This autumn the Estonian Qualifications Authority will present new occupational qualification standards (OQS) for vocational teachers to be approved by the Sector Skills Council of Education.
Currently, there are OQS for vocational teachers on three levels of the Estonian qualifications framework – EstQF (and EQF): levels 5, 6 and 7, but according to the Professions Act, all occupational standards have to be competence-based and have to fit EstQF levels by 2014. Therefore a revision of the current standard is required.
The working group for developing OQS for vocational teachers is composed of VET teachers and trainers, employers and employees, a representative of the Ministry of Education, adult educators and special educational needs experts.
The base for developing the new standard was mapping pedagogical competences, used for developing all OQS in education. It is possible to compare competences and work of all pedagogical professionals working at schools (such as special education teachers, social pedagogues, teachers, vocational teachers). An important difference between the previous and the new standard is that the new OQS describes occupational activities and competence requirements (required knowledge, skills and attitude) in the threshold level.
Competence requirements for vocational teachers’ OQS consist of:
- six mandatory competences, such as ’development of learning environment’, ’supporting learning and development’, ’reflection and professional development’;
- five optional competences, such as ’supporting colleagues’, ’conducting adult training’, ’practice management’;
- recurrent competences, based on key competences for lifelong learning.
Competences are described through performance criteria and all indicators are assessible. Teachers can also evaluate themselves and assess if their work is based on the right footing and their occupational activities meet labour market requirements.
To be awarded an occupational qualification, vocational teachers are assessed against the competence requirements specified in the OQS. Thus an occupational qualification certificate is a hallmark of an excellent vocational teacher!