Introduction: Level 5: zone of overlap Traditionally, education and training systems have separate and distinct sub-systems (general, vocational and academic/higher education) and these sub-systems are usually related to one another in a strict hierarchy of primary, secondary and tertiary education it appears that VET and HE systems are approaching each other: “It becomes increasingly obvious that the borderlines between VET and HE are partially blurring” (Dunkel and Le Mouillour, 2009). Emphasis on permeability, access, progression What role does Level 5 play in this?
Aim of the study a better understanding of the roles and functions of qualifications referred to EQF level 5, for further learning as well as for employment. strengthen the understanding of the way in which the learning outcomes approach is applied in qualifications frameworks across Europe – using level 5 as a reference point.
Research questions #Research question 1Which qualifications have been linked to level 5 of the EQF; to what extent do countries differ in their use of level 5? 2Which are the key purposes and functions of qualifications assigned to the EQF level 5? What is their ‘currency’ in the labour markets and/or in further learning? 3What is the profile - expressed in terms of learning outcomes - of qualifications assigned to EQF level 5? Which other criteria have been used for placing qualifications at level 5? 4How have the learning outcomes and ‘best fit’ approaches been applied for assigning qualifications to the EQF level 5 across countries? What were the main challenges and opportunities faced by countries? 5Using EQF level 5 as a reference point – to what extent are countries using national qualifications frameworks as a tool to improve linkages between sub-systems/ qualifications and for development of new qualifications? 6Using EQF level 5 as a reference point – what are the implications of learning-outcomes based qualifications levels for individuals in terms of access, progression and transfer of learning outcomes? 7Which are the main differences and similarities between countries or systems with regard to one or more of the above factors?
Methodology Country analysis in fifteen countries In-depth analysis of six case studies Analysis based on: desk research, interviews /site visits with umbrella organisations, Ministries, providers, employers, employees/ graduates, students
Structure report 1. Aim of the study, conceptual framework and research questions 2.Inventory of EQF level 5 qualification types 3. Qualifications at level 5 help people progress in their career and to higher education 4. EQF level 5 qualifications: profile in terms of learning outcomes and input variables 5. Assigning qualifications to the EQF level 5 6. Using NQFs for improving linkages between sub-systems, learning contexts and qualifications and for developing new qualifications: EQF level 5 as a reference point 7. Learning-outcomes based qualifications levels: implications for individuals in terms of access, progression and transfer of learning outcomes – EQF level 5 as reference point 8. Conclusions and recommendations Country reports / Case study reports
Demarcation The fifteen countries which are included in this study are those countries that presented their EQF referencing reports to the EQF Advisory Group by June 2012. They are: Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom (England and Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales).
Different types of EQF level 5 qualifications AT Reife- und Diplomprüfung der Berufsbildenden Höheren Schule (BHS) / VET college Reifeprüfung certificate and VET diploma BE (fl)Hoger Beroepsonderwijs 5 (HBO5) / Higher Vocational Education 5 CZProfesní kvalifikace / Vocational Qualification DKErhvervsakademiuddannelser / Academy Profession Degree DKErhvervsuddannelse (EUD) / Vocational Degree EEKutsed / Occupational qualification FRBrevet de Technicien Supérieur (BTS) / High Technician Certificate FRDiplôme Universitaire de technologie (DUT) / University Diploma of technology FRCertificats de Qualification Professionnelle (CQP) / Vocational Qualification Certificates FRBrevets de Maîtrise (BM) / Further Vocational Training Certificates HRMajstorski Ispit / Master Craftsman Exam HRStručni Studij / Short Cycle Professional Study IEHigher Certificate IEAdvanced Certificate LUBrevet de Maîtrise / Master Craftsman’s diploma LUBrevet de Technicien Supérieur – BTS / Advanced Technician’s Diploma LVPirmā līmeņa profesionālās augstākās izglītības diploms / Diploma of first level professional higher education MTUndergraduate Certificate MTVET Higher Diploma MTFoundation Degree NLAssociate Degree PTDiploma de Especialização Tecnológica (DET) /Technological Specialisation Diploma UK (Sco)Advanced Higher UK (Sco)Scottish Baccalaureate UK (EWNI/Sco)Higher Education Certificate and Diploma UK (EWNI)Foundation Degree UK (EWNI/Sco)Higher National Diploma and Higher National Certificate UK (EWNI)Professional qualification (government-regulated) UK (Sco)Professional Development Awards Level 7 SQF Int., used in the UKProfessional qualification (unregulated)
