ECDL Estonia, BCS Koolitus and Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications; Estonia
According to Estonian national regulations VET curricula must be based on corresponding occupational standards developed by employers. It is also mandatory that all VET graduates take occupational qualification exams based on occupational standards.
The overall aim is to have the outcomes of curriculum design (learning outcomes) aligned with job profiles (tasks and activities) and competences that employers identify for particular roles.
The e-CF and the European ICT Professional Role Profiles can be used as a common language that helps employers, curriculum developers and also lecturers to provide input into the development of learning outcomes.
Added value of e-CF in summary:
1) Common language of competences and profiles organized in a systematic way for educators and employers. To facilitate mutual understanding between employers and educators in the past many advisory boards were composed by educators who had worked in industry and employers who did some teaching. The e-CF and ICT Profiles helped to broaden the circle from this small group which was important.
2) Logical link between activities based perspective of employers and subject based perspective of educators. Employers tend to think in action/ activities based way and educators tend to think in a subject/ topic based way. The e-CF and ICT Profiles provide a link between these two ways of thinking by using competences to support learning outcomes definition.
3) Significant saving of time and effort to focus the debate at an appropriate level of detail. Before using these shared concepts it took 3-4 months to build a new occupational profile and standard. Now this can be achieved in less than half of the time as an accepted structure focuses discussion around the framework. The ICT Profiles are at the right level of detail as a general approach is in this context best. Employers and educators are then requested to engage and take responsibility for developing the detail, e.g. specific skills.
And then, at the end of the studies, you need to evaluate the learning outcomes reached. For that testing, to become a tool for quality management of schools and curricula, it needs to cover a wide range of topics over the whole curriculum, be school-independent and also cost-effective (i.e. low-cost - to be affordable for all graduates of VET schools). The technology centric certifications that are widely available through international testing centers do not meet these requirements and can be used only partially. In Estonia for ICT professional qualification exams EUCIP Core tests are officially one part of the exams for VET level graduates. So everybody seeking ICT professional qualification on VET level must pass EUCIP certification. Our experience in using EUCIP is over 10 years long. EUCIP tests continue to be a good tool for quick and easy assessment of the Basic skills of junior level ICT specialists.
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This article was contributed by:
Ants Sild, CEO, BCS Koolitus