What is ECVET?


Basic principles of ECVET


In 2009 was adopted Recommendation of the European Parliament and the EU Council on the establishment of a single European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training) is one of the European tools for supporting lifelong learning, mobility of students (and teachers) in Europe and flexible learning pathways that lead to the acquisition of valuable skills.

ECVET is based on practical results, as follows:
  •     on learning outcomes, which refer to knowledge, skills and competences
  •     the units of learning outcomes describing the expected learning outcomes that can be validated and widely accepted
  •     the ECVET points which values ​​obtained qualifications in numerical form
  •     the ECVET credits, which award students achievement
and of course
  •     on mutual trust and partnership of the participating institutions.

The initial vocational education considers ECVET primarily as a tool for students mobility, thanks to which can participants gain new and original work experiences. With this ECVET contributes to the improvement of the educational process and increase of students' motivation for continuous improvement in the field.

Mobility


Mobility is a possibility to complete part of the studies at another school, but also in a real working environment.
 
Mobility activities don´t substitute basic vocational education, on the contrary - they support and complement it, representing some kind of an extension in preparation for the concrete profession - after the implementation of ECVET principles it is possible to recognize the acquired qualification on a European level.

In mobilities we distinguish between "home" and foreign mobilities.

"Home" mobility can be between "home" school and another "home" high school (or university). In these mobilities the objective is to gain new knowledge in the concrete study field, eventually to experience the work on the latest equipments, to become familiar with the principles of modern work practices and new technology.
However, special reason for this kind of mobility stay is to provide the possibility of acquiring skills that the school can not provide to its students because of a lack of the equipment.
Ultimately, an environment in which the schools can exchange and share material, but also develop personal potential is created.

It is important to have "educational offer above standard" in this type of mobility because it does not make sense to offer a basic education curriculum that schools can easily provide themselves.

The second type of "home" mobility is mobility between schools and businesses (direct employer). These exchanges are intended to provide students with the opportunity to verify the theory in practice, to deepen and broaden the skills already acquired directly in a real work environment. This mobility is implemented either during training or practice in individual internships.
Students can try for example the use of machines, which school does not have, they can watch management, or learn about new technological processes. As in the previous type of mobility, there should be new information not the basic curriculum.
Furthermore, these mobilities are held only once and last 1-3 weeks.

Foreign mobility is between "home" school and another school or businesses. The aim of these mobilities is to verify in a foreign environment  the acquired competencies of students from vocational fields, verify and improve their language skills and, finally, personal skills (such as adaptability to the new environment, communication skills, independence, creativity, etc.). Such mobilities are realized through internships in the host school environment or in the premises of the engaging business.

Units of learning outcomes


Units of learning outcomes (units) are a certain parts of the qualification, consisting of a coherent set of knowledge, skills and competencies with the possibility of their assessment and validation. In some way it is a standard. It is important to note that according the ECVET principles qualification consists of several units (most of the time).
Every unit is linked to the content and structure of the qualification and can be therefore precisely characterized by using ECVET points - the common principle of validation.

Each unit can be assessed independently by a number of points, which in turn reflect its weight in the whole qualification.

For the purposes of mobility are units usually set by the host organization.

The recommended procedure has several steps:
  •     As a first step is stated the profile - the focus of the specific unit and a set of primarily connected activities
  •     then a set of expected learning outcomes, criteria for their validation are processed
  •     then we prepare a description of the learning unit
  •     and on the basis of this description an educational framework for achieving it - training module - is provided

Training modules in the ECVET system have the nature of teaching materials, which determine the course of learning. The training module is not restricted to only one unit and has a significantly activity concept - always tells what is the graduate able to do after mastering the concrete unit, for example: "Participant is able to prepare foreign meals."

ECVET is intended to provide a better understanding and comparability of qualifications and skills acquired across the European Union.

In the event that the ECVET system is used in the learning process, it is possible to simply and clearly define what competencies graduates acquired abroad (during the mobility), it is possible to recognize them by participating institutions, and ultimately encourage the mobility of workers within the European Union territory.
ECVET also supports a common approach to qualifications based on learning outcomes, as well as transparency and facilitation of learning between different systems of vocational education.

ECVET in Slovakia


The introduction of ECVET in Slovakia will require the cooperation of a wide range of actors.

One of the most important lines of work will be the qualifications proposals, programs of formal and non-formal education, designing of evaluation processes, implementation of training programs and methods for the assessment and recognition.
It is important to note that ECVET doesn´t mean a definition of new tasks. Some tasks may develop gradually, and their definition depends on the existing legislation and its adaptability to the new conditions.

Most of European countries have adopted (or are in the pipeline) national qualifications frameworks that cover all types and skill levels.
The purpose of these frameworks is to facilitate an understanding of national qualifications systems and increase the transparency between skills to ultimately support their development and accessibility.

ECVET is also closely linked to transnational mobility. It solves the transfer and validation of learning outcomes acquired during mobility (whether at home or abroad), and emphasizes the need of cooperation. This way ECVET ensures consistency and continuous improvement by creating a communication network across the European Union.


ECVET managazine (Jan2014)