02 SES 13 B, Quality Assessment Systems and the Formation of Local Quality Work
During the last years there has been a renewed emphasis on the question of quality, accountability and transparency in VET throughout Europe. Much of this development has been initiated or translated through internationalization or Europeanization processes. It is widely assumed that both quality and accountability will improve as nation-state governments develop national total quality assessment frameworks where local providers of VET are assigned more responsibility for meeting set targets according to measurable outcome indicators, develop systems for quality assessment and organize processes for structuring and enhancing quality in local skill formation. The formation of such frameworks is supposed to ensure local autonomy as well as tools for central control and steering purposes. Still the implications for different types of national skill formation systems remain contested. They are not in any sense neutral instruments.
In this proposal for a cross-national comparative oriented symposium on VET quality policies and frameworks the key items are:
- How quality policies and the formation of national quality assessment frameworks have affected vocational education and training institutions in Europe.
- If variations in Vet systems relate systematically to the shaping of quality policies and frameworks.
- The potential of studying the shape of quality policies and frameworks in Vet hybrid systems
What we want to know what has happened in the formation and implementation of quality policies and frameworks, as well as their various shape and content, but we also want to know something about differences and similarities between countries and VET systems. Often it is assumed that the various systems produce different habitats for policies as well as different routes for change. The question is if or to what extent systematic propositions on the relations between VET types and the shape of quality frameworks and their implementation could be formulated. Interactions between state structures and VET systems might produce internal homogenous configurations of quality policies and frameworks. In other cases relations between quality policies and VET systems might provide conditions which are more loosely coupled, providing tensions and fuzzy logics, where different elements might be layered, disjointed or recombined, providing possibilities for new quality trajectories. Quality policies might also be more or less comprehensive, depending on state structures and degree of centralization/decentralization or exposed to various degrees of implementation gaps. Also studying hybrid VET structures combining elements normally associated with different types of systems might add to the systematic development of knowledge on quality frameworks. It is therefore important to investigate the quality system formation processes and its workings through empirical study.
A focal point in the symposium will be provided by the contrast between the Norwegian (hybrid) case and the Austrian collective skill formation system case, focusing similarities and contrasts between the shape and content of the two national quality frameworks, local formation and implementation and the VET systems in which they are embedded. The discussion will be based on two papers from the Norwegian project, one paper from Austria and discussants from both Germany and Switzerland to broaden the European perspective.
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