Demarcation In-depth analysis in 6 countries: Austria, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands. C.TypeName of specific example AT Reife- und Diplomprüfung der Berufsbildenden Höheren Schule (BHS) / VET college Reifeprüfung certificate and VET diploma VET college of business administration AT VET college of engineering (the ‘electronics and technical computer science’ speciality is selected) CZProfesní kvalifikace / Vocational QualificationVQ Human Resources Generalist CZVQ Tour Guide CZVQ Bereavement Counsellor FR University Diploma of technology (DUT-Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie) University Diploma of Technology in the Management of Enterprises and IEAdvanced CertificateAdvanced Certificate in Professional Cookery IEHigher CertificateHigher Certificate in Culinary Arts NLAssociate Degree‘Management in Health care’ Qualifications currently NOT linked to level 5 LT Qualifications provided by the initial VET school- Kaunas VET Centre for the Specialists of Service Business, that currently are referenced to the EQF/LTQF level 4, but according to their provided competences should be referenced to the EQF/LTQF level 5. There will be analysed two such qualifications: Paramedic and Sewing Designer. LT Short cycle study qualifications that could be provided by the higher vocational education college/ university of applied sciences – Kaunas University of Applied Sciences. Two such possible qualifications are analysed: accountant and technician of mechatronics (automated operation). NLThe way a private provider is ‘struggling’ to apply the learning outcome approach to get the qualification included in the NLQF at level 5: Corporate account manager in one of the largest Banks’
Diversity in systems, context and countries Subsystems in which level 5 is offered HE/SCHE IVET General education Professional qualifications (CVET) Difference learning contexts: Formal learning: Non-formal learning: Informal learning: Distinction between formalised systems and non-formalised systems; i.e. the systems which are state-regulated and systems which are not. Country differences: Countries with only qualifications from outside the formal system linked to EQF level 5 Countries with only one type of qualification (VET or HE) linked to level 5 Countries having more than one type of qualification linked to EQF level 5 Countries providing a diversified landscape
The importance of EQF level 5 qualification types On the basis of this qualitative assessment the following clusters of countries are identified: a)Countries in which EQF level 5 qualifications play an important role: FR and AT. b) Countries where EQF level 5 qualifications have an average importance: UK, LU, IE, EE, DK c) Countries where EQF level 5 qualifications have some importance: LV and BE (fl) d) Countries where EQF level 5 qualifications have little importance: PT, NL, HR, CZ In Lithuania, there are no qualifications linked to EQF level 5.
Qualification types, importance and sub systems Q: number of qualification types I: Importance; 1: non existent, 2: little importance, 3: some importance, 4: average importance, 5: important (O; no data)
Role and function There are qualification types that are primarily oriented towards the labour market There are qualification types that are primarily oriented to access in HE There are qualifications having a clear hybrid character
Routes related to level 5: education progression route (A-B-C) With regards to the education progression route, illustrative examples can be found in the UK and France. In the UK (Sco), the ‘Scottish Baccalaureate’ is primarily seen as a preparatory qualification for HE. In France, in spite of its labour market focus, the University Diploma in Technology ‘Management of Enterprises and Administrations’ (DUT-GEA) has the advantage of providing its holders with the opportunity to continue their further formal learning through different higher education pathways. On average 80 per cent of the graduates continue their studies.
Routes related to level 5: The education route preparing for employment at EQF level 5 (A-B-F) With regards to the education route preparing for employment at EQF level 5, almost all level 5 qualifications can be mentioned as an example
Routes related to level 5: employment route The occupation promotion (vertical labour mobility) route via accreditation of prior experiences (G-I-F); The horizontal career switch route on the basis of accreditation of prior experiences (D-E-F and D’-E’-F ), i.e. while continuing working at the same level (or working on a higher level) obtaining a qualification on the basis of accreditation of prior experiences; Qualifications can be used to increase the level of operation in current occupation (promotion) via accreditation of prior experiences. An example of where the EQF level qualification is used for this purpose is in Estonia. The Occupational Qualification in Estonia confirms occupational competence and/or licence to practise. The qualification is obtained via work-based learning.
