Reforming VET to increase its flexibility and attractiveness among learners and companies is currently being promoted in Lithuania. Its success depends largely on the quality of the activities provided by VET institutions and companies offering practical training. External quality assessment is part of the measures foreseen to support development of internal quality assurance systems based on VET institution community leadership, stakeholder involvement, results orientation and a systematic approach to quality management.

Order No V-442 of 25 March 2020 approved by the Minister of Education, Science and Sport describes the criteria and methods of the system for the external evaluation of training providers. It foresees regular evaluation (activities performed by training providers in the past five years at least), specific indicators predefined by the expert group running the external assessments, and, if applicable, recommendations for improvement.

The external evaluation will be based on:

  • a set of specific indicators predefined by the expert group;
  • a self-analysis of the VET activities submitted by the provider; and
  • a progress report submitted by the provider on how recommendations received in the previous assessment have been implemented.

Pilots starting in 2021

The Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre, together with the Government Strategic Analysis Centre and the National Agency for Education are running an ESF-funded project (2018-22) on improving the quality assurance system in VET. As part of the project objectives, the National Agency for Education conducted pilot assessments of 12 VET providers between January and April 2021 (the project will assess 20 providers in total). During its visit to the provider, the external assessment expert group focus on five areas: leadership and management; implementation of formal VET programmes; staff; teaching and learning resources; teaching and learning outcomes.

A national monitoring system for external assessment indicators is being developed. So far, five indicators have been considered:

  • share of filled State-funded VET slots (applies only to VET providers providing admission to State-funded VET slots);
  • share of students receiving apprenticeship training;
  • share of persons who have not completed the formal VET programme;
  • share of assessed students whose assessments for the theoretical and practical part of competences acquired are ‘good’ (8 points), ‘very good’ (9 points) or ‘excellent’ (10 points);
  • share of graduates who have been working for six months after completing the formal VET programme.

Each year, the National Agency for Education will evaluate all VET providers – mainly VET schools (profesinė mokykla), VET centres (profesinio mokymo centras), labour market training centres (darbo rinkos mokymo centras) and other institutions which have the right to provide VET. If a provider does not reach the thresholds set by the indicators, an external assessment is organised (expert group visit to the provider) which is broader and deeper, and performed according to the five assessment areas where additional indicators have been established.

The results and good practices from the pilots will not only be used by VET providers to achieve better operating results, but will also strengthen the expert capacities of the evaluators themselves and provide them with an opportunity to evaluate and improve the procedural steps for performing external assessment.

Key words: quality of education and training, learning providers, Attractiveness of vocational education and training (VET), initial education and training, continuing education and training

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