December 7-8, 2012 - Thessaloniki (Greece)
Georgios K. Zarifis, Catalin Martin, Simona Sava
Back to Work - The Role of Validation
of Competences in Professional
Counseling of Adults
This eBook was published within the European project “Counseling returning migrants – Back to
work”, ref.no. LLP-LdV/TOI/2010/RO/023, project financed by the European Commission under
Lifelong Learning Programme, Leonardo da Vinci – Transfer of Innovation. The Publisher will send
the Proceedings to Thomson Reuters in order to be indexed in Conference Proceedings Citation Index.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects
the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may
be made of the information contained therein.
Competences of career counsellor for preparing the validation of competences
Catalin MARTIN, Simona SAVA
Innovative Model for Promoting Entrepreneurship Among the Unemployed Person
Nadia POTOCEANU, Cristina GHEORGHE
Roadmap for Competence Based Design of Study Programs for Pharmacists’ Higher
E. M. MUT, S .POPESCU, D. PITIC, M. DRAGOMIR
Models of Good Practice on School Participation in Preventing Human Trafficking in
Dorin OPRIS, Monica OPRIS,
Aspects of Mathematical Modeling of Professional Counseling Process
Marcela POPESCU, Paul POPESCU
Women Skills Needed in the Process of Searching for a Job
Testing of the Validpack Instrument in Latvia, Estonia and Finland: The Opinions of
Svetlana SURIKOVA, Lu-cija RUTKA, Anni KARTTUNEN, Larissa JÕGI
European Integration Agent and Innovative Guidance Methodology for the
Integration of Low-Skilled Immigrants into Adult Education
Maria TOIA, Yevgenyia AVERHED, Roger VAN DE WINKEL
IMPROVE: Improving Validation of Competence of Career Guidance Practitioners
-The professional Check up and its Results
Mary TOUNTOPOULOU, Leonardo EVANGELISTA, Zuzana FREIBERGOVA, Rachel NELSON,
Speranta TIBU, Peter WEBER
The Necessity to Adjust Skills Training Process of Unemployed Persons to the
Labour Market’s Regional Features
Mentoring in the Teaching Profession
Cristina-Mihaela ZINICA, Georgiana-Alice NICHITA
COMPETENCIES AND ROLES OF CAREER COUNSELORS
, Laurenţiu Şoitu2
New items on which we insist are considering the superior attitudes that the beneficiaries of the
counseling process "steal" if and only they find them at the counselor. It's about the attitude towards work,
assumed career, the relationship between undertaken results and the offered results, between effort and success,
between the individual and the environment life / family, professional and community group membership. All
these elements serve at least equal to the knowledge, information, and the principles which the candidate acquire.
Personal skills have value if they are consistent with cultural, moral and spiritual values of the person who
demonstrates their use in relationship to others, because each "other" wants to transcend statements, contextual
demonstrations valid if confirmed in new behaviors worthy to be assumed by the candidate. This difference is
given by the quality of the person of the counselor, by the set of values to which the activities are subordinated,
by the perspectives that transcend the time of action.
Keywords: skills, attitudes, roles, success, counseling, career
Who is the career counselor? The career counselor is a specialist with theoretical and practical
training in the humanities and social sciences, whose work is to help different people in different stages of life,
and to assist3
them in making some decisions regarding the career. Counselor’s intervention is appropriate at any
time during an individual’s life4
. The actions are considering the expectations of the beneficiaries regarding: the
identification of an occupation that is suitable to their interests and aspirations, the facilitation of the process of
looking for and obtaining a job, providing the necessary support for the professional development for those who
are active in the labor market.
Specific activities of the career counselor aim on cognitive account (conveying the information regarding
the beneficiary’s request), affective account (building a positive and realistic attitude of the beneficiary towards
the beneficiary’s own professional development) and on operating account (teaching the beneficiary to take
responsibility for a decision, to design a personal and professional development plan, to follow out what it has
been learned during the counseling process). Consequently, the counselor has the responsibility for building and
expending the person’s skills towards the educational and occupational self awareness and unto planning their
own becoming. When discussing self-awareness competencies we take account of the capacity that the counseled
person has to evaluate herself and the relationship with others, towards the awareness of her actual abilities. The
exploration competency is considering the ability of the person to search, analyze and interpret the received
information for professional development and to identify a job according to what the person knows, can and
wants to do. The planning competencies require the capacity of the person to turn to account the results obtained
consequently to self-awareness and the information acquisition particular to her needs. In order to obtain results,
the career counselor will hold the relationship abilities – respect, motivation, project engagement – that should
be developed to a superior level regarding the counseled person, through the capacity to build a genuine
relationship, where each one is learning – with simultaneous and similar effects – how to manage the
The career counselor is a professional who5
: analyzes the career needs of applicants and their socio-
professional environment, defines their personality characteristics, identifies together with the applicant the
development of the objectives, sets the design of the actions and the dimension of information relevant to the one
they are counseling.
Ph.D. Student of Alexandru Ioan Cuza Universitaty of Iaşi
Univ. Prof. Ph.D. of Alexandru Ioan Cuza Universitaty of Iaşi
R. Nelson-Jones, 2009, Manual de consiliere, Trei Publishing House- specifies that the expression ,,support person” is
recommended to be used by those specialists that use the counseling abilities as a specific aspect of their role
Analiza nevoilor de consiliere pe toată durata vieţii, 2006,Institutul de Ştiiinţe ale Educaţiei, Laboratory of Counseling and
www.anc.ro, Occupational standards for School Counselors, Vocational Counselor, Counselor for Personal Development,
Instructional Designer in the business sector: Education and Training, Research-Design, Sports
In any context, career counseling has an important role, because this service aims different categories of
users (students, youth, employed adults, unemployed), at various times when facing development needs or
difficulties with the integration and social success. Approaching career counselor roles becomes relevant from
three perspectives: that of the specialist providing these services, from the point of view of the direct
beneficiaries (the applicants from the counseling services)6
, and of the indirect beneficiaries of the process (the
future employers). The success of counseling is given by systemic perspective of the designed approach - results
/ deducted from the needs, the possibilities - physical, moral, intellectual – and the expectations of the
beneficiaries, but also from the awareness of the opportunities of the moment. Hence, there are several directions
in which the career counselor may have responsibilities: to herself as a professional, to direct beneficiary
(individual or organization), to indirect beneficiaries – their family, employers and the local community.
From this perspective, the main roles of the career counselor refer to supporting the personal and
. Personal development is based on performing the acceptance and supporting role
towards the counseled person: that of a trainer when is referring to learning actions, that of motivation to
sustained effort in order to achieve results and identification of success paths, of the work satisfaction. The
professional development is based on the performance upon the role concerning the access to the opportunities
that the beneficiary has already professionally, as well as the role concerning the information resources
management and facilitating the access to these resources.
The career counselor is able to perform the role concerning the personal and professional development of an
individual or the staff from an organization8
. Changes in the career guidance regarding the finality take into
account that the expectations of all involved in this process are the same, focusing on the social success9
counselor wants to be a good specialist, the candidate wants to fulfill her expectations for professional
development, the employer needs a person fit for his organization, not just a very good specialist. We are all
required to undertake a self reflective role on our own professional development. The career counselor is always
subject to these requirements, because through introspection the couselor can easily understand the difficulties,
challenges, different and particular needs for each beneficiary.
Frequently, the analyzis of the activity of the counselor considers the effectiveness and efficiency achieved
through the activity10
. What is efficiency? What is the relationship between knowledge, application and
enforcement of the indicators regarding the counseling activities (application of theory in current activity) and
the influence of personality traits, and personal qualities of the counselor? There are practitioners11
focusing more on personal qualities and professional training. These views sometimes occupy the extreme
positions, emphasizing either the personality or the training. In reality, the counselor combines specialized
knowledge, skills and work habits that are specific to the occupation, which were acquired only through practice
and continuous improvement. On the other hand, work skills cannot be separated from personal, individuals
qualities. When we talk about personal skills, we refer to the ability to perform a professional activity upon the
required standards through knowledge and specific work habits. With more developed personal skills, we are
more prepared to find solutions and to achieve professional performance. Development and correlation of these
features help us to be effective in everyday’s life through actions that are specific to professional behavior,
determining the efficiency at work. Continuous training for personal and professional development is an intrinsic
element of the counseling services based on the analysis of concepts and techniques of counseling used
internationally and the adjustments of these to national particularities, economic, social and local specific needs.
This is also a way to improve skills. It is not enough to know how to do something, the ability to do that better
each time is also necessary, so that the output is remarkable, superior to previous results. Continuous
development of career counseling skills will allow access to knowledge and needs analysis, abilities, resources,
motivations, values and personality traits of the client. Of course, the powers that ensure the success of the
counseling activity can be successfully applied to many fields related to human resources.
These "key competencies" represent a transferable, multifunctional package of knowledge, skills and general
attitudes necessary for all in view of personal development and their social and professional inclusion. Those can
be acquired during initial training, but can also be developed and subsequently by attending further training or
personal development programs. In fact, these key competencies that are built on personal skills are a basic
aspect of social success. This is a new dimension and purpose of career counseling, an important role that
counselors can promote: an individual achieves success in a field if she has the expertise (being acquired during
professional training) and if she has developed a range of personal skills required in the labor market in general.
M. Jigău coordonator, 2004, Cod etic şi standarde de calitate în consilierea carierei, Insitutul de Ştiinţele Educaţiei
A. Szilagzi, article www.nbcc.ro
A.Szilagyi, 2008, Manualul consultantului în carieră, Institutul European Iasi
I. Mitrofan, A.Nuţă, 2005, Consilierea psihologică. Cine, ce şi cum?, Sper Publishing House
New items on which we insist are considering the superior attitudes that the beneficiaries of the counseling
if and only they find them at the counselor. It's about the attitude towards work, assumed career,
the relationship between undertaken results the offered results, between effort and success, between the
individual and the environment life / family, professional and community group membership. All these elements
serve at least equal to the knowledge, information, principles which the candidate acquire. Personal skills have
value if they are consistent with cultural, moral and spiritual values of the person who demonstrates their use in
relationship to others, because each "other" wants to transcend statements, contextual demonstrations valid, if
confirmed in new behaviors worthy to be assumed by the candidate. Of course, these aspects of the relationship
are influenced by many factors that can not be fully controlled, but attitudes, superior behavior of the candidate
contain the value hold by the trainers who are never unique designs, but will always be possible landmarks.
The general responsibilities are the most outlined, firstly by the analysis of career development articles13
which shows that performance is supported by a set of elements which are subject to personal development and
those are providing support for skills specific to various occupations - including that of a counselor. Of these
general skills we select and enumerate those considered to be relevant: effective networking14
, vision, flexibility,
proactivity, results orientation, reliability, appropriate behavior, team working, lifelong learning aspiration - for
personal and professional development. To turn to account the expertise in her current counselor activity career,
the counselor performs different roles: the visionary on what can get in the end, the person with maximum
flexibility - in permanent agreement with the elements discovered at the candidate of her services - the promoter
the proactive attitude – subordinated to objectives – being aware that all actions aim at achieving a result.
Effective networking is an essential skill when the professional work involves direct contact with service
beneficiaries. To relate effectively requires a clear formulation, concise ideas, active listening, as well as
respecting the point of views of interlocutors, mutual support and common assumption of success. Vision - also
mutual – reflected on the short, medium and long term business objectives also contribute significantly to
creating a strategy as effective as possible. Flexibility in dealing with work situations refers to the acceptance of
new tasks, to working in a team, to different approach and multiple angles view of similar situations. Proactivity
- is a distinguishing feature of the professional who is interested in the news from the field, the new products and
available services, she propose solutions to address situations no matter how unusual they may be. Results
orientation requires perseverance in pursuing the professional goals of the individual or of the team. Team
working is established as compulsory since achieving the objectives depends on good relationships and
involvement of participants.
The career counselor can be considered an important person in the process of building an individual's career,
because it facilitates shaping the occupational identity of the candidate. Final results of the career counselor work
are likened to a tip of the iceberg. They are visible at a given time, but the process of obtaining them started
much earlier, deep seted, much deeper, if we compare the first meetings and the iceberg.
Of course, not everyone will recognize the presence or the importance of the counselor for the evolution that
the candidates have enjoyed. Not everyone will say, I had a counselor who offered what I have asked for, which
I have paid to guide me. This is because some people succed to develop their own personal skills - or so they
believe, when between the further training distinctions of this kind have not been made - but most of them need
to be guided by another person whose job is to provide support, and help to assist the others. That person who
wants to be with the others at the moment of career options is precisely the career counselor15
We might conclude that a career counselor’s mission is to prepare individuals at the same time for two
purposes: selecting an occupational identity and preparing for success, for the social success. In fact, when a
person uses the services of a career counselor, that person contributes to some extent to its self-definition, as the
final decision on what will that individual becomes will always remain at her discretion. The counselor does not
force a decision, does not choose, nor decide on behalf of the other, for the beneficiary of the offered services,
but the counselor helps to choose between yet unknown options, to decide whether of all the offers, identified
opportunities and found arguments, there is something that fits the expectations, thus being able to contribute
from a point of view on the evolution that is bearer of succes.
