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Operational model of "Common Quality Assurance Framework" at VET-provider level

Vocational Education and Training differs between countries in European Union. In some, guidelines are nationally decided and in some regionally or even locally. These differences have resulted in different sets of approaches to Quality Assurance (QA) aspects. Lack of a basic common European QA standard for VET constitutes a barrier to transparency and mobility within EU. One of the major outputs of the European cooperation regarding elaboration of common European standards in VET is Common Quality Assurance Framework (CQAF) which was endorsed by the Education Council in May 2004. CQAF- is a reference system designed to support Member States to develop, improve, monitor and evaluate their QA systems, based on common principles. The endorsement of CQAF was the first step towards the transparency between QA-systems in VET in Europe. However, until now, CQAF has addressed VET at national level and not at provider's level and it has been based on voluntary participation.

Regarding adaptation of existing QA-system in VET at provider’s level to CQAF, there is still a long way to go. The proposed project “CQAFVET - provider model” addresses the above problem. The overall objective is adaptation of an existing QA model in VET to the standards and criteria of CQAF. The proposed project aims to adapt the Swedish QA-model, which is based on ISO 9001-2000 at Folkuniversitetet Uppsala, to CQAF.

The above model is a practical tool which comprises a set of operational documents based on a list of criteria for QA in VET according to ISO 9001-2000. The Swedish model highlights crucial aspects in quality such as correspondence with labour market demand, the degree and quality of stakeholders’ participation, the flexibility of education providers and a relevant pedagogical approach.

The proposed project “CQAFVET - provider model” consists of 4 major steps in order to adapt the Swedish QA-model to European level:

A) Inclusion of criteria based on national, regional and cultural conditions from partner countries into the Swedish model,
B) Adaptation of the above model to CQAF,
C) Test of the elaborated model,
D) Evaluation and valorisation of the final model.

The expected output of the project will be common European tools and documents for QA in VET.

The consortium consists of VET-providers with different specialities which cover all aspects of the project:

a) Folkuniversity (S) as one of the few European VET providers with ISO certification,
b) Documenta (ES) specialised in “applied social research”, cross-disciplinary VET programs, analysis and strategic planning;
c) Dimitra (GR), one of the biggest VET providers in the country, specialised in dissemination and transfer of innovation with long experience both at national and European level. The short and long term impact of the project will be provision of an operational model for QA based on CQAF and ISO 9000-2001 and enhancement of transparency between VET systems in Europe.

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This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.