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Getting organised for better qualifications

Thematic Area: ; Qualifications Systems
Year/Date: 25/11/2016


Over 150 delegates, including representatives from ETF partner countries, EU member states, European and international institutions, and global experts, gathered under the conference banner ‘Getting organised for better qualifications’ in Brussels.

“The well-being of citizens is at the heart of any national qualification system,” observed ETF Director Madlen Serban, speaking at the conclusion of an intensive two-day event featuring presentations, discussions, workshops, and networking. Serban added, “we must reach out to the end users of qualification systems, not just the insiders”.

The power of reflection

A significant part of the conference revolved around the introduction of a new toolkit for policy makers, its intentions signposted by its title: Don’t agonise, organise! The toolkit has chapters on each of the four elements which must be addressed in the reform and development of national qualification systems; legislation, stakeholders, institutions, and quality assurance. Building on extensive experience from partner countries and other international sources, the toolkit offers clear, practical guidance and up-to-date examples for policy makers, practitioners, and other interested parties.

Don’t agonise, organise! was launched in draft form to allow for improvements based on feedback from the conference and the online community. In addition, the toolkit features a self-assessment test for each of the four elements, comprising a series of questions designed to promote focused discussion. The tests were themselves assessed by conference participants in themed workshops, providing valuable feedback for the final version. Along with suggestions for improvements, there were plenty of encouraging comments, not least from conference speakers Karol Jakubík, Main State Advisor on Vocational Education and Training, Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, Slovakia; Jordi Curell Gotor, Director Dir D, Labour Mobility, DG Employment, European Commission and Chair, ETF Governing Board; Volodymyr Kovtunets, First Deputy Minister for Education, Ukraine; and Ana Carla Pereira, Head of Unit, Skills and Qualifications, DG Employment, European Commission.

With the promotion of excellence in vocational education and training established as a priority for Slovakia’s current Presidency of the EU, Karol Jakubík was particularly complimentary about the potential of the new ETF toolkit, not only in partner countries but also in EU member states and beyond. “I am really impressed by the toolkit and the self-assessment tests,” he said. “When I looked through the questions, I had a clear picture of what we need to do.” The interest within member states was also noted by Jordi Curell Gotor. “We have a common endeavour, in the partner countries and in member states,” he noted, “to improve the quality and relevance of our systems.” And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what the conference and toolkit are all about.

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