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Cooperating for quality: first ETF Forum for quality assurance in VET

Supporting teachers so that they are up-to-date with the latest professional developments, guaranteeing students the appropriate facilities and tools to get ready for the labour market, maintaining close cooperation with entrepreneurs to assess the companies’ needs track from school to work.

Supporting teachers so that they are up-to-date with the latest professional developments, guaranteeing students the appropriate facilities and tools to get ready for the labour market, maintaining close cooperation with entrepreneurs to assess the companies’ needs – all this is key to making vocational training a real fast-track from school to work. In order to make high-quality standard in the EU neighbouring countries, the European Training Foundation today launched the first ETF Forum for quality assurance in vocational education and training. The Forum is all about bringing national institutions together with ETF, EU and international experts to improve quality assurance in vocational education and training. The countries involved so far range from Serbia to Turkey, from Algeria to Jordan.

As the ETF Director, Cesare Onestini, said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to develop their skills to their full potential. That’s why access to high-quality training options is essential. Ensuring quality is a task that requires constant efforts in particular to modernise vocational education and keeping up with fast-changing labour markets. Transnational cooperation can help in this process by providing a forum to exchange ideas, get inspiration and speed up reforms. The ETF is happy to support these efforts in our partner countries.”

Defining ‘quality’ and making it concrete is not easy: it requires a strong methodology and shared standards, to make sure that every citizen in every country can develop their potential and succeed in the labour market. The members of the Forum will engage in a wide range of activities to make this happen – from information gathering and analyses to vocational education and training system monitoring and evaluation. Besides face-to-face contacts, a dedicated e-platform is there to foster on-line collaboration. “This Forum is a great opportunity to share experience and learn from each other”, said Samer Hussein, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Palestine [2].

The launch of the Forum is part of the EU Vocational Skills Week, a series of event organised all over Europe to improve the attractiveness and image of vocational education and training.

Background

The Forum for quality assurance in vocational education and training is attended by representatives from Ministries and major National institutions from Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo[1], Lebanon, Montenegro, Palestine[2], Serbia and Turkey. For some of these countries, this is the first opportunity to collaborate transnationally on the modernisation of their quality assurance in vocational education policies.

Ensuring high-quality vocational education and training contributes to the EU's priority on jobs, growth and investment. This is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and is in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights, which defends a right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning.

Helping countries develop their human capital through high-quality vocational education, thus enabling the conditions for growth and political stability in its neighbouring region, is part of the EU’s external action policy. In this area of work, the EU relies on the European Training Foundation, the only EU agency working in 29 countries – from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, to Northern Africa – to support the improvement of quality of training and access to the labour market.

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[1] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

[2] This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual position of the EU Member States on this issue.

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