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Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Annie Bouder

The purpose of this paper is to question the appropriateness of a proposal for a new European Qualifications Framework. The framework has three perspectives: historical;…

580

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to question the appropriateness of a proposal for a new European Qualifications Framework. The framework has three perspectives: historical; analytical; and national.

Design/methodology/approach

The approaches are diverse since the first insists on the institutional and decision‐making processes at European level questioning the impact that could have on the recently formalised Open Method of Coordination. The second goes into more detailed analyses of the instrument itself and of its shortcomings both in conceptual terms and on its pragmatic ones. The last approach is a comparative one by which the French system is “benchmarked” against EQF guidelines.

Findings

The main conclusion is that there is obviously a political will to question the role and the structure of qualifications in view of an economy and a society of knowledge and that research has much to contribute – on very different levels – like the three chosen for this article.

Research limitations/implications

Choosing to mix three quite different approaches in one short text is an attempt to be valued since it shows the different aspects under which a so‐called “neutral” instrument needs to be regarded.

Practical implications

Practically, this speaks for the further involvement of research in the present, very institutional and organisational discussions on European qualifications.

Originality/value

In terms of research, it is seldom that these various levels are considered together. The article proves that there is a case to do so.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 32 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Michael Young

This paper aims to provide a critical analysis of the European Commission's and the member states' attempts to introduce a European Qualifications Framework and national…

1123

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a critical analysis of the European Commission's and the member states' attempts to introduce a European Qualifications Framework and national frameworks respectively.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a review of policies and substantive desk research in countries that have applied a qualification framework approach.

Findings

The analysis shows that qualifications frameworks (QFs) are resisted partly from inertia and conservatism and partly because important educational purposes are being defended. NQF experiences suggest that hopes associated with QFs are unrealistic (e.g. accreditation of prior learning).

Research limitations/implications

The paper draws mainly on conceptual and secondary analysis. In future primary empirical analysis would be desirable.

Practical implications

The findings are extremely relevant to policy makers on the European and national levels. The lessons from NQFs suggest incrementalism, building blocks, supporting policies, consensus and staying as close as possible to practice are important.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the few attempts to evaluate current initiatives based on prior experiences.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 32 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Felix Rauner

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the internationalisation of nearly all spheres of society and the process of European integration will be leading to the…

1513

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the internationalisation of nearly all spheres of society and the process of European integration will be leading to the development of a European vocational education and training (VET) architecture.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis of the “Copenhagen process” is based on the EU documents on the realisation of a European Qualifications Framework and a credit transfer system.

Findings

The result of the study shows that the strategy adopted by the European Union for the establishment of a European area of vocational education is confronted with a dilemma. The European Qualifications Framework is highly abstract since any reference to real educational programmes and qualifications and any concrete provision for the transition and for the transferability between educational levels and sectors (vocational and higher education, initial and continuing training) was avoided in order to adhere to the anti‐harmonisation clause. The result is an abstract, hierachically structured one‐dimensional qualifications framework that lacks any reference to existing VET systems and that contradicts all scientific insights from VET research and knowledge research.

Practical implications

The implications for VET policy are far‐reaching. A European area of vocational education can be established only on the basis of European open core occupations and an open VET architecture, which ensures that vocational education becomes an integral part of national educational systems. The qualification of employees for the intermediary sector can be realised only as a European project.

Originality/value

There are only a few contributions available that undertake a conceptual analysis and critique of the European Qualifications Framework.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 32 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Stan Lester

The purpose of this paper is to review three international frameworks, including the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), in relation to one…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review three international frameworks, including the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), in relation to one country’s higher professional and vocational education system.

Design/methodology/approach

The frameworks were examined in the context of English higher work-related education, and areas of mismatch identified. These were investigated to identify the extent to which they were due to weaknesses in the national system or to limiting assumptions contained in the frameworks.

Findings

Assumptions based on stages of education are problematic in the context of lifelong higher and professional education, while more open, lifelong-learning oriented assumptions can be too skeletal to aid comparisons between systems of initial vocational education and training. Particular problems are identified with assumptions contained in the ISCED that do not reflect the reality of professional education.

Practical implications

International frameworks need to take account of patterns of learning that take place outside of formal institutions and throughout life, but which lead to equivalent outcomes. Nevertheless, it is not adequate to substitute assumptions based only on the level of achievement.

