According to the EQAVET Recommendation, the deadline to devise a national quality assurance (QA) approach was 18 June 2011.This means that participating countries may be at different stages of implementing EQAVET:
- countries where a QA approach exists and the EQAVET implementation is completed, i.e. the national QA approach is aligned with EQAVET;
- countries where a QA approach exists and preparation for the alignment of the national QA approach with EQAVET is underway;
- countries where a QA approach exists but nothing has been done as regards the alignment of the existing approach with EQAVET;
- countries where no national QA approach exists.
The alignment exercise requires a comprehensive look at:
- how EQAVET fits within the overall QA policy, regulatory and programme environment at Member State level;
- whether it recognises and respects the same fundamental principles;
- whether its treatment of stakeholders is consistent.
It is mainly concerned with countries grouped in 2) or 3) above. Also it may still be useful to those countries where necessary minor and specific adjustments need to be made to meet the requirements of specific national/regional or local contexts. In addition, the Guidance assumes, as is generally accepted, that the alignment of national policies with EU decisions will be most successful when they are “owned” by the Member States, i.e. when it supports national development plans and is embedded in the national context. Consequently, the alignment process should not result in a new QA system but should improve existing QA systems by aligning them with EQAVET.
The Guidance defines a) what needs to be done to align the existing quality assurance (QA) approaches with the EQAVET Framework, b) how to do what needs to be done), c) who will do the work. In particular, National Reference Points need to focus on:
- why it is important to align their national/regional or VET providers’ QA approach(es) with the EQAVET Framework,
- whether the EQAVET Framework is a good fit or an appropriate stretch for their VET national QA approach;
- what strengths/opportunities as well as weaknesses/threats national stakeholders are likely to face in preparing the alignment exercise;
- whether national stakeholders are ready for the alignment of their QA approaches with the EQAVET Framework;
- how national stakeholders can align their current QA approach with the EQAVET Framework.