A national quality assurance approach and a methodology for internal and external evaluation are in place. So far upper secondary IVET and higher VET (HBO) have quality assurance systems, the first based on supervision and inspection, the latter based on self-evaluation, review and accreditation. A common quality assurance framework for VET providers is in place and applies also to workplace learning. For recognised CVET courses (in the official registry) offered by private providers the same rules apply as in IVET.
Quality assurance in upper secondary VET
The education ministry through the education inspectorate and VET providers themselves are responsible for quality assurance in upper secondary VET. The VET law mandates VET providers to set up a quality assurance system. They are relatively free to design and set up their systems, but have to ensure regular quality assessments that include the arrangements in place for teacher training. Upper secondary VET institutions’ annual reports are the basis for external quality evaluation by the education inspectorate.
Internal monitoring and control: upper secondary VET colleges have small executive boards and internal supervisory boards. Middle management is accountable to the executive board. Participation of students, teachers and parents in decision making is regulated in the act on work councils.
Vertical monitoring and control: the education Inspectorate is in charge of the external supervision, checking whether statutory provisions are met and quality assurance is in place. The assessment framework covers five quality areas: (i) educational process; (ii) school climate; (iii) learning outcomes; (iv) quality assurance and ambition; and (v) financial management. Supervision is proportional in nature, meaning it is stricter where deficiencies are found, and the inspectorate follows up by monitoring whether required improvements have been put in place.
In 2017, the Inspection Framework for external supervision was renewed. One of the most important changes is to make a distinction between statutory requirements and quality factors defined by the schools themselves. Self-defined quality factors pertain to the objectives and ambitions set by the school itself above and beyond the basic quality level. In its reports, the Inspectorate will draw a clear distinction between judgements related to statutory requirements and the assessment of performances on the self-defined quality indicators above and beyond those enshrined in law.
Horizontal dialogue: Using self-chosen tools, the executive board of a VET college is expected to develop and sustain good relations with important local/regional stakeholders: employers, local governments and regional organisations.
Guidelines and standards promote a culture of continuous improvement. Stakeholders (including the inspectorate, VET providers, students/learners and teachers/trainers and VET expertise centres) have contributed to its development. Stakeholders take part in setting VET goals and objectives and their involvement in monitoring and evaluation has been agreed. An advisory committee consisting of all important VET stakeholders meets several times a year to discuss further developments. All EQAVET indicators are used (
Quality, responsiveness and innovation capacity in upper secondary VET have been core policy priorities in the past few years. Extra (partly performance-based) funding is introduced to increase quality. The responsible minister has concluded quality agreements with all VET institutions, which makes them responsible and accountable for their performance. The quality agreements are the basis for quality plans for 2015-2018 and again for 2019-2022 drafted by VET providers themselves. VET colleges should elaborate strategic plans to improve the quality of VET in line with regional needs and in close collaboration with regional stakeholders, young people in a vulnerable position and equal opportunities for all students.