European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET)
THE BRUGES COMMUNIQUÉ
The adoption of the Bruges Communiqué in December 2010 outlined a series of actions to increase the quality of vocational education and training (VET) in Europe in order to make it more accessible and relevant to the labour market. The Bruges Communiqué is the latest update to the Copenhagen Process for European co-operation on VET. EQAVET is a result of this process.
The European Commission seeks to make vocational raining a more modern and attractive option in order to support employability and economic growth; and strengthen social cohesion.
Education Ministers from 33 European countries (EU-28, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey) and representatives from employers, trade unions and the European Commission confirmed a set of shared objectives for VET for the next decade and an action plan for the coming years. These plans have been supported by European associations of training institutions.
VET enables people to acquire the knowledge, skills and experience they need to succeed in the labour market, and can prepare them for a specific job or for a broad range of occupations. At present, about half of all students in upper secondary education in the EU choose vocational programmes though there are significant differences between countries and enrolment rates rangie from less than 15% to nearly 80%.
The measures agreed in the Communiqué aim to ensure that all learners are offered the highest quality courses so that VET is recognised by students and policy-makers as an effective way to improve educational and career prospects.
BRUGES COMMUNIQUÉ: A VISION FOR THE NEXT DECADE
The Bruges Communiqué contains a vision of a modern and attractive VET system which ensures:
- maximum access to lifelong learning by giving people opportunities to learn at any stage in life and by making routes into education and training more open and flexible;
- learners have more opportunity to train abroad in order to boost language skills, self-confidence and adaptability;
- higher quality courses which provide the right skills for each job;
- more inclusion and access for disadvantaged people;
- encourages creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking.
Action plan 2011-15
The Bruges Communiqué includes a mid-term plan with specific measures at the national level and support at a European level. This plan invites countries to:
- review the use of incentives, rights and obligations to encourage more people to take up training;
- implement the EQAVET Framework on quality assurance in VET;
- encourage the development of vocational schools, with the support of local and regional authorities;
- introduce internationalisation strategies to boost international mobility;
- increase cooperation with business to ensure training is relevant, for instance by giving teachers the possibility of practical training in companies;
- launch communication strategies to highlight the benefits of vocational training.
The call to action relating to EQAVET - IMPLEMENT THE EQAVET FRAMEWORK ON QUALITY ASSURANCE IN VET AT SYSTEM AND PROVIDER LEVELS – includes two specific actions:
- Participating countries should establish quality assurance frameworks in accordance with the EQAVET Recommendation, which specifies the actions at national level in relation to ‘taking adequate measures to implement the EQAVET Recommendation and make progress towards national quality assurance frameworks for VET’ by 2014
- ‘Participating countries should establish –by the end of 2015- at national level a common quality assurance framework for VET providers, which also applies to associated workplace learning and which is compatible with the EQAVET Framework