You are here

 
Please consent to cookies in order to use the reading list

Lithuania - First steps to evaluate the quality of non-formal and informal education

ReferNet Lithuania

During the adult education week, on 19 November 2010, the Lithuanian Association of Adult Education (LAAE) organised a videoconference devoted to the quality of non-formal and informal adult education.


120 members of LAAE participated in the conference. They gathered in distant learning classes in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Utena, Pakruojis, Mazeikiai and Naujoji Akmene.

The question of the quality of non-formal and informal teaching and learning constantly appears in the agenda of adult educators and decision-makers at national and international levels. Some of the most important documents in this respect are:

- A Memorandum on Lifelong Learning. Commission of European Communities (2000)

- Adult learning: It is never too late to learn. Communication from the Commission (2006)

- Harnessing the power and potential of adult learning and education for a viable future. Belém Framework for Action. The Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) (2009)

- Strategy of Assuring Lifelong Learning in Lithuania (2008)

CONFINTEA VI Belém Framework for Action devotes a whole chapter to the quality of teaching and learning and stresses: “Quality in learning and education is a holistic, multidimensional concept and practice that demands constant attention and continuous development. Fostering a culture of quality in adult learning requires relevant content and modes of delivery, learnercentred needs assessment, the acquisition of multiple competences and knowledge, the professionalisation of educators, the enrichment of learning environments and the empowerment of individuals and communities”.

It might seem that sufficient attention is paid to the quality of non-formal and informal education, but the reality is quite different. So far, at least in Lithuania, almost nothing has been done to realise this idea.

Accreditation systems are created within formal education. They make everyone evaluate themselves regularly and receive external evaluation. On the contrary, the quality of non-formal and informal education is left to the evaluation of those who deliver training and who participate in them (market). Unfortunately, the market does not solve everything. In the public sector, especially speaking about unprofessional non-formal and informal education, market laws can hardly be applied.

That is why we suggest a system of voluntary self-evaluation and external evaluation of the quality of non-formal and informal education. What for? It would give stimulus for improvement; it would help to identify the spheres in which ther is room for improvement; it would help to control the quality of non-formal and informal education; it would also help clients to determine the relation between price and quality.

In order to implement this idea, we need: 1) approval by the community; 2) instruments for evaluation and self-evaluation; 3) a system of evaluation and self-evaluation; 4) definition of who takes the responsibility to evaluate and to establish the instruments and the system; 5) evaluators; 6) money for preparing the instruments and the system of evaluation and self-evaluation.

This entails the need to create quality measurement criteria which could allow an objective evaluation of quality. Several EU projects have been targeting that task and trying to create quality measurement criteria and quality evaluation systems, for example:

- Project SEQUEL (Sustainable Environment for the Evaluation of Quality in E-Learning).

- Project RECALL (Recognition of Quality in Lifelong Learning).

A draft list of criteria for the evaluation of the quality of non-formal and informal learning was prepared on the bases of the results of those projects. The list was distributed to the participants of the conference for evaluation of feasibility in the Lithuanian context. The forms submitted are currently being processed.

Four papers were presented during the conference:

- Adult education week as the start to the learning planet. Arunas Beksta, Lithuanian Association of Adult Education.

- Basic ideas of the 6th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI). Prof. Vincentas Dienys, Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre.

- Development of Quality Culture. Rūta Karvelytė, Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre.

- Quality of adult learning- adaptation for change? Prof. Margarita Teresevicienė, Vytautas Magnus University.

The participants in distant classes had an assignment to discuss and present their opinion on the following questions:

- Do we need to evaluate the quality of non-formal and informal learning?

- Who shall be the evaluator?

- When (one or several times during the year; when the organisation applies)?

- For how long will the evaluation be valid?

- Who pays?

In brief, the results of discussions are as follows:

- All groups recognised the need for evaluation and for the creation of a system to this purpose.

- Evaluation could be organised by the Lithuanian Association of Adult Education, with the creation of pool of evaluators.

- Applications for evaluation can be submitted at any time, but the time of the evaluation will depend on the organisation of the process and number of applicants.

- Evaluation shall be valid for three years.

- Opinions regarding “who pays?” diverged. Most groups suggested that the applicant should pay for the evaluation. But there were several remarks that in that case the objectivity of evaluation could be in doubt. Therefore the process should be financed by the State.

Now it is important to start concrete preparatory works.

News Details

31/01/2011
ReferNet Lithuania