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Progress in achieving transparency of vocational qualifications across Europe


The following information is kindly supplied by CEDEFOP and the European Training Village who publish a free regular email newswire:

Following a joint initiative of the European Commission and Cedefop in 1998, a European Forum on transparency of vocational qualifications was established in February 1999. Consisting of representatives of all the Member States of the EU and EEA, the social partners, the Commission and Cedefop, the main objective is to indicate practical solutions to the problem of transparency of qualifications, thus making it easier to transfer vocational qualifications from one Member State to another.

The role of the forum is to:

  • explore ways of removing obstacles to mobility due to lack of transparency of vocational qualifications
  • initiate an open-minded dialogue on how to utilise existing initiatives, instruments and institutions in a better way
  • elaborate on how to implement existing political solutions in a way which actually supports individual citizens and institutions
  • consider the need for new technical and political initiatives

The Forum met four times during 1999 and agreed on an action plan containing the following two points:

  1. Each Member State will establish a system to issue, together with each official national certificate, a translation of the certificate and a certificate supplement, in at least one other EU language. The certificate supplement could build on a common framework.
  2. Each Member State will designate one national reference centre responsible for providing information on national vocational qualifications. The centre will be the national partner in a European network of reference centres.

In addition it was emphasised that several supporting measures are necessary, like clear and concise descriptions of all national qualifications systems and in an easily accessible format as well as translation/terminology services supported at Community level.

Following the agreement on the Action Plan a number of steps are currently undertaken at both a technical and a political level.
At a technical level:

  1. Further work on the technical aspects of the certificate supplement, with a view to develop a common format to be adopted on a voluntary basis
  2. Further work on establishing a network of national reference centres
  3. Further exploration of translation issues aiming at quality and unity of terminology
  4. Use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in disseminating information on national qualifications systems and the certificate supplement initiative.

These steps are to be concluded by November 2000 and the plan is then to proceed to actual testing and implementation at both Member State and Community level.

At a political level: Several steps have been taken to integrate the work of the Forum into the general policies of the Community. The forthcoming Community recommendation in Mobility will partly integrate elements of the Action Plan, reflecting the broad support given to the Forum by the relevant policy makers at Community level.

Cedefop is planning to provide further information on the subject of transparency of qualifications, as well as the latest developments in this field, on the ETV web site in the following months.

Some web sites on transparency of qualifications are:


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