L. Şoitu, 2001, Pedagogia comunicării, Institutul European Publishing House, Iaşi
We prefer this expression of “effective communication” since the communication has become a vague concept – because of
extensive use, often without the characteristic that defines the reference area. Additionally, in this situation the relationship
based on mutual trust, consideration, mutual support, empathy and communion- is closer to the objectives aimed at by
I.Al.Dumitru, 2008, Consiliere psihopedagogică – Consilierea pentru formarea deprinderilor de viaţă, Polirom Publishing
Career counselor roles can be derived from activities and specific skills, as well as from a consultation of the
which are those of: facilitator of personal and professional development, consultant for
those seeking a job, motivator, information supplier for labor market and occupational areas, facilitating
customer access to career opportunities in the labor market, designer to initiate development activities of staff in
an organization etc. Our option was to ponder on some of those, stressing on their roles, with the certainty that
their "slightly different" presentation - as thinker Contantin Noica stated using the mentioned collocation –
would be good value for the effort to gain a better emphasis on the roles and the possibilities of their fulfillment
by the career counselor. This difference is given by the quality of the person of the counselor, by the set of
values to which the activities are subordinated, by the perspectives that transcend the time of action.
From the perspective of occupational areas17
at national level there are indicated several occupations that
have a direct or indirect connection with the providers of career counseling or advising on professional
development. Of these occupations we note: school psychologist, school counselor, career guidance counselor,
vocational counselor, personal development counselor, employment consultant, professional skills assessor.
There are some occupations recently introduced in the Code of Occupations in Romania (COR) that do not have
an occupational standard developed yet, such as employment and unemployment counselor, working conditions
consultant, professional skill systems specialist, human resources specialist, inspector of specialized training,
assessment and selection training. New additions emphasize that counseling market regarding the career
development is open - because of the multiple needs and possibilities of intervention - and those interested in
these services will be able to select between those opportunities considering their possibilities and expectations.
Analiza nevoilor de consiliere pe toată durata vieţii, 2006, Institutul de Ştiiinţe ale Educaţiei,
Laboratory of Counseling and Lifelong Learning
Dumitru I. Al., 2008 Consiliere psihopedagogică. Baze teoretice şi sugestii practice, Polirom
Publishing House, Iaşi;
Nelson-Jones R, 2004, Manual de consiliere, Trei Publishing House, Bucureşti;
Mitrofan I, Nuţă A., 2005, Consiliere psihologică. Cine, ce şi cum?, Sper Publishing House,Bucureşti;
M. Jigău coordonator, 2004, Cod etic şi standarde de calitate în consilierea carierei, Institutul de
Şoitu L, 2001, Pedagogia comunicării, Institutul European Publishing House, Iaşi
Szilagyi A.M.A, 2008, Manualul consultantului în carieră, Institutul european Publishing House
ei.pdf (autor: Robert Munteanu)
www.anc.ro, Standarde ocupaţionale pentru Consilier şcolar, Consilier vocaţional, Consilier pentru
dezvoltare personală, Designer instrucţional din sectorul de activitate: Educaţie şi formare
profesională, cercetare-proiectare, sport
www.anc.ro, Standarde ocupaţionale Consilier orientare privind cariera, Consultan ă în domeniul
forţei de muncă, Sector activitate: Administraţie şi servicii publice
www.anc.ro, Standarde ocupaţionale din sectorul: Educaţie şi formare profesională, cercetare-proiectare, sport; Sectorul:
Administraţie şi servicii publice
DEVELOPING STUDENTS’ PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCES,
DESIRABLE ON LABOR MARKET;
A POTENTIAL FRAMEWORK PROGRAM
Bunăiaşu Claudiu Marian
University of Craiova, Department for Teachers Training, Romania
Given the inconsistencies between graduates’ professional training and their expectances in the field
of professional competences, University of Craiova has started a series of projects in the field of
students’ professional training. Ongoing POSDRU project entitled Socio-human competences on labor
market in South-West Oltenia region, ID 81762, has the general purpose of harmonizing professional
competences of students attending socio-human faculties with those expected on labor market, by
local employers. Up to this point of the project’s implementation, two products have been elaborated in
order to analyze the synchronization degree between competences pursued in the socio-human field
and those expected on labor market , and to delineate a framework program of professional
practice, in order to facilitate development of students’ professional competences, desirable for
This paper presents an impact study of the framework program of professional practice in the socio-
human field, elaborated by us as part of the specified project, in which I took part from May to July
2012, having the role of Training Expert and the attributions in order to train practice tutors and to
elaborate the program.
The impact study is based on presenting methodology and results of the evaluation regarding the
impact of the framework program of professional practice in the socio-human field. The methodology
is based on managing and analyzing data of a questionnaire applied to direct beneficiaries of the
framework program of practice (students, caretakers and practice tutors), managers of institutions-to-
be employers and University didactic staff of different specializations in the socio-human field. Impact
study’s results confirm subjects’ adhesion to the framework program of professional practice.
Keywords: professional competences, framework program of professional practice, curriculum of
professional practice, curriculum’s self-management of developing professional competences,
methodology in order to organize and deploy practice internships.
1. Impact study’s theoretical and methodological premises
Framework program of professional practice elaborated as part of the Project entitled Socio-human
competences on labor market in South-West Oltenia region, enrolls itself among projects’ value-added
elements, concerning the optimization of the relationship between University education and local labor
market. The program of practice is structured on three coordinates corresponding to the three
elements: theoretical and legislative framework, curricular dimension and methodological coordinates
of practice internships.
part – Theoretical framework of the process of professional practice in socio-human field –
delineates program’s elaboration principles, conceptual and legislative support of practice internships
in general and methodology in order to organize, coordinate and evaluate the professional practice.
Key-concepts belonging to the framework program of practice are: key-concepts belonging to National
Framework of Qualifications in Superior Education; management of the process of professional
practice; curriculum of professional practice in socio-human field; curriculum’s self-management of
training professional and social competences.
part – Curriculum of professional practice – describes curricular elements of the process of
practice from a multidimensional perspective, through an integrate approach of purposes, training
strategies and strategies of evaluating students attending socio-human faculties, as well as by
detailing content units and teaching situations specific to each specialization. Curricular framework of
the program of practice is built in accordance with many curricular paradigms and orientations:
postmodernist paradigm in socio-human sciences; planning the curriculum based on competences;
types of professional and transversal competences, desirable to graduates in socio-human field;
contents’ adequacy, accessibility and attractiveness; efficiency and efficacy of training strategies in
professional practice; evaluation strategies’ adequacy and role while adjusting and self-adjusting the
The purposes of professional practice of students attending socio-human faculties, defined in terms of
professional and social competences, abilities and attitudes that are specified as part of the framework
program, are :
1. Competences of comprehension, explanation – interpretation: 1.1. Developing capacities of
analysis and interpretation of evolutions and perspectives regarding the connection between
University education and labor market;
1.2. Developing capacities of reflective and critic analysis and elaborating personal value judgments,
regarding optimization of the partnership between University of Craiova and local potential employers;
1.3. Developing competences of analysis and valorization of observed activities and strategic projects
as part of practice units; 1.4. Developing capacities of self-evaluating professional and social
competences and developing some meta-cognitive strategies, aiming these competences’ self-
development (self-management of the curriculum of professional practice).
2. Active and methodological competences: 2.1. Developing capacities in order to build products
and tools belonging to pedagogic practice, which transpose postmodern orientations of University
curriculum and objectify strategic directions of the approached sectors of social activity;
2.2. Developing students’ capacities in order to complete/elaborate products and tools of practice, by
using the models provided, by adaption or development; 2.3. Developing students’ competences in
order to plan, organize, implement and (self-)evaluate activities of professional practice;
2.4. Developing competences of research and innovation; 2.5. Asserting capacities in order to adopt
decisions of amelioration/improvement/development of some activities specific to professional
3. Professional attitudes: 3.1. Absorption of principles in order to conceive the framework program
and practice internships, emitted concepts, used methodology and tools, as part of students’ system of
professional values; 3.2. Adoption of some social attitudes in the spirit of democratic, social-cultural
and moral-civic values, as part of the practice; 3.3. Consequent application of conduct principles while
building and applying professional practice’s products to institutions of practice, as part of all specific
The training strategies adequate in order to accomplish these categories of competences and adapted
so they can be applied to practice internships, are as follows: training strategies focused on students’
professional activity, interactive strategies , strategies of constructivist training , meta-cognitive
strategies , strategies specific to mentorship activities , learning strategies based on new
technologies of information and communication .
part – Methodology of organization, coordination and evaluation of students’ internship practices –
methodological models, strategies and tools, having the role of regulating, guiding and supporting the
activity of caretakers, tutors and students: a) managerial strategies in order to organize, coordinate
and evaluate professional internship practices; b) students’ regulation of professional practice; c)
description of operational tools specific to the activity of practice caretakers and tutors (activity report,
research report, monitoring sheet of students’ presence and activity, students’ evaluation sheet); d)
presenting the structure of individual portfolio of professional practice, and the emission of
methodological suggestions in order to elaborate specific products.
2. Purpose of study and objectives
Impact study’s purposes are: 1) Testing subjects’ perceptions and opinions, regarding the framework
program of professional practice of students attending faculties in socio-human field; 2) Systematizing
methodological elements that contribute to the program’s development and increase of its operational
Investigative approach’s general hypothesis is: If the framework program of practice has a
multidimensional structure and elements with value-added in comparison with actual methodological
guides and practices, then it can achieve subjects’ adhesion, which implies its adequate and flexible
use as part of professional practice.
From this hypothesis, we have declined two particular hypotheses: 1) If the theoretical and legislative
support and the curriculum of professional practice are adequate to actual orientations regarding
education’s relevance for labor market and focus of educational act on student, then program’s
premises guarantee its possibilities of development and adaption to actual and future socio-economic
context. 2) If methodological elements and operational tools of the framework program of practice are
developed based on reasons regarding optimization of the connection between University curricula
and expectations on labor market, then the framework program is asserted as an innovative
alternative tool as part of the professional practice.
The criterions we have used in order to test particular hypotheses are as follows: 1) the structure of
the framework program of professional practice (concerning the first particular hypothesis’s test) and
2) the program’s practicability (regarding second particular hypothesis’s test). For each criterion
mentioned we have established a series of indicators: a) concerning the 1
criterion: indicator 1.1.:
consistency of the program’s conceptual framework; indicator 1.2.: relevance of the curriculum of
professional practice on labor market; indicator 1.3.: extension of the curriculum of professional
practice; b) regarding the 2
criterion: indicator 2.1.: operational character of the program’s strategies
and tools, and indicator 2.2.: flexibility of strategies and tools.
By combining the rational selection with the probabilistic one while sampling subjects, we have selected
a total of 200 subjects, based on the following categories: 160 direct beneficiaries of the framework
program of practice (100 students attending different socio-human faculties belonging to University of
Craiova; 30 trainers - 10 teachers teaching as part of University of Craiova, practice caretakers and 20
tutors as part of different institutions in Craiova; 30 representatives of local employers) and 40 persons
belonging to University didactic staff, having specializations in the socio-human field. Sample’s structure
based on indicators of sex and age is as follows: 60% female subjects and 40% male subjects; 18-25
years (45%), 25-35 years (20%), 35-45 years (25%), over 45 years (20%).
Impact study’s main research method is the questionnaire, structured on the following categories of
items: a) theoretical and legislative premises of the framework program of practice (items 3-7); b)
curriculum of professional practice in the socio-human field (items 8-15); c) operational and flexible
character of the framework program of practice (items 16-22). Primary, the questionnaire was
pretested on a sample of 80 subjects, having characteristics similar to research’s lot of subjects. Given
subjects’ relevant methodological suggestions, the questionnaire’s final version has been elaborated
and applied in October 2012, after subjects’ previous study of the framework program of professional
The framework program of practice as a whole and its structural elements represent research’s
independent variables, which determine the dependent variables we have foreseen as part of the
investigative approach’s planning stage – subjects’ favorable opinions regarding the conceptual
framework, qualities of the curriculum of professional practice and applied character of the invoked
strategies and tools).
Questionnaire has been applied directly, face-to-face and online, through Google Forms application. In
order to detail subjects’ answers, we have carried out two focus-group meetings with representatives
belonging to direct and indirect beneficiaries of the program.