Social implications

The assumptions underpinning the ISCED in particular mean that equivalent achievements in different systems can be classified differently, leading to under-reporting of individual achievements, a lack of comparability in international statistics, and potential for policy distortion.

Originality/value

The paper builds on the work of Hippach-Schneider et al. by providing additional evidence, from a different national context, for issues relating to the ISCED in the context of higher professional and vocational education, and extends this analysis to the two major European frameworks.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 60 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 September 2009

Volker Gehmlich

The purpose of this paper is to answer a set of questions related to “Kompetenz”, “Beruf” and the German Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning. What is a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to answer a set of questions related to “Kompetenz”, “Beruf” and the German Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning. What is a competence, can it be measured? Is the “Beruf” really endangered by the focus on learning outcomes? What are the implications as regards the learning process? Are permeability and mobility between occupations fostered?

Design/methodology/approach

Literature was analysed to identify elements which are linked to the introduction of qualifications frameworks in Germany and which have an impact on the German system of education and training. Additionally some primary research was done by interviewing about 50 experts in the field. The results were published prior to this paper in the form of a study on behalf of the German government. Here they are used to highlight potentially controversial issues: “Beruf”, “Qualifikation”, “Kompetenz”, “learning outcomes” and their relationship to qualifications frameworks.

Findings

It is assumed that “Beruf” will also be used in future but in different contexts. It will describe any type of occupation or profession without the need to specify the way to get there (“Berufsbild”). Instead, there will be flexible pathways, allowing for non‐formal and informal learning. Its former role of structuring training will be taken over by “Kompetenz” within the qualifications frameworks. It is recommended to clearly differentiate between learning outcomes and “Kompetenz”.

Research limitations/implications

As a one‐year pilot phase to test the proposed qualifications framework is about to start, the final outcomes may be different from what is expected on the basis of this research.

Originality/value

The paper answers a set of questions related to “Kompetenz”, “Beruf” and the German Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 33 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 May 2013

Georg Spöttl

Parity of esteem between general and vocational education is a widely discussed topic in those countries which have established a system of vocational education and…

1031

Abstract

Purpose

Parity of esteem between general and vocational education is a widely discussed topic in those countries which have established a system of vocational education and training (VET) beside the system of general education, leading to numerous qualifications and licenses. This paper aims to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

An explorative consideration of curricular basic structures of TVET and higher education will reveal the qualitative differences in the different study courses and entailing barriers for permeability between TVET and higher education. A deepening analysis compares the curricular structures and evaluates the differences with the aid of selected criteria.

Findings

The article clarifies the hidden obstacles of permeability between vocational and higher education, and points out ways to shape lateral and vertical permeability with a view to career paths to build up human capabilities. However, until now most of these do not entail permeability to learning pathways in higher education. This is especially true when vocational programmes do not prepare for higher education at the same time, i.e. do not include a university entrance qualification. This discussion has gained a new momentum with the adoption of the European Qualifications Framework by the European Parliament and the Council in 2008, motivating member states to reconsider this context. Since then there is an intensive debate about opening universities for learners with vocational qualifications.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the traditionally clear‐cut division between vocational and academic education and a separate dealing with the different concepts, organizations and institutions, a comparative research with methods and instruments has not yet developed. With regard to a comparison of vocational and academic education, research is still at the very beginning. There are currently no confirmed reliable answers to the question how the transitions between vocational and academic education could be shaped in order to ensure their success.

Practical implications

European initiatives and the implementation of instruments such as the Qualifications Framework to support permeability call for ways to offer academic education with degrees to persons with a qualified vocational background. The curricular structures of the universities are currently not geared to these requirements.

Social implications

The relevant social dimension aims at an equivalence of vocational and academic education that has been discussed in some European countries since the 1960s. Some European initiatives (EQF, ECVET, etc) over recent years have led to the opening of universities for persons with a qualified vocational background. This helps to overcome social barriers.

Originality/value

The value added is a frame for comparison of curricular structures. The findings can then be thoroughly discussed in connection with the European Qualification Framework. In addition the article offers options for overcoming the obstacles for comparative research on vocational and academically qualified persons.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

The purpose of this paper is to address the development of a European architecture of vocational education and promotes and alternative proposal.

