ECVET The European Credit system for VET
The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) aims to give people greater control over their individual learning experiences and make it more attractive to move between different countries and different learning environments.
The system aims to facilitate the validation, recognition and accumulation of work-related skills and knowledge acquired during a stay in another country or in different situations. It should ensure that these experiences contribute to vocational qualifications.
ECVET aims for better compatibility between the different vocational education and training (VET) systems in place across Europe and their qualifications.
By 2012, it should create a technical framework to describe qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes, and it includes assessment, transfer, accumulation and recognition procedures.
In ECVET, an individual’s learning outcomes are assessed and validated in order to transfer credits from one qualification system to another, or from one learning «pathway» to another.
According to this approach, learners can accumulate the required learning outcomes for a given qualification over time, in different countries or in different situations.
The system also allows the possibility to develop common references for VET qualifications and is fully compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).
Developments across Europe
The European Commission set up a European ECVET users’ group and a European ECVET network.
EU Members States should ensure that all relevant qualifications and related ‘Europass’ documents issued by national or regional authorities contain clear information related to the use of ECVET.
Several projects focusing on the development and promotion of ECVET are being developed in different sectors (including automobile service, chemistry, tourism, and international trade), funded by the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP).
A network of LLP National Agencies created «NETECVET» with the aim to exploiting the Leonardo and LLP project results and to develop a toolbox to foster the transnational mobility of learners.
Guidelines and instruments that support the use of ECVET are available from the portal of the ECVET Team.
The development of ECVET began in 2002 after the Copenhagen Process emphasised the need for a credit transfer system for VET. National governments and the European Parliament gave their final approval to legislation in June 2009.
The Commission defines the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) as a methodological framework that can be used to describe qualifications * in terms of units of learning outcomes * with associated points *.
ECVET is a system for the accumulation and transfer of units of learning outcomes in vocational education and training in Europe. It allows attestation and recording of learning outcomes acquired in various contexts, both in other countries and through formal, informal or non-formal learning. Learning outcomes can be transferred to a person’s ‘home’ system to be counted towards the obtainment of a qualification.
The diversity of national systems that define the levels and content of qualifications is not conducive to transnational mobility of learners. ECVET would allow this situation to be remedied by facilitating mobility among learners throughout Europe.
Member States are free to adopt this recommendation and implement the system. They are asked to gradually introduce measures voluntarily, with a view to using ECVET from 2012.
ECVET should be implemented through partnerships and networks based on learning agreements (Memoranda of Understanding), which provide an appropriate framework for credit transfers. With a view to transferring credits, the principles and technical specifications for describing qualifications in terms of units of learning outcomes with associated points are set out in Annex II.
A European ECVET network of relevant stakeholders and competent institutions has been established to promote ECVET and allow Member States to exchange information and experience. From this network, the Commission has established an ECVET users’ group, which contributes to the ECVET users’ guide and the implementation of ECVET.
Complementarity with other initiatives for the recognition and transfer of skills
ECVET will also complement the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) by linking vocational education and training with higher education. The ECTS was set up in 1989, and has encouraged transparency and the recognition of periods of study spent in other countries.
The aim of ECVET is to facilitate the transfer of credits for learning outcomes from one qualifications system to another. It is different from theEuropean Qualifications Framework (EQF), which is a common reference framework. Rather than harmonising these systems, ECVET is designed to make them compatible by providing an interface between existing national provisions on the accumulation, recognition and transfer of credits.
ECVET is not concerned with mutual recognition of vocational qualifications, with respect to which the relevant directive imposes binding obligations on Member States.
European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET
A new reference tool to encourage Member States to exchange best practices in the field of vocational education and training policies was presented together with ECVET. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET is designed to improve quality management practices at national level within this field by introducing a set of common criteria and indicators.
The EU’s target is to make European education and training systems a benchmark for the world by 2010. As part of the Lisbon Strategy, common objectives were adopted by Member States to improve their education and training systems. The «Education and Training 2010» work programme was drawn up with this aim in view.
The ministerial declaration signed in Copenhagen in 2002, concerns the revival of cooperation in the field of vocational training. It aims, in particular, to implement the Education and Training 2010 work programme in a coordinated manner, and stresses the importance of a credit transfer system for vocational education and training. The Council conclusions of 15 November 2004 indicated the need to continue developing and establishing a European system in this field.
The results of the consultation on the ECVET blueprint held between November 2006 and March 2007 confirmed the need to set up such a system for vocational education and training.