Quantitative analysis of subjects’ favorable answers (by cumulating those distributed on “to a large
extent” and “to a very large extent” assessment scales or 4, 5 values) regarding the structure of the
program of professional practice (criterion no.1) and the program’s practicability (criterion no.2),
reveals the following percentage data:
Table 1. Percentage data regarding subjects’ opinions with respect to the structure of the framework
program of professional practice
Groups I1.1:Consistency of the
Didactic staff 75%
High percentage of favorable answers distributed on the three indicators of the criterion structure of
the framework program of professional practice, without significant differences between categories of
subjects, validate the first particular hypothesis of the investigative approach.
Table 2. Percentage data regarding subjects’ opinions with respect to the practicability of the
framework program of practice.
Groups I2.1: Operational character of
strategies and tools
I2.2: Flexibility of strategies
Didactic staff 67,50%
High percentage of favorable answers with respect to the indicators regarding practicability of the
framework program of practice, without significant differences between categories of subjects, validate
impact study’s second particular hypothesis.
Analysis of the results achieved confirms research’s general hypothesis, regarding the fact that the
framework program of practice has achieved subjects’ adhesion, due to structural and procedural
elements with value-added in comparison with actual methodological guides and practices, which
implies its adequate and flexible use as part of the professional practice. Although there haven’t
existed significant differences between intensity degree of the subjects’ assessments, as we
mentioned when presenting research’s results, we have observed the percentages afferent to local
employers’ adhesion to be smaller than those belonging to other categories. This can be explained
through a curricular culture lower than that of trainers, University didactic staff or students and through
local employers’ hesitation with respect to University programs’ practical and applied character, under
terms of disparity between University curricula and expectations on labor market.
Research’s strengths are represented by impact study’s organization and deployment, concerning
scientific research’s rules and confirmation of the results’ predictability. Our investigation’s weakness
is represented by evaluation of the impact the framework program has on a representative sample
belonging to University of Craiova and local employers, which after recording results of the program
applied as part of internship practices belonging to University year 2012-2013, determined us to
develop research tools and extend the investigative approach to a national representative sample. We
foresee the long-term impact of the framework program of practice to constitute an extended object of
study consisting in: a) developing students’ competences of self-managing the curriculum of
professional practice, in order to facilitate project management of personal and professional
development, materialized through professional performances, upgraded training and adaption to
labor market’s dynamic; b) generating some harmonization reports between curricular programs of
academic disciplines, University internship practices and requirements on labor market.
 Niţă, A. M. (coord.). (2012). Barometer of harmonization degree between pursued competences
in socio-human field and those expected on local labor market. Craiova: Sitech Publishing
 Bunăia u, C.M. (2012). Framework program of professional practice in the socio-human field.
Craiova: Sitech Publishing House, pp.23-25.
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The Role of Intercultural Competence in Professional Success
Romania, The West University of Timişoara, The Faculty of Sociology and Psychology
The Department of Education Sciences
In the present-day context of globalization and unemployment caused by the economic crisis, research regarding
intercultural interactions at the workplace has increased. Born on the road to Vienna, as an idea, during a
conversation with a group of unemployed fellow travellers looking for a job, and as a consequence of having
taught several courses on communication and intercultural education at several European universities, the
following article is a reflection on the role of intercultural competence in training/mobilizing cultural councilors
and mediators whose job is to train people looking for employment in multicultural environments.
Intercultural competence. Definition, resources.
The notion of intercultural competence appeared approximately two decades ago in the United States, as a result
of the internationalization and globalization phenomenon, of the necessity of training teachers with great
mobility on the job market, as well as managers of diversity. For this reason, most research falls under the
umbrella of intercultural management and refers especially to complementary competences, necessary to
expatriate teachers, international managers leading multicultural teams. Be it the domain of education sciences
properly (Bennett, 1999) or other activities from the realm of international cooperation and training of cultural
mediators (Geoffroy, 1998) who could intervene on the job market. The multitude of definitions trying to
describe intercultural competence, starting with American Studies until today, all of them emphasize how
important and necessary this theme is. The wide range of definitions of the term culture have led to different
approaches to intercultural competence in managing human resources. Since culture is not a closed concept, but
one in a perpetual movement of transforming existing mental programming (Hofstede and Bollinger, 1987), as a
result of the interaction among several dimensions: a communicative and behavioural dimension, a cognitive and
affective one. Attempts to define intercultural competence take into account the entirety of abilities achieved in
order to successfully carry out an interaction among a group of people belonging to different cultures (cf.
Hofstede, 1994). Intercultural competence does not consist only of analyzing and understanding the relationship
among people and groups with different cultural backgrounds, but also of knowing how to manage these
situations. <<It is about the ability of distancing oneself enough from a situation of cultural conflict, in order to
identify and understand ongoing processes and master them>> (Flye Sainte Marie, 1997, p.55).
The importance of intercultural competence in the professional success of those who seek work in intercultural
environments becomes obvious in the first studies focusing on expatriate workers, and refers to the ability to
work efficiently within the borders of a different culture ( Hays, 1974; Gertsen, 1992). The architecture of
personal resources based on which intercultural competence is built and developed (Rakotomena, 2005, p.683-
688) is structured on several levels: a cognitive one, involving knowledge of one's own culture in relation with
other cultures; an operational level, based on observing and conceptualizing a concrete experience; some
personality traits, such as cosmopolitanism, construed as open-mindedness and flexibility in dealing with others,
cultural empathy (Iles, 1995), optimism, intelligence and a sense of humour (Gertsen, 1992) as well as some
affective-emotional resources, such as motivation, willingness to take on risks, emotional intelligence and the
ability of managing one's stress (Iles, 1995). All of the above represent the basis one which to build a global
competence (Caligiuri and Di Santo, 2001) – the ability of aligning one's activities to a global perspective or
from the point of view of national and international diversity (cross-intra-national diversity).
Developing and assessing intercultural competence
The literature on the subject of intercultural competence agrees that the intercultural is learned just like people
learn to walk, by assuming possible risks and by assuming a conscious experience. In the Sciences of Education,
competence is defined as <<un savoir en usage>>, acknowledged thus in relation to the Other (Malglaive, 1990).
Intercultural competence cannot be developed only by simply passing on didactic knowledge or through
behavioural imitation, but through <<an experimental construction>> which the English call learning by doing, a
process that consists of several stages <<experience – observation – conceptualization – active
experimentation>> (Kolb, 1984). In constructivist approaches, the most renowned model – DMIS (Development
Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, Bennet, 1986) – describes six steps grouped in two stages: an ethnocentric
stage and an ethnorelative stage. These steps are in an evolutionary and transformational continuum in relation
to cultural differences and the complexity of cultural interactions. The six stages: denial – defense –
minimization – acceptance – adaptation – integration represent the trajectory of developing intercultural
competence. They start with primary stereotypes that exist in the relationship with the Other and move towards
the total removal of these differences. The fourth stage, acceptance, considered to be the moment when one
moves towards an ethnorelative perspective, is characterized by a thirst for knowledge and a good grasp of how
cultural differences operate. Adaptation means widening and improving one's intercultural competence, as well
as preparing to integrate and assimilate cultural differences.
The model described by William Howell, one of great pedagogical interest in identifying competences and
selecting the staff according to the desired level (apud Schoeffel and Gariazzo-Dessiex, 2011), described four
stages of developing and refining intercultural competences: unconscious incompetence – conscious
competence – conscious competence – unconscious competence. If DMIS underscores how the other is
perceived, Howell's model focuses on the idea of interaction and its role in the development of competences. For
instance, in the stage of unconscious incompetence, a person is not aware of the existence of intercultural
challenges, does not understand the culture in which he/she is trying to work and to integrate. Because of this,
he/she is bound to make some intercultural faux pas. The second stage comes with what some researchers call
culture shock. The person who finds himself/herself in a foreign cultural environment will become aware of
his/her limits and begins to show an interest in the necessity of evolving. If the person manages not to destabilize
himself/herself, he/she will progress to a superior stage, that of conscious competence, where he/she will be able
to understand the transversal stakes of intercultural communication, in the interaction with other partners, still
affected by some hesitations and erroneous interpretations, which he/she can correct through an improved
attention and conscious training.
Relatively few persons manage to move on to the stage of unconscious competence, which is reached by
mastering intercultural situations in a quasi-automatic manner. At this stage, one that requires a long time and a
continuous training, the person has the potential to become a transmitter of intercultural knowledge and
competences, to become a cultural mediator or facilitator. Knowing and identifying the level of competence are
fundamental for intercultural trainers. Often, the level of unconscious incompetence can be mistaken for the
following stage, that of conscious incompetence, or even for the third stage, namely that of conscious
competence. Practicing intercultural competence is essential for their assimilation and automation, otherwise the
risk of regression persists. It is important for recruiting agencies to have experienced and well documented
trainers that find themselves at the fourth stage of intercultural success. Intercultural training that aims for the
efficiency of professional activity in intercultural working contexts has to be oriented towards a continuous
training. This has to start with a correct diagnosis, a personal one – self-evaluation – and an external one, carried
out by an expert who will analyze the type of culture ( Hofstede, 1994; Hall, 1978 ), the distance from power, the
relation to time and space, and even the management model that the candidate comes from. It is known, for
instance, that there are several models of intercultural management – the Anglo-Saxon model, the Latin model,
the Asian, Indian or Muslim model – with specific cultural traits regarding the role of the state, the financial or
social priorities, the respect towards the ancestral traditions and values of the group. These have to be not only
identified but also explained to the people looking for employment, so that they could be analyzed and
understood in relation to the cultural environment the candidates wish to integrate.
The process of evaluating the level of intercultural competence marks the beginning of the process of acquiring
and developing these competences by becoming aware of the interactions between the subject and the context. In
the last few years, there have been numerous tests and questionnaires meant to identify, assess and improve
intercultural competence ( Byram, 1997; Caliguiri et. Al, 2000). Together with these evaluation instruments,
which have to be constantly adapted to demands and cultural circumstances, the conversation method, or in G.
Genette's terms, culture as a story (1972) can represent new hermeneutics (Ricoeur, 1995, p. 28), that is so
necessary and so fertile in the analysis of social and relational competence, capable of mobilizing the resources
of intercultural competence.
In this sense, I recall a bus trip from Timişoara to Vienna and back, in the summer of 2010, in the company of
several unemployed travellers looking for a job at the gates of the West, or workers who had already gone
through this experience and were either coming back to visit relatives or they had not been successful at
managing the culture shock, having given up finding job in foreign lands. The life stories of people looking for
jobs in multicultural environments represent a good opportunity of reflecting on the openness of the present-day
world and the problems inherent in the cultural diversity of a Europe that is in the throes of a crisis.
Our experience in teaching classes about communication and intercultural education, at the West University of
Timişoara as well as at the Universities Pierre Mendès France and Jean Fourier of Grenoble, at the Haute École
Leonardo da Vinci of Louvain la Neuve, has strengthened our conviction that intercultural interaction hinges on
empathy and communication. The iceberg metaphor is well-known in intercultural research. It consists of a
visible part (nourishment, architecture, verbal/non-verbal language, arts, political or religious systems) and
invisible parts (values, beliefs, norms). A successful intercultural interaction has to take into account the visible
as well as the invisible traits of the involved partners.
The culture shock occurs on the invisible levels of the iceberg, namely at the level of the value systems, norms
and beliefs. This extremely vulnerable level, which is in close connection to the hard nucleus of individual
identity, is difficult to evaluate through tests and questionnaires. This is even truer in the case of an unemployed
person, that is someone belonging to a disadvantaged group, who is subjected to discriminatory practices. The
interaction between this group of people and the cultural mediator is of paramount importance and the process of
acquiring competences has to be converted in a mutual comprehension capable of (re)building trust in our fellow
humans, despite a myriad of unknown, cultural factors. Creating and evaluating intercultural competences in the
case of people who are seeking employment in multicultural environments has to start from the cultural
trainers'/mediators' competences of intercultural communication, namely from their ability of <<interpreting the
acts of intentional communication (words, signs, gestures) and those of unconscious communication (body
language), as well as the habits of someone belonging to a different culture>> (Bennett, 1999).
The new impetus in the sociology of international mobilities evinces that many researchers have called a
paradigm shift, in which concepts such as culture, interculturality, intercultural competence, identity acquire
increasingly novel meanings. From this point of view, defining intercultural competence and its role in
professional success does not rely only on the relationship between the <<native culture>> and the strategies of
adapting to the <<new culture>>. This process needs to be mindful of the idea of evolution, first and foremost, of
the identity transformation of these people as well as an increased sensitivity for the responsibilities we each
have. Cultural diversity should be understood and lived at its true dimension, that of common legacy of
humanity, in which knowledge and intercultural competence may develop new forms of transnational, civic
solidarity and participative democracy capable of creating <<integrated citizens, and at the same time, loyal to
their communities>> ( Attali, 2007).
