Vocational excellence and digital self-assessment tools

New European Self-Assessment Framework for Centres of Vocational Excellence

Working together internationally to agree quality indicators and capitalise on outstanding practice in vocational education and training is a great way to develop excellence in vocational education. For this reason, the ETF is inviting vocational teachers, trainers and stakeholders to help to create Europe’s new international self-assessment tool for Centres of Vocational Education (ISATCOV).

The development of ISATCOV is being led by the European Training Foundation (ETF) in close cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment.  The two-year development is being accompanied by a Consultation Panel – comprised of representatives from international and national Vocational Education and Training (VET) Associations, national ministries, Erasmus+ projects, donor organisations, European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET) and the ETF’s Network for Excellence (ENE).

Underpinning the self-assessment framework, are 23 criteria, based on the vision for Centres of Vocational Excellence and the practice that has been developed through Erasmus + projects:Centres of Vocational Excellence - Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion - European Commission (europa.eu).This framework will facilitate sharing and collaboration between vocational schools and training centres – at local, national and international levels. Collaboration can take different forms:  clusters might be territorially-based, where schools, training centres and employers collaborate or even form an association to carry out some joint activities. Alternatively, an international or national group could be formed around a particular sectoral area, such as agriculture or biotechnology. A third option might be to use ISATCOV as a framework for a short- or medium-term collaborative project – such as the projects currently financed by Erasmus+. 

ISATCOV will permit users to select the criteria and indicators relevant to them and also give them the facility to create their own indicators and criteria.  In this way, it will be a framework that can be adapted to particular contexts and to developmental objectives that have not yet emerged.

A webinar held on 24 October provided an overview of the criteria and a demonstration of the platform. This was followed by break-out groups where the indicators were scrutinised one by one.

'We primarily try to match our curriculum to agricultural labour market needs using data from our department,' said Azizaga Atakishiyev, Acting director at Azerbaijan’s Goychay Vocational Training Centre.   'In this context, the ISATCOV indicators are clear.' 

Participants welcomed the functionality that assists centres to conduct surveys of students and employers to inform judgements about the performance of a school or centre.

The ISATCOV will make it easier for vocational skills providers to learn from one another and collaborate internationally.  It will make it easier to find good practice and it will encourage excellent centres to share their excellence, for example, by mentoring others or by coordinating joint activities.

In order to ensure that ISATCOV is fit for purpose, the ETF is encouraging centres to participate in a follow-up webinar on 23 November.  To participate please register here.  To provide feedback please complete the survey here by 30 November 2022.


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