Title Transnational Quality Project - Quality Guidelines for Providers of Vocational Education and Training
Project Number D/06/B/F/PP-146 579
Project Type Pilot Project, project with multiplying effect (2000-2006)
Marketing Text A first-rate navigation system is needed for initial and further vocational education and training (VET) to control the content, methods and organisation of VET services and to allow VET service providers to monitor and manage their own activities reliably.
A first-rate navigation system is needed for initial and further vocational education and training (VET) to control the content, methods and organisation of VET services and to allow VET service providers to monitor and manage their own activities reliably. To assure European quality, the labour and education market also needs cross-border practice standards for quality development of VET service providers in correlation with the Common Quality Assurance Framework.
Cross-border mobility of employees and transnational VET projects require comparable quality standards in initial and advanced VET. With this in mind, the aim of the pilot project is to develop QUALITY GUIDELINES for defining requirements for a transnational quality management system for VET organisations. These guidelines define minimum standards for content and determine methods of quality inspection (external audit and self-test). QUALITY GUIDELINES focus on processes as well as structures and results (VET on offer and VET services). The pilot project involved partners from EU countries with different quality assurance experiences.
In the project, different quality experiences of the European partners (framework conditions, methods, standards) were compared and aggregated to an experience-oriented knowledge base in keeping with the Common Quality Assurance Framework. The requirements for a practice model were then described on the basis of this knowledge and the model was tested. Different levels are possible. The implementation was compared transnationally and examined scientifically. The aim of the work was to reach consensus about quality and to report on the analysed need for European regulation. An Internet-supported Competence Center was developed in addition to QUALITY GUIDELINES. This virtual quality workshop for transnational use enabled and further enables information exchange and also makes essential results accessible to other users of the working platform.
The QUALITY GUIDELINES arose for and in connection with VET organisations active in international educational cooperation. This development work was accompanied and enabled by the forming of networks and bodies of experts and by testing that culminated in implementation in usable procedures. In early 2008, the first version of the QUALITY GUIDELINES was published. In the year 2008, these guidelines were tried out by the educational establishments in the project and discussed with a broad range of interested parties in a multitude of workshops and other events. These parties included representatives from working bodies of the Nordic Council, the region of Venice and from various Polish voivodships. The project results were also introduced at several conferences of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training and its partner institution in Vienna. An improved version resulted from all these discussions and collected experiences in early 2009. The revision of the QUALITY GUIDELINES in 2008 also incorporated quality criteria, i.e. descriptions used as benchmarks and reference indicators for the level of quality at the educational provider, as suggested by the recommendations to set up an EQARF.
Implementation assistance and methodical aids was compiled for the QUALITY GUIDELINES and published in a compendium. This compendium covers typical problems and recommendations for quality development and assurance as deduced from scientific knowledge and practical experience in international educational cooperation. It contains a range of methods and tools from management practice as well as useful aids for a systematic and target-oriented approach. A comprehensive table with further information and additions to the requirements and guidelines constitutes the core of this compendium.
The QUALITY GUIDELINES are available in German, English, Polish, Italian, Spanish and Catalan. The compendium exists in German, English, Polish as well as parts in Spanish and Catalan. The authors are convinced that further improvements, instruments and languages will be added in the coming years. It is already planned to prepare the QUALITY GUIDELINES for the new ISO standard on vocational education and training as well as further education, to which the authors of the QUALITY GUIDELINES are also contributing. The project is transnational in two senses: the guidelines themselves and the clear transnational standards for market-orientated VET service providers.
On the whole, the partners dealt with this quality theme very productively. A positive by-product is that two Polish partner institutions from the education sector were certified for the QM STAGE MODEL. The region of Venice is examining the possiblity of applying the requirements developed in the project to the model for accreditation of educational service providers. A further product is an exemplary QM handbook, which the bbw Bildungswerk [Vocational Training Unit for the Economy in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany] compiled for its German–Polish youth factory. The handbook includes the QUALITY GUIDELINES in the requirements.
A web-based platform for project communication at www.leonardo-tqp.eu serves as the competence centre for the project. The partners described their project experiences at regular intervals on this site and the work results were presented there. Various quality management tools were made available to the partners. This includes a Competence Assessment Tool (CAT). Ideas have been developed for CAP on the subject of determining teacher competence and deriving appropriate personal and organisational measures from the findings. Part of the platform is publicly accessible. The QUALITY GUIDELINES and the compendium are available for downloading. The QUALITY GUIDELINES are available in German and English in the “impuls” series of the National Agency of Education for Europe at BiBB.
The QUALITY GUIDELINES depend on the dedication of everyone involved in transnational VET services. These guidelines on quality improvement were developed especially for them. Quality management requires a learning organisation that engages in critical self-reflection and active participation by stakeholders in the change processes, particularly in a heterogeneous international environment often undergoing dynamic change.
Recognition, transparency, certification
transparency and certification
The QM STAGE MODEL became a standard for the certification of organisations active in market-oriented initial and continuing VET. In cooperation with the DIN German Institute for Standardisation, the QM STAGE MODEL was developed and published as PAS 1037:2004 "Requirements relating to quality management systems for business-related education and training establishments: QM stage model".
The QUALITY GUIDELINES expand the QM STAGE MODEL for organizations providing basic and advanced training to include orientations and requirements for a quality-based design of transnational education processes, including structures/potential and results (education offers/services). This will promote transparency for national and international users.
The QUALITY GUIDELINES encompass both the quality of training offers and the success of training service providers, the success of their company goals and strategies, the securing and increasing of efficacy and economic viability and last not least the value for the learner.
Transnational education entails crossing cultural, linguistic, legislative, national and often intercontinental boundaries. It is an extremely complex task to adapt and harmonize different systems that operate with different premises and different points of reference. Intercultural competence combined with transparency of education offers, processes and results, as well as accepted minimum standards, helps make transnational education more effective.
The QM STAGE MODEL defines levels of sustainable quality development in VET and describes the requirements necessary for the respective stages. The QM STAGE MODEL takes a process-based approach to developing, introducing and improving the effectiveness of quality assurance. The aim is to increase customer satisfaction by satisfying the customers' requirements. The QM STAGE MODEL serves as a reference model for quality management systems in organisations active in market-oriented initial and continuing VET. It is a widely used quality management system. Major certification institutions today, e.g. DQS, DQS Polska, TÜV and DEKRA, certify organisations active in market-oriented initial and continuing VET in accordance with PAS 1037:2004.
In 2006, the DIN German Institute for Standardisation applied successfully for the establishment of a Technical Committee for Educational Services at the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). This committee first turned to the task of developing a standard for " Learning services for non-formal education and training — Basic requirements for service providers" based on the QM STAGE MODEL. The Leonardo project TQP-EU provided an essential contribution for the elaboration of this ISO Standard (ISO 29990).