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JOINT PROJECT - ‘Strengthening Higher education in Bih’ Task force for qualifications frameworks in higher education 23-24 May 2006. QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORKS Stephen Adam, University of Westminster. See BFG Working Group text on qualifications frameworks. QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORKS.

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JOINT PROJECT -‘Strengthening Higher education in Bih’Task force for qualifications frameworks in higher education23-24 May 2006

QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORKS

Stephen Adam, University of Westminster

See BFG Working Group text on qualifications frameworks

qualifications frameworks
QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORKS
  • Definitions: qualifications systems & qualifications frameworks (QF)
  • What are the purposes of qualifications frameworks?
  • European ‘framework’ developments and the:
      • Problems faced by the Bologna Process
      • Bologna solution: national and overarching qualifications frameworks
      • European Commission initiative: European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF)
  • The Bologna self certification process: NQF-EHEA
  • Good practice for the development of national qualifications frameworks
  • Why are qualifications framework important?
  • Challenges faced by BiH
definitions systems v new style qualifications frameworks qf
Definitions: systems v (new style) qualifications frameworks (QF)
  • Qualifications frameworks are…

’the single description, at national level of an educational system, which is internationally understood and through which all qualifications and other learning achievement in higher education may be described and related to each other in a coherent way and which defines the relationship between higher education qualifications.’

(Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks, Chapter 2, p31)

  • Distinguish between education ‘systems’ and national ‘frameworks’
  • ‘New-style’ qualifications frameworks are based on external reference points: levels, level indicators, learning outcomes, qualifications, qualifications descriptors, benchmark statements, etc.
2 what are the purposes of national qualifications frameworks
2. What are the purposes of national qualifications frameworks ?

National qualifications frameworks vary in political, social and economic

aims, objectives, regulatory powers, and priorities. Currently, many are

relatively ineffective. They can achieve some things and simply enable others

(act as a driver)

ACHIEVE:

  • Make explicit the purposes and aims of qualifications
  • Delineate points of integration and overlap
  • Provide a nationally agreed framework that guides and reflects the agreement of stakeholders
  • Provide a context for review and development of existing qualifications
  • Provide a context for the design of new qualifications
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DRIVE CHANGE BY:
  • Promote the attainment of qualifications – indicate their role and benefits
  • Nationally and internationally raise the awareness of citizens and employers about qualifications
  • Clarify and support learners about opportunities available to them
  • Improve access and social inclusion – alternative routes
  • Facilitate curricular change
  • Facilitate recognition and mobility
  • Position qualifications in relation to one another
  • Show routes for progression as well as barriers
3 european framework developments
3. European ‘framework’ developments:
  • Problems faced by the Bologna Process
  • Bologna solution: national and overarching qualifications frameworks
  • European Commission - European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF)
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Problems faced by the Bologna Process

A WAY THROUGH THE EUROPEAN HE MAZE – EASY?

START:

Lack of common educational structures

+

No commonality of educational approach or methodology

+

No common reference points

+

Educational chaos – mismatched qualifications

FINISH:

The European Higher

Education Area

(10 Action lines glued by the overarching framework for qualifications)

problems faced by the bologna process
Problems faced by the Bologna Process

The initial problem:

Bologna reforms had initially created a formless, embryonic first cycle and second cycle qualifications framework. European first and second cycle qualifications must have firm foundations, for they lie at the heart of the Bologna process.We were creating a Dr Frankenstein’s educational monster!

bologna solution national and overarching qualifications frameworks
Bologna solution: national and overarching qualifications frameworks

MINISTERS:

  • We adopt the overarching framework for qualifications in the EHEA, comprising three cycles (including, within national contexts, the possibility of intermediate qualifications), generic descriptors for each cycle based on learning outcomes and competences, and credit ranges in the first and second cycles. We commit ourselves to elaborating national frameworks for qualifications compatible with the overarching framework for qualifications in the EHEA by 2010, and to having started work on this by 2007. We ask the Follow-up Group to report on the implementation and further development of the overarching framework.
  • We underline the importance of ensuring complementarity between the overarching framework for the EHEA and the proposed broader framework for qualifications for lifelong learning encompassing general education as well as vocational education and training as now being developed within the European Union as well as among participating countries. We ask the European Commission fully to consult all parties to the Bologna Process as work progresses.

