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Educational Choice Tool (Onderwijskiezer)
Different stakeholders are engaged in the financing, development, provision of information (‘feed’) and implementation of Onderwijskiezer.be
Onderwijskiezer.be provides information about primary, secondary and higher educational opportunities in Flanders in order to help people in making an informed study and occupational choice.
The tool is aimed at students and their parents looking for a school, a study programme or a pupil guidance centre. It is also designed for teachers and practitioners involved in student guidance as an information tool and as a tool to be used in their career guidance activities.
LMI depicts the link between educational options, occupations and labour market opportunities. Four types of LMI included in the portal:
- Educational information;
- Occupational information: about 900 occupational profiles are included in the tool;
- Labour market opportunities, although it does not provide labour market forecasts;
- Career development information.
- Onderwijskiezer was created as a digital one stop shop and online wiki on educational options in Flanders;
- Systems ensure comparability of information across schools;
- It is characterised by high connectivity, as it is possible to include information from other databases or sites, or vice versa;
- The website is structured in a user friendly, simple way, and is accessible free of cost and registration (accessibility);
- Visitors can interact with the team through the permanent questions and answer service.
Quantitative results: the portal has been quickly adopted in schools and CLB’s, students, parents, and teachers since its launch in 2011. The portal received 1,23 million unique visitors between December 2015 and November 2016, and 43% of the visits were from new visitors.
Qualitative results: Onderwijskiezer contributes to the empowerment of users, to better informed career choices, to the improvement skills of career practitioners.
Evaluation process: a) informal evaluation system, i.e. occasional feedback from schools, teachers, students, parents; b) Google Analytics; c) Counselling activities by CLB are registered in the LARS database but these data have not been exploited for analytical purposes.
- Single point of entry for citizens and career professionals;
- Comprehensive careers and educational opportunities database;
- The team applies strict criteria to ensure the impartiality and neutrality of the information;
- Fast personalised answer to questions, also during school holidays;
- Use of clear, simple language;
- A clear network approach for information retrieval, allowing a relatively small core team to manage a huge amount of information and data;
- Relatively cheap and simple technology behind the portal.
Career management skills are a voluntary educational attainment leading to big variety in how the acquisition of career management skills is supported in schools. There is no minimum level that all students should reach.
There is a general feeling that the wealth of information cannot be fully exploited by the key target public, namely students and parents because of its complexity and volume.
The practice Onderwijskiezer was triggered by several, rather practical aspects such as the fragmentation of educational information, the occasionally biased information, and the opportunity of sharing information to all by creating a website. Onderwijskiezer is an example of a policy initiative integrating ICT and labour market information, education and LMI.
The budget is estimated at least EUR 242 000 per year.
Four full time employees. All staff members of the team have a long experience of working in the field of student guidance, in pupil guidance centres or in projects focusing on the development of educational career guidance. The person responsible for the technological part of the portal is a CPG staff member with a high level of digital literacy.
The information included in Onderwijskiezer is registered in a SQL database. The collection of information is based on two approaches:
i) a network approach for obtaining information from pupil guidance centres and schools. Schools provide information to the local data manager in their CPG. The local data manager of the CPG adds the information to the portal;
ii) information by other partners is added through links. Sometimes, information is added manually. This work will be automated in the future.
The digital skills required to build and to navigate the tool are quite basic; but, interpreting the information is more difficult e.g. the interpretation of study performance rates.
The team of Onderwijskiezer puts a lot of effort in maintaining contacts and reaching out to partners.
- A new orientation tool for students making the transition towards higher education (Columbus) has become recently available;
- There are certain issues that could undermine the stability in the long-run such as the lack of structural funding.