Review and renewal of qualifications
This research paper
forms part of Cedefop’s Comparing VET qualifications project and contributes to the development of methodologies for the analysis and comparison of the content and profile of vocational education and training programmes and qualifications.
While much effort traditionally has been put into the analysis and comparison of VET institutions and structures, systematic studies on how VET qualifications differ in terms of knowledge, skills and competence are less developed. The Comparing VET qualifications project (1) addresses this imbalance and seeks to establish a methodological basis on which future work in this area can build.
A wide range of stakeholders, including policy-makers, education and training practitioners and researchers, can benefit from robust and scalable methodologies, allowing them review and renew more systematically the content of their programmes and qualifications. And, as illustrated by the current research paper, comparative methodologies are relevant for a wide range of stakeholders operating at different levels, at local and regional, as well as at national and international levels.
The project starts from the increasing use of learning outcomes in countries across Europe and the world (Cedefop, 2009; 2017; 2020). The use of learning outcomes for defining and describing qualifications allows for systematic analysis and comparison of what countries expect their VET candidates to know, be able to do and understand. The current research paper elaborates on how this analysis and comparison of learning outcomes can support the review and renewal of qualifications by improving the dialogue (feedback loop) between VET providers and the labour market. By exploring how systematically to gather, analyse, compare and share information on the demand for, and supply of, skills and competences, at international as well as national level, the paper contributes directly to the long-term development of robust and scalable methods in this area.
(1) Between 2015 and 2017, Cedefop carried out a pilot study comparing 10 VET qualifications in 10 European countries. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the similarities and differences between countries regarding the content and profile of their qualifications. The methodology developed for this study was further tested in cooperation with the ETF and UNESCO, where four of the original 10 qualifications were compared in 26 countries worldwide.
The lessons from this pilot led to the launching of the Comparing VET qualifications project.