[Bergen Communiqué,19-20thMay 2005]

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The overarching Higher Education framework for the EHEA - a framework of frameworks!(see text chapter 3)
  • Cycles:
      • First cycle (bachelor, licencié, etc.)
      • Second cycle (master etc.)
      • Third cycle ( Ph.D. etc.)
  • Cycles based on generic descriptors (the Dublin descriptors)
      • Knowledge and understanding
      • Applying knowledge and understanding
      • Making judgements
      • Communication skills
      • Learning skills
  • Identifies credit ranges in ECTS
      • Short cycle: approx. 120 ECTS
      • First cycle: 180-240 ECTS
      • Second cycle: 90-120 ECTS (min 60)
      • Third cycle : not specified
european commission initiative european qualifications framework for lifelong learning eqf
European Commission initiative: European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF)
  • The EC established (November 2004) an expert ‘welding group’ to link Bruges-Copenhagen process (VET) to the Bologna Process (HE), to create a credit-based framework for lifelong learning – a European Qualifications Framework (EQF) - a meta framework!
  • Incorporates the Bologna HE framework (plagiarism)
  • Proposals for an eight level meta-framework to link national and

sectoral frameworks across Europe

  • 40 page Consultation document:

‘Towards a European Qualifications framework for lifelong learning’

  • Separate proposals on credits were dropped (confused mess)
  • Consultation July-December 2005 + conference February 2006
  • Draft recommendations of the EQF then to be submitted to the

Council and Parliament spring 2006

  • Will go ahead with some simplification of reference levels, focus on quality assurance, more precision about learning outcomes, etc.
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EQF

Country B

Country A

Qualifications

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Qualifications

(B)

4 the bologna self certification process nqf ehea
4. The Bologna self certification process:NQF-EHEA
  • Alignment of the NQF to the EHEA overarching framework is by a self-certification process
  • Involves no external control but trust building
  • Employs criteria for verification
  • Identifies procedures for self-certification
  • The process has strong links to quality assurance mechanisms
good practice for the development of national qualifications frameworks
Good practice for the development of national qualifications frameworks

NOTE: Best to adopt a bottom-up + top-down process

  • Involve all stakeholders in their development and review
  • Identify clear agreed purposes
  • Identify levels + outcome-focused descriptors
  • Employ learning outcomes to express modules and courses
  • Employ multiple pathways into and through HE (+LLL)
  • Use credits to enhance flexibility, progression and recognition
  • Link to academic standards and quality assurance systems
  • Gain public confidence and understanding
  • ‘New style’ QFs facilitate institutional autonomy + use external reference points to promote ‘responsible’ institutions
  • Design them so they articulate with the overarching European framework

[Pages 54-56 A Framework for Qualifications of the EHEA]

6 why are qualifications frameworks important
6. Why are qualifications frameworks important?

THEY:

  • Help make the EHEA a reality + strengthen existing transparency, mobility and recognition instruments (Lisbon Recognition Convention, Diploma Supplement, etc.)
  • Embody the use of common tools, methodologies and approaches + end confusions between cycles & qualifications
  • Aid transparency, mobility and recognition + the efficiency and competitiveness of the EHEA.
  • Protect the diversity of degrees and degree content (national/institutional academic autonomy) and creativity of European education.

Note: the real educational revolution is in the introduction of National Qualifications Frameworks and learning outcomes.

7 challenges faced by bih
7. Challenges faced by BiH
  • Convince academics, students, citizens, experts, etc. of the benefits of qualifications frameworks
  • Construct a ‘new style’ national qualifications framework – identify and involve all stakeholders
  • Make a decision about the use of credits (ECTS) + clarify relationships between the qualifications frameworks and the credit system
  • Incorporate the ‘Dublin descriptors’ and use them to help develop detailed national levels and level descriptors + also use the EQF as a further external reference point
  • Ensure the quality assurance system is fit for its tasks
  • Formalise a national strategy with appropriate deadlines for all development + future ‘self-certification’
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8. Final thought…

National education systems can no longer act as if they are isolated desert islands!

9 references
9. References
  • Bologna Bergen website:

http://www.bologna-bergen2005.no

  • European Commission EQF: http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/educ/eqf/index.en.html
  • UK Bologna Secretariat website:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/bologna/