The complexity of intercultural competence consists in the conjunction of personal traits with the lived
intercultural experiences. Intercultural education is rarely aimed at training the unemployed and those seeking
jobs in multicultural environments, the majority of studies focusing more on intercultural management and less
on training the unemployed. We have to admit that at this level, too few trainers have solid intercultural
knowledge, which makes them likely bearers of stereotypes and prejudices.
Intercultural training does not have a predictable character, but it fosters a better understanding of complex
situations and facilitates a better professional integration, offering possible answers and solutions to the
challenges of a knowledge society. Training trainers in the intercultural field represents a condition and an
opportunity for professional training in a European context afflicted by a profound economic and social crisis. In
this process, it necessary to rethink the role of university education on the job market, as a research space and
value-centered education, in setting up complex programs of professional and intercultural training.
ATTALI, J., Scurtă istorie a viitorului, Iaşi, Editura Polirom, 2007.
BENNET, C., Comprehensive Multicultural Education. Theory and Practice, Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 1999.
BENNETT, M. J., ,,Towards ethnorelativism:A developemental model of intercultural sensitivity”, in Page, R.
M., Cross-cultural orientation:New conceptualizations and applications, New York, University press of
America, p.27-70, 1986.
BYRAM, M., Teaching And Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence, Clevdon, Multilingual
CALIGIURI, P., DAY, D.V., ,,Effects of self-monitoring on technical, contextual and assignment- specific
performance”, Group & organization management, 25(2), p.154-174, 2000.
CALIGIURI, P., DI SANTO, V., „Global competence: what is it, and can it be developed through global
assignments?”, HR. Human Resource planning, 24(3), p.27-35, 2001.
FLYE, S.M., ,,La compétence interculturelle dans le domaine éducatif et social”, Les cahiers de l’Actif, 250-251,
GEOFFROY, C., « De la compétence interculturelle en milieu du travail. Un rôle à jouer pour l’enseignement
des langues ». Les langues modernes, no.4, 1998, p. 59-77, 1998.
GENETTE, GÉRARD, Figures III, Paris, Seuil, 1972.
GERTSEN, M.C., ,,Intercultural competence and expatriates”, International Journal of Human Resource
Management, 3(3), p.341-362, 1992.
HALL, EDWARD T., La dimension cachée, Paris, <<Points Essais>>, 1978.
HAYS, R.D., « Expatriate selection: insuring success and avoiding failure », Journal of international business
studies, 5, p.25-37, 1974.
HOFSTEDFE, G., BOLLINGER, D., Les différences interculturelles dans le management, Paris, Éditions
HOFSTEDE, G., Vivre dans un monde interculturel, Paris, Les Éditions d’Organisation, 1994.
ILES, P., ,, Learning to work with difference”, Personnel Review, Vol. 24, No.6, p.44-60, 1995.
KOLB, D.A., Experiential Learning. Experience as the source of learning and development, Eaglewood Cliffs,
prentice Hall, 1984.
MALGLAIVE, G., Enseigner à des adultes, Paris, PUF, 1990.
RAKOTOMENA, M. H., « Les ressources individuelles pour la compétence interculturelle individuelle », revue
internationale sur le travail et la société, Vol.3, no.2, 2005.
RICOEUR, PAUL, Eseuri de hermeneutică, traducere de Vasile Tonoiu, Bucureşti, Editura humanitas, 1995.
SCHOEFFEL, F, GARIAYYO-DESSIEX F., Compétence interculturelle dans la coopération internationale,
From work to school and back.
Validation of prior learning as tool for local economic development
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
Validation of prior learning appeared lately as a key initiative in open and flexible continuing vocational
training systems, based on the generic context of lifelong learning, but also on the specific situations in
which people, having certain working experiences and practicing a range of competences, may need
formal or official recognition of their learning, taking place out of the formal system. Based on a real
case, designed and piloted in Serbia, in a bakery area, in which a a vocational school initiated and
conducted a validation of prior learning (VPL) process, and having a stakeholders reflective practice
exercise going on throughout the whole cycle of the initiative, we proposed a simple, but intuitive, step
by step procedure for conducting VPL projects at a vocational school level. This framework procedure
could be useful especially in the vocational schools and systems being in the early stage of initiating
and implementing recognition of non-formal learning and validation of prior learning. We consider that
before issuing national regulations and methodologies, these initiatives should be tested in practice
and learn the lessons from implementation in advance, for a better and feasible design of the
Keywords: validation of prior learning, VET school, partial qualification
1. General context for validation of prior learning (VPL)
The recent transformations of our social, economic and cultural reality brought about significant
changes in our discourses and practices on learning . Globalization, for instance, became a de
rigueur concept in almost all analyses, and now is ”applied” to any other key concept, including
education and learning. Though, a globalization of learning occurred, in at least three meanings: a)
globalization of learning throughout the whole lifespan, typically called lifelong learning, b)
globalization of learning sources and contexts, bringing a tremendous diversification of what is usually
called informal and nonformal learning and c) globalization of learning processes and setting, as one
of the results of internationalization and circulation of people for learning and work.
When talking about the second instance above, significant efforts could be identified, both at practice
and policy levels, to ensure recognition of competences achieved in more ”non-traditional” ways,
namely nonformal and informal learning. Complexity of everyday life, and complexity of learning
environments and settings imposed this as a necessity and as an ethical approach to people
professional development. Validation of prior learning recognizes and admits the contribution of
different experiences lived throughout our lives to own learning and development.
Validation of prior learning is the confirmation by a competent body, that the knowledge and skills
acquired by the person in formal, non-formal or informal learning setting or working experience have
been assessed against predefined criteria and are compliant with the requirements of the study
programme (modular, learning outcomes based) or qualification standard. VPL process typically leads
to full or partial certification.
When referring to the main goals of the VPL process, as shown by Fokiene & Ciolan , we can
mantion two directions, briefly described below.
First, VPL is a tool for promoting participation in Lifelong Learning processes by providing persons
willing to study (in IVET or CVET) with opportunities to enroll in study programmes according to their
personalized study plans. Very much encouraged lately by EU policies and initiatives , VPL
promotes a more positive attitude towards learning at the workplace by emphasizing particular
achievements rather than the institution or country where they were made. Keeping in mind that the
procedure of VPL starts with self-assessment, testing and examining and finishes with personalized
professional development plans, it is important to mention that VPL is not only about the measurement
of learning achievements, but also about finding the most effective learning path for an individual
Secondly, VPL in VET is a tool for improvement of the effectiveness, namely accessibility and
flexibility of formal VET study programmes for practically experienced individuals, approaching VET
institutions from labor market. The other goals of VPL are:
- to avoid double learning,
- to match the choice of the study programme to individual learning needs,
- to reduce learning costs for learners,
- to evaluate the relevant value of previous learning based on experience,
- to increase self-esteem and self-confidence of the persons, having work experience, but no formal
- to ascertain which knowledge and skills are to be improved, in the process of one’s career
Starting from these general principles and goals, we will present a specific case of a VPL project,
designed and implemented between 2011-2012 in Serbia, in the frame of the vocational education
reform project supported by the European Commission, and having as main beneficiary the Ministry of
2. A specific experience on VPL: bakery qualifications in Serbia
In order to prepare the ground for more extensive discussions and policy initiatives on recognition of
non-formal learning and validation of prior learning in Serbia, one interesting initiative, that could be
considered example of relevant practice, took place in the frame of the VET modernization project. In
order to taste the appetite of adult learners for getting involved in VPL, but also for trying out a model
of partial qualification as a modality of VET schools to increase their participation in adult education, a
pilot was design and implemented in vocational school in Zrenjanin, Sebia, school which acts also,
according to the local regulations, as a regional training centre for adult education.
As the region has a well know reputation in bakery industry, we decided that this will be a good area
for piloting VPL, especially that quite a significant number of people involved in this business were
working for different periods of time abroad. The basic and simple idea was to select a number of
candidates, adults already working in bakery occupations, and having not yet been officially certified
for this, and go through the steps of a VPL process, described in a synthetic way in the next section.
The key challenge of this initiative was its novelty, both for beneficiaries and for the VET school in
which we have placed the pilot, but also the very loose provisions in the Serbian regulations at the
moment regarding this topic. This was not necessarily impeding on the implementation of the project,
but as is the case in majority of countries in the region, missing or loose regulations on a specific issue
creates distress and hesitations from the stakeholders in launching any innovation.
Nevertheless, a group of 11 people was selected and followed, step by step, the described procedure,
starting from the recruiting phase, initial evaluation, design of the individual learning plans and final
partial / full certification for their qualifications. Ten out of the initial number managed to finish the
whole process and to get certified, and get their ”experience turned into learning” . All of them were
employed on the local market, mainly in small businesses, with different levels of professional
experiences in various working settings, including working abroad. Instead of describing the individual
process as such, in this specific case, we tried, based on a reflective practice exercise, in which we
involved vocational education experts involved in the design and supervision of implementation, VET
teachers and trainers from school, as well as candidates participating effectively in the process, to
design a more general procedure to be followed in a vocational school ready to initiate VPL
processes, in a system in which this initiatives are still in an early stage.
3. Procedural steps for VPL process in VET schools
Vocational schools should be among key actors in the VPL process, as part of adult education and
continuing vocational training processes in which they should progressively get more involved. In the
specific case described for Serbia, a framwork procedure was folloed, and the main steps are
Preparation of VPL. This stage is key for the success of the overall process, and it demands attention
and effort from the side of the organizers (VET school) in order to adapt to the specificity of each case
/ situation. The following steps are needed:
- Needs assessment. Before initiating a process of VPL, the decision should be grounded on existing
demand. A VET school can look tot he economic entities active in the sector for which they provide
specialization, and investigate if they can mobilize resources from different parties, according to the
case (unemployment fund, educational budget, company financing, individual payment etc.).
- Initiation and promotion. As the process is new, information should be disseminated in an accurate
way, mainly to potential customers, specifying the individual benefits and making available all the
needed support during the process. The process should be also promoted at the level of other
stakeholders, such as indirect beneficiaries (companies) or potential financial contributors (local
authorities, decision makers in education and labor sectors). VPL should not be perceived as a way to
avoid formal schooling and getting certificates in a easy manner, but as an alternative solution for
those who accumulated a consistent experience and competences, and they would like to have them
- Recruitment of candidates. Sometimes, if well informed, candidates could ask themselves for being
included in a VPL process, but this assume previous promotion and availability of the service in school
for the respective domains. In the initial phase, is rather the school going towards potential candidates
and eventually their current employer (if the case), to make this opportunity known. Selection and
recruitment of candidates could become an ongoing process when the VET school is already
experienced in doing VPL.
- Consulting and building up the portfolio. The candidates need permanent support and consulting
from the specialist in order mainly to build up the portfolio in a relevant and evidence-based manner,
including all kids of proofs for the competences required to be validated through VPL. Moreover, a
guidance on the steps and procedure of the whole process is needed. In order to fill the portfolio with
the required evidences, it might be needed that the specialist applies other methods, such as job
observation, interviews etc. All these should be documented and added to the portfolio.
The evaluation phase can start even at this stage, as for some competences where is difficult to
produce evidences, there might be a nee for specific evaluations (i.e. tests, simulations, practical tasks
Evaluation and decision is the next stage of the process, where a diagnostic assessment is done
and a decision, based on the results, is taken. Here, the key role goes from the consultant / facilitator
(VPL coordinator in the school) to the specialist(s), namely subject teachers and trainers from the VET
school. In a more detailed way, this stage includes:
- Analysis of the portfolio. All the evidences collected in the portfolio, either existing or produced
especially for documenting the skills of the candidate, are carefully analyzed by the assessor or
assessors, depending on the complexity and coverage of competences to be recognized and
validated. Normally, for full certification a small team is needed to analyze the portfolio and make a
decision. At this stage, assessors could ask for more evidences. The idea of building up a portfolio is
important, as the whole process of VPL strongly relies on self-assessment and willingness of the
person to participate.
- Selection of (other) assessment methods / development of assessment tools. This can happen when
the evidences in the portfolio are considered not sufficient or not completely relevant in order to make
a decision. Assessors can select, develop and than use a variety of evaluation methods and
- Evaluation and reporting. A diagnosis needs to be done for each of the competences entered in the
VPL process, based on analysis of evidences and potentially further assessments undertaken at the
initiative of the assessors. In simple terms, a competence can be fully recognized, partially recognized
or declared as non-existing. In order to fulfill this task, the qualifications should be described based on
- Decision on validation of competencies (full or partial). Full validation of all competences needed for
a qualification leads to awarding of the certificate. Partial qualification refers to situation when only a
part of the competences composing a qualification are validated through the VPL process (this might
be the initial decision of the candidate, to get only partial certification or it might be the result of the
assessment). Partial validation could also mean that a specific competence (or a number of specific
competences) is only partially present or achieved. In order to achieve the minimum standard for one
or more competences or in order to train non-existing competences in order to achieve a qualification,
an individual learning plan need to be designed and than followed.