Routes related to level 5: mixed route The horizontal career switch route on the basis of an education programme (D-K-B-F), (D’-J-B-F (higher)), and (G-H-B-F (lower)), i.e. while continuing operating at the same level (or higher/lower level) obtaining a qualification on the basis of an education programme. For instance, in the Netherlands, since there is a large coherence in both the content and in-depthness of the ‘Associate Degree’ and the related professional Bachelor, making the transition from the first to the latter appears easy.
Qualifications at level 5 play an increasingly important role Level 5 qualifications types play an important role for a number of reasons. In many countries they firstly play a role in allowing easier, step-by-step transitions from VET to higher education without loosing a labour market focus. Secondly, related to the first reason, the level 5 type qualifications are particularly relevant for people already in employment as they often are more labour market oriented than Bachelor programmes, however, allow for progression in ones career. Thirdly, the level 5 type qualifications are or are becoming more recognised as being of labour market relevance.
Part C: Learning outcomes and structure of programmes
Learning outcomes descriptions The learning outcomes are very differently described for the specific qualifications studied. First of all, there is a difference in the scope what is described; either full qualifications or separate units/modules of qualifications. Secondly, the concepts and terminology used differs across qualifications and national contexts. Descriptions are developed on the basis of a professional /occupational profile. No noticeable differences were found between VET and HE systems descriptions
C Categories/dimensions/domains used for describing the national level linked to EQF level 5 Categories/dimensions/domains used for describing qualifications linked to EQF level 5 AT Knowledge, skills, competence VET standards: professional competences, methodical competence, social and personal competence BE (fl) Knowledge (explanatory and procedural), skills (quality to work effective and efficiently on the basis of knowledge), context (where the knowledge and skills are used, relations with others), autonomy and responsibility Professional qualification profiles: have to be structured by the descriptor elements of the FQF () CZ Competences (closely linked to work tasks and processes); NSK level descriptors do not explicitly distinguish categories of learning outcomes although they have been developed in close connection to the EQF) Learning outcomes constituting an individual vocational qualification are present in Qualification and Assessment Standards; they are coded, categorised, and related to the Database of Competences – structured in three elementary categories: Soft Competences; General skills; Vocational knowledge and skills; DK Knowledge (Type and complexity, Understanding), Skills (Type, Problem solving, Communication), Competence (Space for action, Cooperation and responsibility, Learning) VET qualifications and SCHE: Knowledge, skills, competence EE Knowledge, skills, competence; sub-framework for professional/occupational qualifications: Knowledge and understanding, skills, Scope of independence and responsibility Occupational qualification standards: knowledge, competence FR Level descriptor does not use separate categories but reflects knowledge, skills and competence Referential standards (occupational and certification referential standards): practical capacities (i.e. skills), related competences (savoir-faire), associated knowledge (savoirs associés)
Input variables The way the study intensity/volume or duration of the course leading to the level 5 qualification is expressed is largely dependent on the sub-system the qualification is related to. ECTS points Hours Years/months The mode of delivery can be school-based, work-based and dual (combination of both). In addition a distinction can be made between full-time and part-time education programmes. The mode of delivery depends on the sub-system the qualification belongs to: Predominantly, the HE governed qualifications are ‘school-based’ including a considerable work-based part. For the VET governed qualifications at the EQF level 5, the focus is more on gaining practical experience while learning. professional qualifications, often procedures for validation of prior experience general education systems are generally school-based qualifications in the formal HE sub-system are often more uniformly described in terms of mode of delivery and volume of the programme. When relating the learning outcome descriptions and the mode of delivery, it can be observed that when there is more emphasis on generic, transversal competences, the mode of delivery tends to be more school-based. On the other hand, focus on technical/occupational skills translates into a more work-based mode of delivery.
Recommendations (A) It is recommended to stimulate a diversification of qualifications at EQF level 5 in the countries. (B) It is recommended to clarify that qualifications frameworks concern qualifications and not education and training programmes. (C) It is recommended to further stimulate the use of the learning outcomes approach for describing individual qualifications and assigning them to NQF levels on the basis of these descriptions. (D) It is recommended to devote specific studies on qualifications with similar titles now linked to different EQF levels. (E) It is recommended to improve transparency of procedures for assigning qualifications to NQF levels; this for qualifications obtained in formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts. (F) It is recommended to look at the issue of level 5 qualification, key purpose, linkages, progression again after some years as a proxy for the implementation of the EQF in general.
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