The Quality Assurance Forum: why it matters
Established in 2017 as a network of organizations involved in assuring the quality of vocational education and training, the Quality Assurance Forum is a key initiative of ETF to foster governments' capacity in vocational education.
"The idea was to establish a network where countries can share their concerns, their challenges, their problems, but also their approaches to address quality issues." said Mounir Baati, ETF Senior Human Capital Development Expert in charge of Quality Assurance in vocational education and training. The concept of sharing knowledge and having a common platform for exchanging expertise is integral to the forum's organizational design.
"We started with countries from the South Mediterranean region and South Eastern Europe and Turkey; we had at that time 16 members. Last year we extended the membership to the Eastern Partnership countries which are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus. So, we have now 22 countries" added Baati.
An international hub for mutual learning
As a way to strengthen technical cooperation at the interstate level, the forum provides its members with a platform for bilateral and multilateral dialogue, including with EU member states. The aim is to create a space for countries to learn and further improve their vocational education and training capabilities. The 4-year-old initiative, is without doubt, becoming increasingly relevant to today's transnational institutions-based world.
To achieve its objectives, the forum works on a number of key themes that include exploring ways of developing a holistic national quality assurance system for VET. The forum also aims to provide its members with a vibrant atmosphere for learning through organizing peer visits, as well as other means of communication and interaction.
"We have annual meetings; we have webinars and we have what we call peer visits. During a peer visit, one forum member will host a visit from other members to give them feedback on a measure." explained Baati in an interview. "This year we organized three webinars and we are having a fourth one next week. In these webinars, we select one theme from the topics identified by the members themselves."
The forum comprises national institutions that meet the eligibility criteria for membership. The member institutions should:
- have national level responsibilities for vocational education and training and/or quality assurance in vocational education and training;
- be a key stakeholder in decision-making processes related to quality assurance in vocational education and training and a key stakeholder in policy implementation;
- be influential and in a position to disseminate the outcomes of participation in the forum.
The member institution is the Forum’s National Reference Point (NRP) for quality assurance in vocational education and training. The nominated NRP appoints a suitable member of staff to participate in the Forum and supports their engagement in the Forum activities. The person is known as the National Contact Person.
For more info about the forum's workings, see more: https://www.etf.europa.eu/en/practice-areas/assuring-quality-vocational-training