1225

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the development of a European architecture of vocational education and promotes and alternative proposal.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is the result of discussions of researchers in the Institut Technik und Bildung on a European Qualification Framework.

Findings

The paper provides an alternative approach to the European Qualifications Framework that accepts learning in professional and occupational practice as a form of learning in its own right.

Research limitations/implications

Even though the European Council has made a decision on the adoption of the EQF, this paper is a worthwhile contribution to the further dialogue that emphasises the notion of learning in settings of professional and occupational practice.

Practical implications

The practical question arises if the accreditation and assessment methods for learning through experience on the one hand and learning in formalised settings on the other can be the same.

Originality/value

The paper provides an alternative approach to the European Qualifications Framework and will be of interest to those in that field.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 32 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 April 2012

Françoise Le Deist and Vidmantas Tūtlys

This paper aims to explore structural and systemic influences in the development of competence models and qualifications systems at sectoral and national levels across…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore structural and systemic influences in the development of competence models and qualifications systems at sectoral and national levels across Europe, considering the influences of different socio‐economic models of skill formation on the processes of design and provision of qualifications.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a meta analysis of three European projects that used literature review, documentary analysis and interviews with practitioners and policy makers.

Findings

The main methodological and practical challenges posed by varieties of competence and qualifications to inter‐country comparability of qualifications are shown to be related to different socio‐economic models of skill formation.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to 13 countries and four sectors but these were carefully selected to maximise coverage of European diversity with respect to competence models, training regimes and approaches to qualifications. There is clearly a need for further research involving more countries and sectors.

Practical implications

The paper offers recommendations for improving the potential of the European Qualifications Framework to promote comparability of qualifications and hence mobility of labour. These recommendations will be of interest to policy makers and practitioners involved in using the EQF and similar instruments.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic attempt to explore the methodological and practical difficulties of establishing comparability between qualifications.

Details

European Journal of Training and Development, vol. 36 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-9012

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 September 2009

Jonathan Winterton

The purpose of this article is to explore diversity in competence models across Europe and consider the extent to which there is sufficient common ground for a common…

2133

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to explore diversity in competence models across Europe and consider the extent to which there is sufficient common ground for a common European approach to underpin the European Qualifications Framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a literature review and interviews with policy makers.

Findings

Despite the central role of competence in policy initiatives, conceptual approaches to competence vary not only between but also within different member states. This diversity embodies not only language issues but also fundamental cultural differences in approaches to skill formation. Whether the models have sufficient common ground to permit a “best‐fit” European‐wide approach is open to question, although this is clearly an essential prerequisite for removing barriers to labour mobility. Despite initiatives like the European Qualifications Framework there is still no consensus for adopting a common competence model and policy discussions continue to reveal confusion.

Research limitations/implications

The focus on policy discussions at the European level may be a limitation, and readers should see this as the introductory scene setting to more detailed discussions in the following papers of important developments within member states. Beyond this, much is happening at the level of sectors and occupations that is the focus for practical implementation.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the urgent need to develop a coherent conceptual underpinning for competence descriptors in qualifications frameworks that will work as a best‐fit approach across Europe. Without this, occupational and inter‐sector mobility will be hindered.

Originality/value

The paper offers the most comprehensive assessment of European approaches to competence to date.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 33 no. 8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Philipp Grollmann

The paper's aim is to present a critical review of the current European process of co‐operation in VET with a special view to the European Qualification Framework and its…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper's aim is to present a critical review of the current European process of co‐operation in VET with a special view to the European Qualification Framework and its competence orientation.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach reviews the official documentation and the consultation process and a contrastive analysis of the state of the art of research and developments in VET.

Findings

In order to make European VET a direct contribution to the revised Lisbon agenda, a more concise shared vision with regard to the processes and structures of vocational education might be needed.

Research limitations/implications

It does not seem possible logically and pragmatically to fully abstract from the processes in which competence is acquired and in which it is going to be used.

Practical implications

Research and development activities in the European Union should be integrated towards an agenda that covers structures, conditions and processes of learning for the world of work.

Originality/value

Apart from a few other contributions, critical accounts of current policies and its implications for research and practice are scarce.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 32 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

Keywords

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