- I have been taking part this morning 9th of November in a peer learning conference on NQF impact that was organized by Cedefop, in cooperation with the European Commission and Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), in 8 – 9 of November 2017. The main aim of the event has been to allow policy-makers, researchers and practitioners to exchange experiences and discuss the impact and challenges of NQF implementation. The following key questions are being addressed:
- What would be lost if your country did not have an NQF?
- To whom do NQFs make a difference?
- How do NQFs make a difference?
- Under which conditions do NQFs make a difference?
- What kind of evidence is currently available to provide insights about the impact of NQFs
- in Europe?
- What kind of evidence may be required in the future to measure and evaluate NQF impact?
- What baseline data or indicators could be useful in explaining NQF impact of and could help continue political support for NQFs?
- Which methodologies are most appropriate for measuring and evaluating NQF impact?
- What kind of European cooperation on NQF impact assessment is possible and desirable? Can national approaches contribute to the overall assessment of the EQF?
I have pointed out that Spain has developed its qualifications framework for lifelong learning, known as the Spanish qualifications framework (Marco Español de Cualificaciones (MECU)). It is based on learning outcomes and aims to link and coordinate different education and training subsystems. The framework will include qualifications obtained in compulsory, post-secondary and higher education, and pintegrate validation of non-formal and informal learning processes.
In the same way, I remarked that the MECU aims to support lifelong learning, including qualifications acquired through formal education, but also integrating validation of non-formal and informal learning (European Commission et al., forthcoming). It also aims to link initial vocational education and training (IVET) and continuing VET, and improve access and participation for everyone, including the disadvantaged.
Spain does not have a comprehensive national strategy for validation; different laws frame validation, targeting different education sectors. The Organic Law of Education and the Organic Law of Universities incorporate actions to validate non-formal and informal learning, such as access exams to VET and university studies aimed at those who do not have the required qualifications. Royal Decree 1224/2009 (11) established recognition of skills acquired through work experience. This decree provides the possibility of evaluating professional competences through non-traditional assessment methods; this is common to gaining qualifications from the employment administration (certificados de profesionalidad) and the education administration (IVET programmes) through specific calls for validation. The procedure only validates professional competences acquired through work experience or non- formal learning pertaining to specific units of competences registered in the national catalogue of professional qualifications.