"Baltic Education" aims are the development, implementation and achievement of a system of mutual recognition of vocational education and training (VET) by adopting the European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). ECVET is designed to facilitate the transfer, accumulation and recognition of learning and education outcomes by mutual recognition of professional degrees in the Baltic Sea Region (see figure 1). Building on confidence and proceeding as unbureaucratic as possible, the planned system will increase the transparency. It is meant to be integrated in the EU qualification passport Europass. The target groups of the Baltic Education project are
>>   management and leading employees in chambers,
>>   educational and further educational training centres and
>>   the public administrations in charge of vocational education and trainees as well as qualified employees.

Objectives

The ECVET system shall provide a lasting quality improvement in the professional education and further education. The project pursues the following special aims:
>>   the creation of a lasting, cross border ECVET partnership in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), which is mainly based on the existing network and cooperation's of the Hanseatic Parliament;
>>   construction of a cross border cooperation and information platform in the BSR;
>>   intensive information exchange about the European Qualification Framework (EQF) and particularly about the ECVET;
>>   developing of a so called "Baltic Sea Region-Qualification Framework (BSR-QF)" (see below);
>>   development of suggestions, systems, methods and agreements for the future application of ECVET in the BSR as well as intensify
>>   use of the Europass.

Baltic Sea Region-Qualification Framework (BSR-QF)

The main function of a Qualification Framework (QF) is to increase the transparency, quality and comparability of vocational and academic qualifications across different educational systems and European countries. A QF is an overall instrument for the development and classification of qualification outcomes according to a set of criteria for levels of learning which will be achieved by a specific person. Also the absence of transparency of qualifications across different education and training systems will be covered by this instrument. With the QF the testing and experimentation phase within the Baltic Education project will be more plausible because it will be possible to categorise them. The project has therefore the aim to develop and to promote such an instrument within the Baltic Education project. The BSR-QF has eight competence levels (0-7) which are based on educational qualifications and on a modified framework for qualification of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Two Project Phases

The project is divided in two phases. In the first project phase the four partners
>>   Kuratorium Oświaty (Gdańsk, Poland),
>>   Vilnius Builders Training Centre (Vilnius, Lithuania),
>>   Pori College (Pori, Finnland) and
>>   Department for Education and Sport (Hamburg, Germany)
intensify co-operation and partnership between the participating chambers and public authorities. The partners have chosen the profession "painter" as an example for the testing phase. The practical use of the developed ECVET System for the profession "painter" will be tested in the four regions by mid of November 2007. The first project phase is divided into three single project steps which are described below (see step 1 - 3). Figure 2 shows the (simplified) project steps within the first project phase. The second test phase enfolds Baltic Sea Regions in Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Norway. Here it contains a continuation and assignment of the results to all 33 members of the Hanseatic Parliament. The second project phase is starting in November 2007 and is ending in February 2008.

Figure 1: System of mutual recognition of vocational education and training (VET)

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Step 1: Modularisation of Units

The very first project step within the first project phase is the modularisation of units for the profession "painter". The units are developed on the basis of the national vocational frameworks for the profession "painter" by they project development. The objective of this developing phase is to separate the four vocational frameworks for the profession "painter" into operational, transparent and comparable (1) units and (2) subunits, whereas subunits are smaller than units. Units and Subunits are aggregated to reflect the qualifications (capabilities, vocational competencies and knowledge) by mid of June 2007 based on a consultation process.

Figure 2: Project Steps within the first project phase

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2. Step: Quantification with Credit Points

After the modularisation process the units will be quantified with credit points for (1) expenditure of time and (2) outcome and tested for the profession "painter". The partners decided that the maximum should be 60 credit points per year of education. It is, for example, possible to receive max. 180 credit points for a vocational education period of three years. The maximum time difference between the different vocational education and training measures for the profession "painter" should not be longer than one year. Variation in the quantification of the units by the participating countries should not exceed 20% (e.g. 20 cp). This process will be co-ordinated by an intensive consultation process between the partners and the project development.

Step 3: Integration in the Europass

The results are meant to be integrated within the EU qualification passport Europass. The Europass is an instrument which is already used for increasing of cross-border labour mobility within the EU. The Europass consists of five documents (Europass CV, Europass Language Passport, Europass Certificate Supplement, Europass Diploma Supplement and Europass Mobility). The Europass Mobility document, for instance, is a documentation of any period of time that an individual spends in another country for vocational education and training
(http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/).
 


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