The Commission will present plans for a European credit system in vocational education and training (ECVET). The aim is to give citizens better access to lifelong learning across Europe.
In Europe, the transfer of knowledge, skills and competences acquired elsewhere is often difficult because systems of vocational education and training can be complex and are rarely mutually compatible. ECVET is a tool that would allow authorities in the Member States to translate - with the help of credit points - an individual's learning outcomes from another system or learning context into their own. This European initiative does not seek to replace national systems of vocational education and training, nor would it harmonise rules and procedures in the Member States.
The Commission will also put forward a new reference tool designed to help Member States exchange best practice in vocational education and training policies. By way of introducing a set of common criteria and indicative descriptors, the European Quality Assurance Framework (EQARF) would encourage Member States to improve their quality management practices in this policy field.
The background: ECVET mirrors the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System in higher education. First introduced in 1989, ECTS has made it easier for students in Europe to gain formal recognition at home for those parts of their studies done abroad.
The existing ECTS and the proposed ECVET credit systems are part of a series of European initiatives that aim to contribute to a European area of lifelong learning. They tie in with Europass, the European Quality Charter for Mobility (EQCM), the European principles for the identification and validation of non-formal and informal learning and the European Qualification Framework for lifelong learning (EQF).
Both Commission proposals will take the form of Recommendations that will be submitted for approval to the European Parliament and the Council. Member States would eventually adopt them on a voluntary basis and according to their own rules.
The sources: European Credit Transfer System in Vocational Education and Training (ECVET):