Individual learning. This step / process appears when the decision of the evaluations leads in this
direction. Basically, starting form the concrete situation of the individual candidate, with the support of
the specialist(s) and VPL consultant a plan is designed in order to meet the specific level of
competence required by the certification process. In a more detailed way, this stage includes:
- Preparation of individual learning plan, based on the results of the assessment. The learning plan
may include different kinds of activities: attending classes, individual study, practical training in school
or at economic agents, etc. In the learning plan, there is specified what competences / skills the
candidate should acquire, through what learning activities / experiences and the timeline.
- Organization of the learning process. Although each individual has its own learning plan, at the
institutional level (VET school) probably there will be more persons involved in the process of VPL in
the same time. This is why the learning process should be adapted / organized for the candidates,
making available for them activities, resources and specialists they need.
- Implementation of the individualized study process. According to the designed plan, the candidates
follows the activities in the indicated timeframe, having a clear schedule and continuing support and
supervision from the teachers.
- Evaluation appears again in order to check the effectiveness of the individual learning process, after
the whole plan is fulfilled by the candidate. As before, evaluation could be based on completing the
portfolio or other methods, as agreed by the candidate and specialist teachers. Normally, a decision is
made to give the full of partial certification to the candidate. In this case, partial certification means to
certify only a part of the competences belonging to a qualification, but not partial mastery of a specific
Certification. Final stage of awarding certificate based on the achieved results in the learning
process, as well as on the results of the assessment is basically closing the circle and, capitalizing the
learning throughout the whole process, could lead to improvements at the level of next initiatives.
- Collection of information needed for certification. In order to issue a formally recognized certificate,
some information are needed, both in terms of personal information about the candidate (copies of
relevant documents, i.e. ID, previous diplomas / certificates etc.), but also the final report of the
assessment. The final report of the assessment and the portfolio based on which VPL happens,
should be archived in the school. The assessors should take responsibility for the proposal thy made
related to certification.
- Awarding of certificates. Here, the respective VET school (VPL centre) should be officially entitled to
award the respective certificates, according to the legislation in force.
This basic description is a framework according to which each VET school that intends to get involved
in VPL should act, especially in a system being at the early stage of initiating these processes.
Adaptations to the current procedure could be initiated at local / contextual level level, taking into
account the specific circumstances of the institutions, occupations, learners and resources.
 Jarvis, P. (2007). Globalization, lifelong learning and learning society. Sociological
perspectives. London: Routledge.
 Fokiene, A.; Ciolan, L. (2012). Methodological framework for validation of prior learning in
Serbia. Belgrade: VET Reform Project.
 European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning (2009) CEDEFOP.
Luxembourg: Office of Official Publications of the European Communities
 Boud, D., Keogh, R. & Walker, D. (2005). Reflection. Turning Experience into Learning.
ASPECTS REGARDING THE INVOLVEMENT OF FACULTY
MEMBERS IN THE STUDENT CAREER COUNSELLING ACTIVITIES
Elena Liliana Danciu
University of the West Timisoara, 4 Bd. V. Parvan, Timisoara, 300223, Romania
The current social dynamics and the problems caused by the long-term economic, social and
political crisis generate discontinuities both in the professional development and in the
completion of professional projects. However, the effects of this crisis are felt more strongly
by the migrants who, after a stay of several years, have to come back to the country and
readapt to the conditions they had to move away from upon emigration. The position of the
faculty members in relation to these phenomena, but particularly in relation to the capacity of
student career counsellor and the solutions envisaged for efficiently sorting out the problems
related to the counselling of migrant students returned to the country represent the topic of
Key words: Migrant, career counselling, occupational standard, psycho-pedagogical and
vocational counselling, professional inclusion
“Process of maximum harmonization between the resources, requirements, aspirations or
personal interests of an individual and the effective offer in the field of education, social-
professional training and integration”, career counselling became a stringent necessity
because of the absence of professional and moral reference points of a generation which is
more and more affected by the long periods of crisis, is in a constant hurry and is unable to
wait certain social phenomena (Chelcea, S., 2004) to happen and triggers them, sometimes
chaotically and randomly. As career counselling services (Nayak, A.K.; Rao, V.K., 2002) are
not widely varied and students do not benefit from them, one possible solution that could sort
out the numerous career-related problems (Nelson –Jones, R., 2006) is the involvement of
faculty members in career counselling.
As in education the initial training of young people should develop their key skills (Gliga L.,
2002) (Jigau, M.; Chiru, M. 2004) in order to prepare them for adult life and lay the
foundations of lifelong learning and successful integration on the labour market” (Collins, S.;
Hiebert, B., 2002) it is highly necessary for the professors to have specific professional skills
(Zgaga, P.; Neacsu, I.; Velea, S. 2007) of communication in the mother tongue, in foreign
languages, computer skills, career development skills (Hansen, E., 2006), the capacity to
adapt to change, curiosity, interest for knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit (Patton, W.;
McMahon, M., 2006), student and project management skills, motivation, personal marketing
skills, openness to new ideas, innovation.
The modern means of career counselling regarding training structures (courses, workshops)
for the contacts with the labour market, or direct with the labour market (visits, job shops,
volunteering, training- practice, apprenticeship, internship) as well as the means of coaching,
mentorship or computer assisted counselling shall become habitual for university institutions
but particularly for those carrying out activities of this category.
For this reason, the investigation carried out aimed at making a diagnosis of the
counselling activity at a university level, defining the main problems involved by this
phenomenon, also covering the migrants returned to the country (Jigau, M., coord., 2007),
highlighting the existing blockages and suggesting efficient solutions for the educational
balance of the university institution.
In order to start the investigation we set the fulfilment of the following
• Identify the student career counselling activities carried out at a university level
• Define the involvement of faculty members in the student career counselling activity
• Identify the advantages and disadvantages of faculty members’ involvement in student
• Find the best counselling methods to ensure the social-educational and professional
reintegration of migrants returned to the country
and the demonstration of the following hypotheses’ validity:
• There are important differences in the attitude of faculty members towards their
involvement in student career counselling activity
• The absence from the faculty members’ occupational standard of the skills specific to
counselling and lifelong learning makes them reticent when it comes to the decision to
provide career counselling to students
• Even if they do not have the courage to request counselling directly in relation to their
situation, migrants need psychological and career counselling in order to find their
emotional balance and pertinent solutions for their professional problems
The instruments used in the investigation were the interview survey (62 Polytechnic students
and 47 career counselling specialists, out of which 28 faculty members) and questionnaire
survey (35 students- initial training, 3rd
year and 24- master’s degree, and 58 career
counselling specialists out of which 31 faculty members selected in a balanced manner
according to the teaching function criterion).
The investigation team included faculty members, career counsellors, sociologists, students.
Findings and Results
The interview in which the 62 students participated revealed numerous problems, out of
which the most relevant were:
• The factors having influenced career decision-making for the majority of respondents:
o Family (45 answers) and closest friends’ (19 answers) advices and attitude;
o Level of recognition of the diploma obtained as compared to the other universities,
aspect that would increase the chances of getting a job more than reasonable, good
or very good (8 answers)
o Faculty members with strong personality or with a professional activity having
particular resonance both locally and at a county or national level (6 answers)
o Level of school and university performances (11 answers)
• Potential recipes for success from the respondents’ perspective:
o Good professional background (42)
o Active involvement (15)
o Love what you do and do it as good as possible (24)
o Work and dedication (8)
o Capacity to easily adapt to different conditions of activity and interrelation (17)
• Relation to the career plan:
o Problematic and at a too low rate (most respondents do not have and did not
envisage a career plan (41)
o Those who, however, developed a career plan, limited themselves to reaching
immediate or reasonable objectives (graduation, enrolment in a master’s degree
• Decision-making problems:
The interviewed students insist on:
o The implications determined by career-related decisions and on their importance
for their future (26)
o The difficulty in making a decision without a prior prospection of the labour
market and a correct self-knowledge (20)
o The dependency of the acceptance or refusal decision by a person in the
respondent’s entourage (parents, relatives, elder brothers etc.) (16)
o Insufficient knowledge of the career decision-making algorithm
• Professional expectations- referred to the chances of promotion, (28) advancement, (11)
specialization or professional development in a certain field, (23) job stability
As regards the participation in personal development courses or such other courses focusing
on career topics, 41 students answered that they did not participate ever in a training, 26
benefited from self-marketing (writing a CV, letter of intent, letter of thanks, presentation to
an interview), 9 benefited from online job offers and none of them participated in an
internship or mentoring session but if they had been organised by the university they would
have found time to participate.
The group of faculty members interviewed included 12 professors, 19 associate professors, 11
lecturers, 17 assistant professors and the data was interpreted according to the established
interview guide. Here are some of the questions asked:
Have you ever given / do you give students career counselling?
The answer was positive, except for 3 faculty members whose seniority in the educational
field was below 2 years and who considered that their relationship with the students did not
also involve counselling.
Depending on the seniority in the educational field and on the educational experience, the
professors considered that they provided counselling to students either on a weekly basis (7)
or during consultations and seminars, (11) practical activities either as part of the activity of
coordination of diploma theses (12) of joint professional meetings- projects- (5), experience
sharing programs (3).
In question: What is / was the weight of student career counselling in your teaching
activity? – the respondents indicated an approximate percentage ranging between 9 and 15%
depending on the skills for this type of activity but also on the express need expressed.
The issues tackled during counselling included:
o Necessary competencies required to practice in certain professions (24)
o Ways of looking for and choosing a job
o Representativeness of the public system as compared to private system
o Professional alternatives in relation to the level of specialization
o Professional information
o Employment availabilities
o Motivational aspects related to career trajectory
o Self-marketing skills (writing a CV, letter of intent, letter of thanks, presentation
to an interview)
When asked about the importance they pay to this kind of activity, the faculty members
expressed the following views:
o “Even we, as adults, sometimes need counselling and even more so do the students who
are still in a quest to find their individual style of action and relation to the profession
o “The students need our experience and the certainties built after many years of work and
dedication. For this reason, it is very important to support them in the right moment and
to the extent they need our support in order to make sure that they can correctly plan the
o “Due to the impact our advices and views might have on the students, the counselling
activity is particularly important and it involves a high degree of responsibility.”
o “I consider that counselling activity is more than necessary, important, crucial for
completing professional projects, especially if they are meant to provide training for
None of the faculty members denied its importance and necessity but when they had to decide
whether they are or not prepared to provide career counselling the opinions were different. 18
respondents considered that they can assume only to a partial extent the role of counsellor
even if they have considerable life and professional experience and the teaching position
enabled them to act as trainer or consultant for different problems. 20 respondents consider
that being a counsellor involves first of all a certain level of knowledge of certain algorithms,
structures for the assessment of the obvious skills of the trainee personality in order to ensure
that the career guidance provided is correct and efficient. That is why they are slightly
sceptical when it comes to the value of their counselling activity outside a set of exact
11 of the professors interviewed say that they have a great pleasure in carrying out this kind
of activity, which comes in addition to the teaching activity, especially when the person who
performs it has a higher psycho-pedagogical training. None of the respondents would give up
teaching career to provide only counselling because it is an indestructible part of what they
8 of them state that they will carry out such activities only if it is expressly necessary because
they can not take the risk of a wrong counselling with long-term effects, 6 of them recognise
openly that this kind of activity does not suit them and they can do it if the counselling
provided fits their areas of expertise and 16 support the idea of a special and thorough training
so that to get the desired effects.
The specialised training shall include elements of counselling methodology (10) and the use
of specific instruments in order to offer counselling in a systematic and organized manner
(12), the existence of training courses focused on these techniques (7) for specialisation (5) or
higher specialisation (4) as it is required for any professor the teacher training module and
training in psycho-pedagogical field (8).
29 respondents consider that all university professors should have knowledge in career
counselling such as:
o Situation on the labour market (10), economic development at a local, regional
and national level (11), degree of inclusion of graduate students (8), areas in
which they are included (6)
o Counselling means and methods (12)
o Strategies to assess the manifest skills of the student (21)
o Diagnosis and assessment instruments (14)
o Possible career impediments and ways to eliminate them (4)
o Strategies to develop communication and social-psycho-pedagogical skills (8)
o Elements of personality psychology (6)
75% of respondents consider that professors have the obligation to guide to special career
counselling centres the students they can not efficiently advise.
When asked whether they should have duties of career counselling stipulated in the job
description and correspondingly paid all professors indicated that they would accept such
duties if they attended in prior counselling and psychology training courses.
