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EQARF: European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training
In the context of the Czech presidency, on 11 May 2009 the European Parliament and the European Council officially adopted the Recommendation on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training (EQARF).
Approximately one year beforehand, in April 2008, the Commission submitted its proposal for this recommendation, based on the Common Quality Assurance Framework (CQAF) developed in 2004.
The EQARF is a reference instrument, which should support the member states in continuously promoting and monitoring the improvement of their VET systems through common European references. Among the main goals, which are pursued by the EQARF, are an improvement of the quality of VET and the creation of transparency and consistency as well as mutual trust among the member states. Furthermore, the mobility of employees and learners as well as lifelong learning should be fostered.
The EQARF comprises a quality assurance and improvement cycle, which encompasses the areas of planning, implementing, evaluating and reviewing. It is supported by common quality criteria and descriptors and indicators.
The EQARF should be implemented both at system as well as at provider level. It does not prescribe a certain quality assurance system or concept, but provides common principles, quality criteria, descriptors and indicators, which can be useful in supporting the assessment and improvement of existing systems and the existing programmes in the area of VET. In Annex II, the Recommendation contains selected reference indicators for evaluating the quality of VET, which should be used by the member states as a “toolbox”, i.e. voluntarily. The recommendation suggests the following reference indicators:
- Relevance of quality assurance systems for VET providers
- Investment in training of teachers and trainers
- Participation rate in VET programmes
- Completion rate in VET programmes
- Placement rate in VET programmes
- Utilisation of acquired skills at the workplace
- Unemployment rate
- Prevalence of vulnerable groups
- Mechanisms to identify training needs in the labour market
- Schemes used to promote better access to VET
It is recommended to the member states to develop a national approach for the implementation of the EQARF by 2011. Moreover, the implementation process in the member states will be assessed every four years; the first progress report by the member states is expected in May 2013.
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