Cedefop actively contributed to the policy learning forum (PLF) on the conceptualisation and use of learning outcomes, in Johannesburg, on 24 and 25 June.

Hosted by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and forming part of the ongoing South Africa-EU dialogue, the PLF provided an opportunity to reflect on lessons learned from the implementation and use of learning outcomes in modernising education and training systems.

The forum brought together 100 experts and stakeholders from Africa and Europe and also marked the 21st anniversary of the South African national qualifications framework.

Cedefop expert Jens Bjornavold presented European experiences as regards the shift to learning outcomes, reflecting on the extent to which high aspirations are being realised or not. Cedefop expert Anastasia Pouliou discussed the learning outcomes’ significance for strengthening the labour market relevance of qualifications, underlining their role in boosting the feedback loop between education/training and the labour market.

The forum fed into the ongoing work of Cedefop and UNESCO in developing an international handbook on the use of learning outcomes in education and training. Building on Cedefop’s 2017 European handbook on learning outcomes, the discussions in Johannesburg will be followed by similar events in other regions of the world during the next year, exploring the extent to which the learning outcomes approach can support and improve education and training policies and practices. 

In a separate meeting between Cedefop, UNESCO and SAQA, in Pretoria on 26 June, SAQA’s concrete contributions to the international handbook were discussed. Given the richness of experiences gained in South Africa in this area over the past 25 years, this will provide an important input to the handbook.