On December 21 2017 the quality assurance framework, which is the national plan for education and training quality, was approved by the board of the Italian EQAVET reference point, in the conference of state and regions. Labour and education ministries, the regions, the social partners and VET providers were represented in the conference. The quality assurance framework was formally approved in 2012, partially implemented in 2015 and revised in 2017 prior to the conference.
The plan is consistent with the EQAVET recommendation and applies to IVET, CVET and work-based learning. Addressing issues emerging from the input of multiple institutional players in the implementation of quality assurance, the plan acts as an institutional framework within which coherent combining of several existing quality assurance measures is possible. It also guarantees homogeneous choices and quality assurance tools, while allowing autonomy for further changes and territorial declinations to stakeholders.
Implementation of the plan is supported by the activity of the national reference point for quality assurance (NRP) collecting data and information on quality assurance models and activities at national and regional levels. The proper legislative national references, the Buona Scuola (Law 107/2015), the Jobs Act and the Legislative Decree 13/2013, create a new model of training provider accreditation; they also introduce a national certification system based on a repertoire of qualifications, as well as an information system for vocational training.
Education system evaluation is currently based on periodic surveys of student learning outcomes, involving all schools and managed centrally. VET schools are required – in compliance with the national evaluation system – to prepare a self-assessment report following a template and guidelines. Regions and autonomous provinces set standards for all training agencies accessing public funding; these refer to a common framework agreed at national level by all regions and the state. Accredited VET providers are registered in a national database using data from the regions.
The country’s priority is the implementation of the national plan for quality, with the direct involvement of the labour and education ministries and the regions and in closer cooperation with social partners. Whereas the national accreditation system is under revision in line with the Legislative Decree 150/2015, adoption of indicators suggested by the EQAVET recommendation and incorporated in the national plan for quality is envisaged; applying qualitative assessment will help manage the complexity of the training activities. The use of indicators and other statistical parameters supports more comprehensive evaluation, still entrusted to the several actors involved.