Romania - Implementing the national model
Romania has introduced a national quality management system for continuing VET providers. The system has the following main objectives:
- to implement a quality assurance model linked to ISO 900 and Excellence Models;
- to measure the effectiveness and progress of these quality assurance requirements;
- to measure the quality of continuing VET provision in relation to the relevant performance indicators;
- to compare the continuing VET providers’ quality against the agreed targets;
- to compare the continuing VET provider’ quality against the agreed benchmarks.
CALISIS is a three year project, implemented from January 2009 until December 2011. It focuses on continuing VET providers, the regional authorities and the National Qualification Authority. FiaTest Ltd, an accredited provider that offers more than 1,000 continuing VET courses has participated in the design and delivery of this pilot quality management system for CVET as part of this national project .
The CVET quality management system is based on seven criteria:
- the EQAVET Recommendation;
- Excellence Model;
- ISO 9001 standards;
- key and financial results (performance measure 1);
- the quality of the training programs as measured by trainees/ trainers/ employers (performance measure 2);
- the indicators in the EQAVET Recommendation (performance measure 3);
- indicators to measure internal processes (performance measure 4).
VET provider’s approach to quality assurance
FiaTest Ltd approach is based on quantifying the effectiveness of its quality management system by using five measures:
- how well all the quality assurance requirements have been implemented;
- the extent to which behaviour has changed as a result of implementing quality assurance measures;
- the reliability, validity and effectiveness of how quality is measured;
- the quality of the teaching and learning process;
- the quality of the improvement process e.g. the quality of the improvement plans, preventive actions, corrective actions etc.
Each of the five measures is assigned a value between zero and 100 and strengths and areas for improvements are noted. This process will be repeated for the next three years in order for trends to be identified. Using the seven criteria and the five measures of success, a decision will be made at the national level on whether the ongoing accreditation/authorisation as a VET provider continues or whether continuing VET provider’s provision is specifically monitored in subsequent years.
FiaTest Ltd has found that:
- performance improves if a VET provider has a strong and mature quality assurance system;
- there is less need to monitor continuing VET providers if they have a strong and mature quality assurance system;
- very effective continuing VET providers provide a good benchmark for other organisations
Because of the effectiveness of its own systems, FiaTest Ltd has become one of the leaders for national CVT programmes in Romania.
These can be divided into two sections, internal and external. Within FiaTest Ltd:
- there was resistance from employees to using quantitative assessment and the use of a self assessment questionnaire;
- it was important to collect results and outcomes that related to the indicators of success
- it took time for employers to become fully involved in measuring the quality of training programmes;
- finding a simple way to represent information from the quality indicators in order that improvements could be identified for each programme
Outside the organisation
- creating links between the quality of the training programme and the accreditation and authorisation process
- at times there was a low level of trust and a lack of consensus between the internal self-assessment team and the external assessors
- the quality management organisations that award certificates for quality assurance found a quantitative process difficult to accept
- for many Romanian organisation involved in continuing VET, the four stage EQAVET quality assurance cycle was a new concept.