discover potential problems and/or errors, as well as to re-evaluate and improve the BEQUAL tool. We tested the technical performance of the BEQUAL platform, its functionalities, the relevance of the benchmarking methodology used, the need for further adaptations, as well as the exploitation potential.

In all, 139 VET providers from Bulgaria, Italy and Turkey participated in the trial. This was more than double in excess of the target numbers for the pilot and reflects the partners’ efforts for successful engagement and recruitment campaigns.

Partners designed the pilots in different format in order to reflect the regional specifics and to ensure the best working format of the trials. 3 piloting seminars have been held in Bulgaria in the period 15 February- 07 March 2013, with 76 participants - principals of VET high schools, colleges and managers of centers for vocational education and training. The locations – Plovdiv, Pleven and Sofia - have been selected to provide as much coverage of different types of regional VET providers as possible. In Italy, trials were designed as individual meetings with VET centers and Vocational schools, while our Turkish partner combined 2 workshops with face to face meetings. The venues were carefully selected to provide an access to large number of computers with internet connection, in order to allow for a large number of participants to test the BEQUAL tool online.

The feedback on the whole was very positive, although we identified some areas for improvement that were common to all partner countries. Among the best rated features of the BEQUAL tool was the structure of the benchmarking tool, quality of questions, instructions provided and convenience of using the tool. The main critics were related to the clarity and simplicity of questions, These issues have all been considered and will be addressed wherever possible.

The pilots provided clear indication for a significant long-term potential for utilization of the BEQUAL tool, as most of the VET providers have no experience of using assessment/benchmarking tools related to quality assurance in VET. At the same time, almost all of the participants in the pilots consider that the tool has a potential to encourage the involvement with the application of quality assurance in their VET organizations.

Project partners successfully used the piloting activities to building confidence in the final beneficiaries and to contribute for utilizing the significant potential for incorporation of quality assurance tools in VET.

You can follow the BEQUAL+ project on: www.bequalplus.info
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bequal/559151644110165
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Quality-assurance-in-VET-4940977

Great interest in piloting BEQUAL tool in Bulgaria

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3 piloting seminars have been held in Bulgaria in the period 15 February- 07 March 2013. Their purpose was to test the application of the adapted benchmarking tool in Bulgaria, to observe the feedback of the users in order to discover potential problems and/or errors and to define the areas for improve the benchmarking tool. The seminars were held in Plovdiv, Pleven and Sofia and were visited by 75 VET providers (principals of VET high schools, colleges and managers of centers for vocational education and training). Having the questions, reactions, and follow-up conversations with the managers of VET institutions, we consider that there is a significant potential for incorporation of quality assurance tools in VET.

Piloting of the Benchmarking tool in Italy

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From January till March 2013 the piloting of the Benchmarking tool was done in Italy.

15 individual meetings with VET centres and Vocational schools of Tuscany were fixed and fulfilled. The meetings had place partly in locations of the VET providers and partly in ASEV’s premises.

One VET institution was interviewed telephonically and then by mail.

So totally ASEV has managed to reach 16 VET centres and vocational schools from the following cities: Empoli, Florence, Pontedera, Pistoia, Livorno, Bagno a Ripoli, Prato, Colle di Val’Elsa and Genova, which belong to the following types of VET institutions: lower secondary vocational education and training – 4; post secondary non-tertiary vocational education and training – 2; higher vocational education – 4; further education and training – 6.

Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) - call for proposals 2013

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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:

  1. Develop strategies for lifelong learning and mobility
  2. Encourage cooperation between the worlds of education, training and work
  3. Support initial and continuous training of teachers, trainers and education and training institutions' managers
  4. Promote the acquisition of key competences throughout  the education and training system
  5. 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 Assistantships 31/01/2013
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

Video Competition on Education and Skills - what are the big issues today?

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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: new programme for education, training, youth and sport

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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.

For more information you can check Erasmus for All official website, the Press Release or Erasmus for All Leaflet.

ECVET magazines

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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.

Launch of BEQUAL+ project

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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.

2nd QALLL conference on Quality Assurance in VET

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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.

Check out the conference agenda and register online.

Eurypedia - Easy access to European educational systems

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(1 vote)

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.

Quality of vocational rehabilitation services

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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.

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