11 of them were reserved, being convinced that a correct and efficient guidance may only be
provided by a good specialist who would feel more comfortable than them in this role in
which they do not quite see themselves. The fear that they might strongly interfere in the
professional future and alter the already fragile balance of decisions already made, determines
many faculty members not to fully agree to this kind of activity; however they do not fully
refuse it because their involvement as teachers in career counselling involves both advantages
Among the highlighted advantages of the faculty members’ involvement in student career
counselling, the most relevant were:
• Experience in working with young people, psycho- pedagogical skills and mutual
knowledge may consolidate the trust in the counselling provided by the professor
• Access to professional information both on the national and international labour
• Quality and efficiency of professor-student communication (14)
• Psychological and pedagogical skills of faculty members (32)
• More complex knowledge of student personality (18)
• Proper decision-making behaviour, adapted and well-informed (16)
• Quality of interpersonal professor-student relations (24)
• Competencies to assess the potential
• Access to professional information both on the national and international labour
• Quality and efficiency of professor-student communication (14)
• Psychological and pedagogical skills of faculty members (32)
• More complex knowledge of student personality (18)
• Proper decision-making behaviour, adapted and well-informed (16)
• Quality of interpersonal professor-student relations (24)
• Competencies to assess the potential of the students to be guided to the labour
The disadvantages relate to:
• Insufficient information of faculty members in relation to career-counselling (34)
• Their limited skills in the field of labour market and business (18)
• Low level of positive social affection of certain faculty members (9)
• Communication problems because of formal interrelations (frequent use of formal,
• superficial or standard answers (11)
• The high load of faculty members meaning insufficient time for other activities (16)
• Disinterest in counselling activities of certain faculty members (15)
• Exaggerating the importance of disciplines taught by the professor with counselling
When asked about career counselling institutions or services provided to the students, 32
faculty members stated that they do not know anything of the existence of such services and
the other ones indicated: human resource departments (9), local employment agencies (11),
marketing, career counselling and guidance offices (16), on-line job offers (9), student
associations (8), job shops (14), self-marketing services (writing a CV, letter of intent, letter
of thanks, presentation to an interview) (10), internships (7), teaching career mentoring /
Out of the total number of 121 students interviewed and questioned, 25 were from that
category of migrants who returned to the country (3 from the USA, 6 from Italy, 8 from
Spain, 5 from Germany, 2 from Austria, 1 from Holland) for different reasons (none of the
respondents had only one reason for returning to the country):
• Incapacity to adapt to the social life and to financially support themselves (14)
• Failed marriages (4)
• Loneliness and distance from the family (4)
• Particular family problems (5)
• Severe health problems preventing them from working
• Continuing the studies for those who interrupted them in the 2nd
year (6) or 3rd
• Passing the final exam (5) or master’s degree thesis (2)
Among the problems they faced and they continue to face after returning to the country there
• a painful feeling of failure, both in personal and professional life
• tendency to banter the others regarding their attempt to change their life
• reticence in initiating new interpersonal relationships
• need to use their human potential rather than the specialist potential
• problems related to linguistic subtlety for those having returned to the country after 7-
• migration (12) meant for some of them the liquidation of all personal values acquired
up to that moment and restarting a new life is not easy for them
However, out of the 25 migrants, only 6 students requested counselling for sorting out
personal problems, the others preferring to make do by themselves, without attracting too
much attention on the failure for which they feel really guilty.
“I always fight with an alter go that forces me to ask for help in order to save the present and
to outline at least approximately the future but the other part of me refuses to make public my
personal problem as it could increase my failure. I believe that the lack of confidence keeps
me at distance from a help that not only I need but I also deserve. And who knows how many
others there are out there facing the same situation!”
“Relationship frostiness that I felt in the whole period I was far away from the country makes
me look now for “a little love and understanding”, as the song was saying, and why not, a
person to highlight what is best and most beautiful in me and I do not have the courage to
show to those like me. Because it is not normal for a failure, irrespective of its nature, to
impact you for the entire life.”
Conclusions and recommendations
The data obtained following the investigation, representing only a small part of the numerous
aspects of this topic, revealed that most faculty members are available to provide student
career counselling considering that the experience in the communication with the students, the
psycho-pedagogical skills of approaching educational problems and the capacity of
understanding the complexity of social phenomena would constitute a sufficient argument.
The great diversity of opinions resulting from the answers given within the interview and the
questionnaire demonstrated the existence of key differences as to the attitude of faculty
members towards their involvement in student career counselling activity which confirmed
the validity of the first hypothesis which considers that there are important differences in the
attitude of faculty members towards their involvement in student career counselling activity.
Most faculty members consider necessary:
• The existence of a counselling office in each university; the persons in charge with it
should have a high level of professionalism in order to diversify the services, build and
improve the relation with the labour market, local authorities, student associations and,
obviously, to create networks of centres indented to provide career counselling.
• The development of educational assistance behaviours in agreement with professional
ethics involving counselling for personal development, self-knowledge and the creation of
a positive self-image and implicitly of self-esteem.
• The organization by the counselling departments within universities of different events
focusing on self-knowledge, psycho-pedagogical and vocational counselling, individual or
collective career guiding putting on the first place the main aspects of career counselling
and guidance, of the personal counselling methodology and also focusing on information
and communication. In order to perform these counselling activities, the faculty members
will need basic skills such as active listening, observation, addressing questions,
providing feedback, paraphrasing, summarisation etc.
This confirmed the validity of the second hypothesis which states that “The absence from the
faculty members’ occupational standard of the skills specific to counselling and lifelong
learning makes them reticent when it comes to the decision to provide career counselling to
The answers given by the migrant students within the interviews and questionnaires revealed
the following aspects:
• Difficulty to readapt to the living conditions “Unfortunately, neither there nor here do
I feel like home or feel like I am ok”
• Incapacity to make decisions in relation to key problems of life
• Absence of courage to request support counselling from the specialist or professor
considering that this might alter his/her self-image
• Express desire to use their human potential rather than the specialist potential
• Need for affection from the others
All these answers confirm the availability of the third hypothesis which states that “Even if
they do not have the courage to request counselling directly in relation to their situation,
migrants need psychological and career counselling in order to find their emotional balance
and pertinent solutions for their professional problems.”
Besides these aspects, students considered as efficient:
• Stressing the pragmatic perspective of counselling services in order to respond to
• Introducing in the curriculum career counselling modules to be coordinated by the
faculty members, acting as counsellors
• Diversifying counselling activity according to the problems and needs of each migrant
returned in the country (linguistic, career, psychological, health counselling etc.)
• We consider that a more thorough analysis of these counselling aspects and the
approach of other stringent aspects could constitute a first step in:
• sorting out many problems related to career counselling for students, in general, and
for migrants returned to the country, in particular,
• establishing the place that counselling activity should occupy in the professional
standard of faculty members,
• defining the most appropriate solutions to achieve it.
For all these and for other numerous reasons, the investigation shall continue.
• Chelcea, S., (2004), Metodologia cercetării sociologice. Metode cantitative şi calitative.
Ediţia a II-a. Bucureşti, Editura Economică.
• Collins, S.; Hiebert, B. (2002). Developing a Competency Framework for Career
Counsellor Training. Calgary, Athabasca University. Online:
• Council Resolution on Better Integrating Lifelong Guidance into Lifelong Learning
Strategies – (2008). 5th Education, Youth and Culture Council meeting. Bruxelles
• Gliga L. (2002)(coord). Standarde profesionale pentru profesia didactica. Bucuresti,
Consiliul National pentru Pregatirea Profesorilor, 2002.
• Hansen, E. (2006). Career Guidance. A Resource Handbook for Low and Middle-
• Income Countries. ILO.
• Jigau, M., (coord.) (2007). Consilierea carierei. Compendiu de metode si tehnici,
Bucuresti, B Editura Sigma
• Jigau, M.; Chiru, M. (2004). Consilierea la distanţă. Manual. Bucuresti, Editura AFIR
• Jigau, M., (coord.) (2003). Tehnologiile informatice si de comunicare în consilierea
carierei. Bucuresti, Editura AFIR
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• Nelson –Jones, R., (2006), Theory and Practice of Counseling and Therapy, ed. a 4-a,
• Sage, London
• Patton, W.; McMahon, M., (2006), Career development and system theory. Connecting
theory and practice. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
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Lifelong Learning (2006), Bruxelles,
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europene. Bucureşti, Editura Universitară
Musical education, a stability factor in the Roma communities
Roşca F., Dorgo M.
West University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania
The talent and quality of the Roma people in performing art is well known. Since the
medieval period, the Roma communities have formed musical groups, such as folk groups,
The Gypsy Orchestra or the well-known musicians performing at weddings. They are even
now, a generally stable population, with civic and behavioural well-established rules. In
Romania the Gypsies’ talent and desire to learn is well known. That is why every year the
Roma (Gypsy) population has preferential places in being admitted at the Faculty of Music.
The paper presents the educational experience and offers a model of permanent education,
towards music, for the Roma minority communities.
Keywords: Roma people, performing arts, music, permanent education, harmonious
development, generally stable population
JEL Codes: I21, E15
1.1. The management history of performance in the musical art of the Roma people
The musical art in the Roma communities can be identified from the beginning of the
accounts concerning the occupational activities of this minority in the Romanian culture.
in his address from 1/13 April 1891 in a solemn meeting of the
Romanian Academy organized to celebrate 25 years from its foundation referring to the slave
Gypsies mentions the following: On the very streets of Iasi, in my youth I saw some human
beings wearing chains around their hands or legs, some of them even steel horns on their
forehead and linked by columns around their necks. Harsh beatings, being condemned to
starvation and smoke, being put into jails, being thrown naked in the snow or in frozen rivers,
this is the fate of poor Gypsies! ...Neither humanity nor religion or the civil law provided any
protection to these poor people; it was a terrible, outrageous performance. That is why,
advised by the spirit of the century, by human laws, a number of senior and young lords have
decided to wash their country of the shame of slavery. The rich lords even had music chapels
or fiddlers’ bands. All these services were provided by the Gypsies; the abolition of their
slavery was made by means of the daily needs of the families, that is why their liberation
could only take place gradually and under two rulings, both in Moldova and in Muntenia.
From this paragraph we remember the reference to the musical chapels and fiddlers’
bands that existed on the lords’ properties. They had a privileged status as servants in the
house where besides the activities around the house they had the role to amuse and to
entertain on the occasion of the feasts organized by their lords. Otherwise this was the only
music around 1820 that the lords from Bucharest accepted being played in their houses, as the
historian Ioan Ghica mentions in one of his letters addressed to Vasile Alecsandri. Art is an
unknown thing. All around Bucharest there was only one piano and a harp. Music belonged
to the fiddlers and the church singers2
. As far as the art of the Gypsy fiddlers is concerned the
historian Nicolae Iorga writes a memorable page in the chapter Romanian Music in the book
The Romanian Music of Today. The Gypsies were lucky everywhere they went and not only
Mihai, Kogălniceanu, Desrobirea Ţiganilor, Bucureşti, 1891, p.14
Grigore, Poslusnicu, Istoria Musicei la Romani, Bucuresti, Editura Cartea Romaneasca, 1928, p. 131
due to their bow: there are people who are crazy for Gypsy music as well as the player, but
their music has nothing to do with Romanian music. The Gypsy can interpret folk music, but
he does it in his own way... They remember every melody, but they introduce something
capricious and funny, a mixture of passion and ridiculous. We admire passion but we smile at
the idea of something ridiculous; and this mixture, this complexity of the human being, that
partly connects us to God on the one hand, and to monkeys, on the other hand, forms what we
call the Gypsy soul3
Octavian Lazar Cosma identifies the art of the fiddlers with that of the professional
folk people that used as basic elements instruments with plucked strings that resembled a lute,
the origin of the word fiddler. According to him the notion of fiddler cannot be older than
three or four centuries4
Legends were created around some characters belonging to the world of fiddlers such
as Barbu Lautaru5
(Vasile Barbu born in 1780) who impressed Franz Liszt with his virtuosity.
Musicians like him were the precursors of great People’s Artists such as Stefan Ruha and Ion
Voicu. These musicians have never denied their ethnicity. They were even proud about the
fact that their ancestors had been musicians and famous fiddlers. Through their modesty, their
talent, but especially through the dignified way in which they have promoted their Roma
ethnicity, the two musicians are models of social behaviour and integration in the great
European family of artists.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1.The contemporary integration of the Roma (Gypsy) musicians
Today we identify two major groups descending from Roma fiddlers’ families. Most
of them have continued the centuries old traditions of their ancestors. The fiddler bands have
sometimes become professional bands that have an important activity even today as folk
Petre, Nitulescu, Muzica Romaneasca de azi, Bucuresti, Cartea Sindicatului Artistilor din Romania, 1939, pp.17-18
Octavian, Lazar Cosma, Hronicul muzicii romanesti, vol. I, Bucuresti, Editura Muzicala a Uniunii Compozitorilor, 1972, p.
