QC-VET: Promoting quality culture in VET


1 Oct 2016 - 31 Aug 2019

The importance of quality aspects in VET has been highlighted by EU in many declarations as in Bruges declaration 2010. The practical result has been development of Common Quality Assurance Framework (CQAF) and lately the European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQVET). A thematic network (QALLL) was created with aimed at improving the standard of vocational education and training. QALLL recognized 39 projects in quality assurance as best practices to be disseminated in EU among VET providers.  

Problem definition

Folkuniversitetet, the applicant, was representing Sweden in QALLL-network. Together with other partners in this application, we initiated and developed 3 projects concerning CQAF (CQAF-provider model 2009, CQAF –ONLINE Model 2011, Peer Review 2012). Our conclusions from these projects were the same as in other 39 best practices: WHY ALL THESE QUALITY ASSURANCE PROJECTS HAVE DIFFICULTY TO BE MAINSTREAMED AND USED BY A WIDER RANGE OF VET PROVIDERS?

Analysis that this partnership did during 2014-15, gave the same answer as some research has been exploring; quality means different thing for different category of staff in VET institutions. There seems to be two cultures approaches to quality:

  1. A ‘rationalist bureaucratic culture’, managerial view, where accountability is achieved through bureaucratic processes. The quality certificate is used as a proof of efficient use of public money towards public financing agencies by VET administration (ISO, TQM and other certificate).
  2. An ‘autonomous professional culture’: self-organized, peer-assessed, collegial decision-making. This is culture embraced by teaching staff in VET.

The above cultures express the extreme differences between what leadership of VET-institutes perceive and what the teaching staff perceive by Quality. (Exploring leadership in vocational education and training, WORKING PAPER, No 13, CEDEFOP, 2011). Many teachers expressed that they were unaffected by the formal quality process at the institute level. They don’t believe the quality system has really been aimed at the teaching programs to any great extent. In worst cases Quality Management is even perceived as having influenced their work in a negative way through introduction of new bureaucratic constraints.

Based in these observations, Folkuniversitetet and Dimitra took the initiative for a new project “Expanding the quality ‘SPIRIT’ of VET“527399-LLP-1-2012-1-SE-LEONARDO-LMP. The project created a guideline handbook for VET-leadership covering following aspects, how to:

  1. engage staff in selection of Quality assurance model
  2. involve the staff in the planning of the Quality initiative
  3. keep the engagement of the teaching staff during implementation
  4. plan the evaluation process of QA findings with teachers
  5. review and plan for improvement of the VET-activities
  6. promote of a shared vision on VET-education

The guidelines were tested by 128 VET-institutions in 6 countries (AT, GR, IT, MT, NL and SE). The result of the tests showed that the guidelines made the leadership more sensitized towards the importance of motivating and engaging teaching staff in whole process of quality initiative. However, the Guidelines were based on CQAF-VET and not quality cycle (Plan, Implement, Evaluate and Review) of EQAVET.  Many VET-leaders expressed the following short coming of the guidelines, they were of the opinion that it should;

  • Be developed according to the quality cycle in order to give guidance for each phase of the cycle.
  • Include more practical examples, best practises for each phase
  • Be complemented by checklists to measure the level of participation of teacher
  • Be made interactive in order to match the need of different level of experience in quality initiative.

Based on the above shortcoming of the guidelines, this partnership decide to improve and update the guidelines by initiating this project.

Overall objective

The overall objective of the project “Promoting quality culture in VET “ is to support VET leadership to motivate and engage VET-teaching staff in implementation of quality initiatives at VET-institution by improving prior elaborated guidelines.


The aim of the project is to further develop the elaborated guidelines for VET leadership for facilitating participatory approach to ensure involvement of teachers. The guidelines will cover following aspects according to EQAVET quality cycle; how to:

  • create awareness of quality assurance ideology and benefits
  • engage staff in selection of Quality assurance model
  • plan the evaluation process of QA finding with the teaching staff
  • review and plan for improvement of the VET-activities
  • promotion of a shared vision on VET-education

The above guideline will be complemented by best practises from participating countries and from the 39 best practise projects from QALL network, complemented by checklists.

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