ECVET, the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training, aims to facilitate the recognition of competences acquired in vocational training and in informal and non-formal contexts in Europe. It was established by the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009, and outlines a common methodological framework aimed at facilitating the accumulation and transfer of credits obtained in vocational education and training. It applies to all qualifications in non-academic education and training systems while for academic qualifications the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) applies.
The system aims in particular to:
- to facilitate the validation and recognition of skills acquired in the workplace and of knowledge assimilated in different countries, so that they can be relevant for the purposes of professional qualifications;
- encourage mobility between different countries and learning environments;
- to increase the compatibility between the various European vocational education and training systems;
- to increase graduates’ professional prospects and employers’ confidence in the specific skills and knowledge arising from each vocational education and training qualification.
The ECVET system also aims to promote study-related mobility during initial vocational training – for example for trainees and apprentices – by facilitating the recognition of training outcomes obtained abroad in the worker’s home country. This is done through the documentation of learning outcomes (LO), i.e. knowledge, qualifications and competences acquired abroad.
How ECVET works
The implementation of ECVET is not an obligation for the different European education and training systems and should be developed and implemented on a voluntary basis by the EU Member States. The recommendation suggests, in fact, that Member States structure training courses in learning units in a uniform format.
The learning unit is defined as “a coherent set of knowledge, skills and competences that can be assessed and validated”. For each qualification, a set of reference learning units and related ECVET points are available.
ECVETs are therefore accumulable and transferable credits, valid for the purpose of acquiring professional certification.
Being based on learning outcomes, this system is compatible with all education and training systems, including non-formal and informal contexts.
In addition, a structured approach on learning units allows the implementation of personalised and flexible learning pathways, which allow the accumulation of learning outcomes over time and with different learning modes for the purpose of acquiring a qualification. It also allows professional qualifications to be obtained through the recognition of study programmes carried out in different countries.
ECVET does not replace national training systems and does not create a system of certification of learning outcomes. Instead, it is a system that provides for the issue of training credits on the basis of the examination of successfully completed training units. This system encourages cooperation between European educational institutions which, on the basis of ECVET parameters, mutually recognise educational credits to their students.
ECVET is aimed at all European citizens, in particular those who, despite having carried out training or work activities, do not have a recognised professional qualification.
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