Grigore, Poslusnicu, Istoria Musicei la Romani, Bucuresti, Editura Cartea Romaneasca, 1928, pp. 608-617
orchestras as part of the County Folk Creation Centres or as professional folk music
orchestras. Some others have been integrated as musicians in musical concert cafe bands, in
luxurious restaurants or in ambient music orchestras. Their repertoire includes music that due
to its diversity can satisfy all tastes: from Paganini’s Caprices to Strauss’ waltzes, Jazz music
or even folk music. A master of the bow as Mister Kolompar Senior tackles all genres of
music necessary to a varied and heterogeneous audience and culture. Mister Kolompar the
son, who has graduated from the Conservatory in Timisoara, has greater ambition. He also
plays Bach’s suites (in restaurants), Paganini’s caprices, Porumbescu’s ballad and almost all
the repertoire that the audience requires. Undoubtedly, the interpretations are flawless and
when called a fiddler, one thinks the term has a pejorative meaning.
Unfortunately, we have not managed to draw up a questionnaire regarding the
contemporary integration of the Roma musicians. There still exists a great problem of suspicion
the moment one tries to ask questions regarding the family and especially the children.
However, from personal conversations we drew the conclusion that each family of Roma
musicians is averagely cultivated, they speak two or three European languages, they have a
sense of financial values and are informed about European policies especially the ones that
concern them as a minority. Statistically, the number of Roma musicians integrated at present in
the Romanian society exceeds by far the number of Roma people doing other jobs. Thus, in
Timisoara, the majority of the music bands performing in restaurants as well as that of music
groups playing at weddings are made up of people of people of Roma ethnicity in a percentage
of 45%. This state of things concerning the Roma musicians in Romania suggests a few basic
principles regarding their integration in the contemporary European society. The first element is
related to the education given in the family. When the parents assess their children’s talent they
will do everything it takes to enrol them in good music schools. Maybe this is the most
important step. The second element is related to the integration in the cultural space. Musicians
do not feel marginalized. They are considered useful, appreciated and they are paid well enough
to play in a particular band for a long time. The third element refers to their integration in the
social and political life. An extremely powerful voice in Romanian politics is that of Madalin
Voicu, the son of expert Ion Voicu. Even if at times Madalin Voicu does not support some of
the inappropriate practices of his ethnicity, he defends his people. From the music stand of the
Radio Orchestra from Bucharest, Madalin Voicu is recommended by his professionalism. We
could say that these are mere exceptions. I do not think so, and the two Roma artists referred to
earlier are the successful representatives of very talented people who knew how to guide their
children towards the best schools in Romania that provided them with a musical culture.
Sometimes we are the witnesses of their wish to succeed. The symphonic Orchestra of the
fiddlers in Budapest is the best example in this respect. Half of them have Romanian origins.
They are not paid for their concerts, they only rejoyce in playing together. And they put a lot of
enthusiasm and passion in what they do. This is how I met Stefan Ruha. A great artist with an
angel’s sensitivity. He had an extraordinary love for his violin. When he would open his violin
case he would caress it and always had to say something soft and mysterious to his violin. A
wonderful man with a magical violin. This was Stefan Ruha.
2.2. A social problem or only an inadequate perception
At the opposite end I bear in mind the image of the musicians in the Parisian subway.
In groups of two or three, with their accordions hanging around their necks and with their
purse oriented towards generosity. Nothing has left from the dignity of the former fiddlers.
Nothing has left from the dignity of the educated musician satisfied with what he is doing.
Sometimes he is dispelled, isolated, beaten, asked to serve. Like in the 18th century we go
back to Kogalniceanu’s words. Who is to blame? The society points its finger at them,
sometimes accusing them rightfully. A nomad population, unstable and unintegrated in any of
the European patterns. I was preoccupied with identifying a few of them. The surprise was
great. They did not think of themselves as fiddlers but mere buskers. In fact they did not
belong to this family, they were poor copies of some musicians they knew they were better-
off than them. They were folk music counterfeiters, given away by their unmusical cries, their
begging and especially by the habit of not having a sense of property. Should they come back
to Romania? Whatever for? They are the greatest problem of the Roma people. The
counterfeiters. I am not aware of any European research regarding these poor people. Without
an education, marginalized in Europe, fugitives from their own country with no real purpose
I also have in mind the image of the castles belonging to the Roma people in Romania.
Most of them have been built on the effort of these poor beggars. Now they cannot pay for
them anymore. They will slowly become big houses in which the family lives like in the old
times in a crowded room, trembling with cold and hoping for survival. These are the
consequences of an involuntary move from a respectable job of a fiddler to that of a busker.
2.3. Between fiddlers and manelisti
The “manelisti” who have appeared in the last decade represent a new social phenomenon.
From successful fiddlers, they have discovered a new musical genre, from the sub-cultural
world, that corresponded to the needs of a population that was equally poor in terms of
musical education. The lively rhythms, the double meaning words and especially the music
with a languorous tendency and poor aesthetics concerning its contents was addressing a
population that was avid to hear something that belonged to it. The people living on the
periphery. The modern periphery appeared in the shadow of the poor and disadvantaged
people living in blocks of flats, at weddings and baptism receptions where the purpose was
only financial reward. A new category of musicians was born who started throwing money on
TV, at the baptism receptions of the Roma “lords”, during parties where they participated not
knowing why. Their slogan was only one: financial reward, as fast as possible. The social
environment was a precarious one, at the limit of the law. I was shocked to see a program
financed by the European Union where these musicians were considered modern music
composers. This seems ridiculous and discouraging for any type of educational program.
3.1. One solution. Education.
The fiddlers’ music was born from suffering. It still causes the same suffering of the
beggars’ slavery. Somebody or something should help them. There is only one solution.
Education. The Romanian Government does its best so that these people, at times extremely
talented, are recuperated. The religious communities through the Roma people choirs (the
Roma people wearing hats) represent some of the few chances of a marginalized population
from the point of view of cultural expression, a marginalization due not to the European
society but to the huge discrepancies in cultural perception. I have had the chance to attend a
Christian Choral Festival of the Roma population. It was a great success. People with very
different cultural levels and limits imposed by the very restrictive group habits became open,
beautiful, clean and willing to sing. It is only an exception in the midst of an army of buskers
and European travellers.
Although through the Early inclusive education component of 6.1 MEuros and
implemented in 2012 by the Ministry of Education and Research, in collaboration with the
Roma People National Agency the access of children aged between 3 and 6, including that of
children that come from disadvantaged groups, such as the Roma minority, has increased, the
real situation based on a survey conducted by Ovidiu Rom Association6
is as follows:
• The school dropout rate at the level of primary education has tripled from 0.6% in
2000/2001 up to 1.8% in 2007/2008. Within the same period, the dropout rate for
secondary level has increased four times – from 0.6% up to 2.3%.
• The Roma children who have not been enrolled represent 80% of the total number of
children who have not been enrolled in Romania
• The Roma children aged 3-6 who are enrolled at nursery school represent a quarter of
the national average (17.2% as compared to 67%).
• In the rural areas the graduation rate for the primary school (grades I – IV) and the
secondary school (grades V-VIII) is approximately 25% lower than in the urban
areas. A third of the children living in villages do not attend secondary school as
compared to approximately 4% of the children in the urban areas.
• 75% of the Roma children enrol in primary and secondary school; 17% enrol in high
schools and vocational schools (SAM) and only 1% enrol in higher education. By
comparison, the national average is of 90.3% in the case of children who graduate
from primary and secondary education, 52.8% for high school and vocational school
(SAM) graduates and 38% for university graduates.
• On average, the Roma spend 6-8 years in school as compared to the national average
of 11-12 years.
• At the 2002 census, over 100.000 Roma citizens aged over 11 have been registered as
• The percentage of illiterate Roma people under 18 (47.1%) is twice higher than the
national average (24.7%).
According to the governmental survey of the Roma people national Agency7
, in 2002
from the total number of 408842 Roma children aged over 10 only 684 graduated from
university, 9289 graduated from high school and 140220 have not graduated from any
school. As far as the occupied population in Romania based on ethnicity is concerned
from the total number of 87652 people who have graduated from school, the number of
Roma people being of 535140, only 291 are professionals with intellectual and scientific
interests, and 1313 are involved in politics.
As compared to the majority of the Romanian population these numbers are extremely
discouraging as far as the chance of integration of the Roma population in Romania is
We think that from the point of view of integrating the Roma musicians in the
contemporary society the results are extremely promising. All the Roma musicians (I am
thinking of the authentic musicians, not the “manelisti”) who belong to professional music
bands, especially the ones who work in music institutions in Banat and Ardeal, have a good
living standard. Their children go to school in a percentage of 100%, are integrated as good
citizens and do not commit crimes and do not have an antisocial behaviour. This is what
mainly encourages us to support a musical education aimed at the Roma people groups that
want to play music, as, it is our conviction that music can act as a social integration factor.
Their chance is the liberation from the slavery of lack of culture and adopting the
models of some great musicians. A job for which the Roma people are very talented,
dedicated and passionate. What is needed to be taught is the grotesque Kogalniceanu was
speaking about. Their liberation from the slavery of poverty and abasement. The balance is
not “manelism”, but good quality classical music. Being educated in classical music schools.
In Romania the means are modest and little known. Even founding special musical education
schools for them would represent a chance to be recuperated educationally. They should be
offered what they can do, what they like doing and to follow their models as social, human
and artistic integration. Maybe few know that Celibidache, the world-renowned orchestra
conductor, belonged to this ethnicity. The people at Schola Cantorum from Paris seem to have
known that. Between this giant of European music and the busker in the Parisian subway
there is a huge discrepancy that pertains to family, school and integration. What has Europe
got to offer them?
G. POSLUSNICU, Istoria Musicei la Romani, Bucuresti, Editura Cartea Romaneasca, 1928
M. KOGĂLNICEANU, Desrobirea Ţiganilor, Bucureşti, 1891, p.14
O. L. COSMA, Hronicul muzicii romanesti, vol. I, Bucuresti, Editura Muzicala a Uniunii
P. NITULESCU, Muzica Romaneasca de azi, Bucuresti, Cartea Sindicatului Artistilor din Romania,
S. RADULESCU, Chats about gypsy music, Bucuresti, Editura Paideia, 2004
ANONIM, Botez de 200.000 de euro cu tigani si manelisti , Libertatea online, 23 aprilie 2007
ANONIM, Pentru ei nu e criză! Primarul Rababoc Anghel cheltuie te pe maneli ti 45.000 €,
libertatea ro, 6 septembrie, 2011
M. H. BEISSINGER, Occupation and Ethnicity: Constructing Identity among Professional Romani
(Gypsy) Musicians in Romania, Slavic Review 60 (2001), pp. 24-49
C. PAVEL, Nicolae Botgros – Dirijorul orchestrei ,,Lautarii” din Chisinau, Formula As numarul 844,
C. CRIS, Manelele si muzica tiganeasca, La zi pe Metropotam, 18 Octombrie 2007
D. DIEACONU, De la calai, la lautari – istoria tiganilor din Tarile Romane, Historia.ro numarul 10
din iulie 2012
D. LAVRIC, Vestiţi lăutari din Moldova, Ziarul de Iasi/Luceafarul numarul 4, 6 octombrie 2012
F. CALOTA, Cuceritorii lumii cei fara de arme. Despre Lautari, Traditii, 19 februarie 2010
G. PUSCASIU, Peste 50 de lăutari din „Orchestra Simfonică Ţigănească din Budapesta” concertează
astăzi la Satu Mare, Adevarul, Stiri din Satu Mare, 27 august 2011
G. SAIZESCU, Arta filmului si sursa folclorica, Vitralii, 2010
H. MUNTENUS, Gentilomi de mahala, Obiectiv numarul 469, aprilie 2009
N. HRISTODORESCU, Petreceri cu lautari, Altphel, 14 iunie 2012
S. RADULESCU, Convorbire cu tigani lautari din localităţile Morunglav şi Balş Oltenia, Romania
literara, numarul 37, 2002
I. SZEMAN, Gypsy Music’ and Deejays: Orientalism, Balkanism and Romani Musicians.” TDR: The
Journal of Performance Studies 53 (2009), pp. 98-116
Internet pages for the partners of he 2011-2012 project „Trasee de romi”
www.surreycc.gov.uk / heritageevents
Professional Motivation of Teachers in Relationship with Students’
“Tibiscus” University, Timişoara (ROMANIA)
Based on the systemic paradigm of creativity, the study means to demonstrate the importance of
social factors in general and especially the role of the teachers in cultivating creativity in schools.
Thus, the research was aimed to identify the relationship between the professional motivation of
teachers and the creative attitudes of middle-school and high-school students, aged between 11 and
19 years old, that are taught by those teachers. Teachers’ professional motivation was assessed with
the Professional Motivation Questionnaire proposed by R. Bazin and following Abraham Maslow’s
motivation and self-actualization theory, while the students’ creative attitudes were measured with the
Creative Attitude Scale conceived by Paul Popescu-Neveanu. 202 students and 132 teachers from
Romania were tested. The statistical procedures used were one-way Anova and Tukey post-hoc
analysis. The results indicate significant differences concerning the diversity of interests between the
students taught by teachers with self-actualization motivation compared with those taught by teachers
with strong hedonistic and security professional motivation. Also, the results demonstrate a difference
of energy level between students taught by teachers with pleasure-centered professional motivation
compared with those taught by security-centered professional motivation. These results illustrate the
high impact that educators have on the pupils they work with and the fact that creativity development
programs should start with self-actualization stimulation programs for teachers.
Keywords: teachers’ professional motivation, self-actualization, students’ creative attitudes, diversity of
Recent research in the field of creativity led to the accumulation of scientific knowledge within the
systemic paradigm that provides solid ground for studying the influence of various characteristics of
the main actors populating the individual’s social environment upon creativity manifestation. Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi  compares the creative behavior with the fact of being involved in a car crash:
there are certain traits that make an individual more prone to accidents, such as young age and male
gender, but car accidents cannot only be explained on the basis of the driver’s characteristics,
because several other variables are also involved in such a situation, like the condition of the road, the
state of mind and other characteristics of the other drivers involved in the accident or the weather
conditions. Therefore, both accidents and creativity are properties of a system rather than individual
properties. Adhering to the systemic perspective, increasingly more researchers propose for empirical
validation explanatory models of creativity that include influence factors from both categories, thus
trying to offer efficient creativity education models.
Within this context and without giving up studying the impact of various internal factors on creative
behavior, scientists are constantly bringing into the equation external facilitating factors of creativity
and there can be observed in recent years a strong emphasis on the features of the formal education
environment. Alfonso Montuori  speaks of “creativity future” which lies in the transition from atomic
or individualistic vision on creativity towards a more complex and contextual perspective, as well as
about the “future creativity” which will frame the ethics of creativity, based on social supportive
interaction and favourable educational contexts.
Among all the pedagogical and social aspects with a significant impact upon the growth or decrease of
one’s creativity level exhibited within the school context, an important place is occupied by the
teachers’ beliefs and perceptions on creativity, because these are strongly linked to the teachers’
values and attitudes allowing them to positively or negatively assess the creative manifestations of the
pupils. Evidence in order to support this are brought by Kampylis, Berki and Saariluoma , which
conducted a study on 132 teachers from Greece and show that the teachers’ set of beliefs regarding
the concept of creativity affects their self-perception and is one of the key factors of facilitating or
inhibiting the creative potential in young schoolchildren. Eason, Giannangelo, Franceschini  made a
comparison between private school and public school teachers’ perception on creativity and found that
private school teachers tend to perceive themselves as well as their students as being more creative
then the public school teachers and their students – a perception that has absolutely no proven
ground. Andiliou and Murphy  offer a review of the differences between the views of researchers
and teachers upon creativity and propose several measures to reconcile these fundamentally different
points of view and to increase the information level of the teachers about the practical aspects of
stimulating the students’ creative potential within the school environment. Maria Fatima Morais and
Ivete Azevedo  argue that the social representations of teachers regarding the meanings of a
creative teacher and a creative student are key factors in influencing the way that creativity is fostered
in schools, because they trace the guidelines of assessing the others’ as well as the personal
Based on the evidence that the teacher plays the role of influence agent upon the students’ creativity
level and because professional motivation is the factor mainly guiding the professional behavior in any
given context, we inferred that professional motivation might also influence the manifestation of certain
2 Objective and hypothesis
The research was focused on highlighting the relationship between teachers’ professional motivation
and students’ creative attitudes. Based on the fact that teachers represent role models for the students
that they work with, we assumed that their self-actualization professional motivation will have a more
significant positive impact upon the level of the students’ creative attitudes than other kind of
The research was conducted on a number of 334 subjects, from which 132 teachers and 202
secondary school and high-school students with ages ranging from 11 to 19 years old and coming
from five different schools in Romania. The students were selected using a systematic probabilistic
method, while the teachers were selected in order to respect the condition of teaching the classes that
the students were selected from.
The age average of the students was 14 years and 10 months. The gender distribution was relatively
equal: 46.53% male students and 53.47% female students.
Teachers’ professional motivation was assessed with the Professional Motivation Questionnaire
proposed by R. Bazin and following Abraham Maslow’s motivation and self-actualization theory. The
questionnaire contains 35 professional needs that must be arranged in a hierarchy, according to their
importance for each person. Each need can be included in one of the five categories corresponding to
the five levels of Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of needs and each category includes a number of seven
different needs. The category that has the highest score compared to the others is considered to be
Students’ creative attitudes were measured with the Creative Attitude Scale developed by the
Romanian psychologist Paul Popescu-Neveanu and adapted by the Romanian researcher Mihaela
Roco from University of Bucharest in cooperation with the Belgian researcher J. M. Jaspard from
University of Louvain-La Neuve . The scale contains 50 items consisting in statements that the
subjects have to appreciate on a scale from 1 to 5 according to the extent to which they fit the
description of their own personality. There are 15 different creative attitudes measured, each one
having 3 items that correspond to it, plus a validity scale containing 5 items. The creative attitudes
measured by the Creative Attitude Scale are: energy, concentration, orientation towards novelty,
ideas’ arguing, independence, nonconformity, self-confidence, moral values, far-future orientation,
finalizing orientation, risk orientation, attraction for difficult problems, interest diversity, spiritual values
and practical values.
The statistical procedures used to test the research hypothesis were one-way Anova and Tukey post-
For each student whose creative attitudes were measured, four teachers were assessed in order to
identify their dominant professional motivation, namely three that spent the most time teaching the
students compared with the other teachers and one that was indicated by each student as being the
favourite teacher. The mean score of the four teachers for each category of needs was then used as a
nominal variable to classify students in five different groups, whose mean creative attitudes’ scores
were afterwards compared.
The statistical analysis of the creative attitudes scores obtained by the five groups of students
indicated significant mean differences in the cases of two creative atttitudes out of the 15 measured,
namely energy level (F = 2.789, sig. = .028) and interest diversity (F = 3.282, sig. = .012). A further
investigation using Tukey post-hoc analysis revealed the fact that interest diversity is significanly
higher in the case of the students taught by teachers with self-actualization motivation compared with
those taught by teachers with strong hedonistic (sig. = .013) and security professional motivation (sig.
= .042). Also, the results demonstrate a difference of energy level between students taught by
teachers with pleasure-centered professional motivation compared with those taught by security-
centered professional motivation (see table 1).
Table 1. Tukey post-hoc analysis between the five groups of students classified by the teachers’ main
Teachers’ professional motivation
security 2.0455 .6810 .022 .1878 3.9031
social integration 1.5398 .7309 .217 -.4539 3.5334
social recognition 1.5273 .6907 .175 -.3567 3.4113
self-actualization 1.1483 .7160 .495 -.8047 3.1013
social integration -.5057 .4504 .795 -1.7344 .7230
social recognition -.5182 .3818 .655 -1.5596 .5232
self-actualization -.8971 .4258 .217 -2.0587 .2644
social recognition -1.2500 .4649 1.000 -1.2807 1.2557social integration
self-actualization -.3914 .5017 .936 -1.7600 .9771
social recognition self-actualization -.3789 .4411 .912 -1.5822 .8243
security -1.0303 .6450 .499 -2.7897 .7291
social integration -1.4006 .6922 .255 -3.2888 .4877
social recognition -1.3636 .6542 .227 -3.1480 .4207
self-actualization -2.1555 .6781 .013 -4.0052 -.3058
social integration -.3703 .4266 .909 -1.5340 .7935
social recognition -.3333 .3616 .889 -1.3197 .6530
self-actualization -1.1252 .4033 .042 -2.2253 -2.5061
social recognition 3.693 .4403 1.000 -1.1642 1.2381social integration
self-actualization -.7549 .4752 .505 -2.0511 .5413
social recognition self-actualization -.7919 .4178 .320 -1.9315 .3478
Significant differences in terms of interest diversity have been proven between students working with
teachers that are professionaly motivated by self-actualization and students working with teachers
pleasure-motivated or security-motivated. These results could indicate that the self-actualization
motivated teachers are more likely then the other two categories to involve their students in various
extracurricular educational activities, thus managing to stimulate them to discover new hobbies and
diversify their area of interests.
Equally, it is possible that self-actualization is strictly linked to the amount and variety of activities and
projects one gets involved in. In the case of teachers this fact might trigger an “induction-like
contamination” of students, as often teachers represent role models for them and might draw with
itself an increased number and range of interests that they will manifest.
The other significant difference between groups that was flagged by the current research regards the
energy level. Thus, the students taught by hedonistic motivated teachers, mainly oriented towards
having good labor conditions, towards receiving as much time off or getting as much benefits as
possible seem to have a considerably higher energy level compared with the students interacting with
safety motivated teachers, mainly focused on maintaining the current job and on receiving continuous
support and protection from the management and other colleagues. The first type of teachers is
probably more likely to involve students in enjoyable activities, fact which draws with itself the
students’ enthusiasm and activism, thus increasing the level of energy they are willing to invest in any
given activity. In contrast, the teachers manifesting mainly security motivation may be reluctant to try
new and informal educational activities with their students because they fear losing their job, thus
triggering a higher monotony level that contribues to energy level decreasing.
These results illustrate the high impact that educators have on the pupils they work with and the fact
that creativity development programs should start with self-actualization stimulation programs for
 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). Implications of a Systems Perpective for the Study of Creativity. In
Sternberg, R. J. (ed.), Handbook of creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 245-
 Montuori, A. (2011). Beyond postnormal times: The future of creativity and the creativity of the
future. Futures: Postnormal Times (special issue) 43(2), pp. 221-227.
 Kampylis, P., Berki, E., Saariluo, P. (2009). In-service and prospective teachers’ conceptions of
creativity. Thinking Skills and Creativity 4(1), pp. 15-29.
 Eason, R., Giannangelo, D. M., Franceschini, L. A. (2009). A look at creativity in public and
private schools. Thinking Skills and Creativity 4(2), pp. 130-137.
 Andiliou, A., Murphy, P. K. (2010). Examining variations among researchers’ and teachers’
conceptualizations of creativity: A review and synthesis of contemporary research. Educational
Research Review 5(3), pp. 201-219.
 Morais, M. F., Azevedo, I. (2011). What is a Creative Teacher and What is a Creative Pupil?
Perceptions of Teachers. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences: International Conference
on Education and Educational Psychology 12, pp. 330-339.
 Roco, M. (2004). Creativitate şi inteligenţă emoţională. Iaşi: Editura Polirom.
Self Estimate Competency – From The Professional Stereotype Bias
To An Emerging Educational Need
Hainagiu Simona Magdalena
Teaching Career Training Department and Social Sciences,
POLITEHNICA University Bucharest (Romania)
Self monitoring capacity is a set of abilities that was in the center of the research interest for the last
25 years. Self determination of the human behavior is a demonstrated causality in many research
areas. Contexts like behavior modeling in psychotherapy, career choice and learning performance are
only some of the practical valences of this concept.The present paper analyses the self estimate
competency for a general professional trait - the verbal communication – a common prerequisite for
social work and computer science engineer professional profiles. Students from social work (n=32)
and computer science (n=34) faculties have participated in the verbal communication assessment.
The comparative analysis of the objective and subjective measures have revealed very poor self
estimate ability for both groups. The distortion is in perfect concordance with the professional
stereotype the students are submitted to by social models and common sense. Nevertheless, the
academic training is supposed to involve systematic development of the general and specific set of
skills required by the profession targeted. Preparing students for specific professions should
additionally consider the self monitoring skills systematic development. Moreover, this specific training
should be predictive for the professional performance of the future specialist and not biased by
Keywords: self-estimate competency, verbal communication, professional profiles, professional
1 Context and concepts of interest
There is a large body of research addressing the growing need of predictability of human performance
in various fields of human activity. Since the publication of the first papers in 1970, one of the most
resourceful fields of research in the human behaviour predictability is the metacognition. One of the
most astonishing results this field of research brought into the light was the importance of self-efficacy
concept. Self-efficacy beliefs influence the way people feel, think, are motivationally determined and
behave (1).This result significantly influenced the preoccupation for the accuracy of personal
assessment, as for taking action, is not enough for an individual to have the necessary abilities, but to
hold also the necessary beliefs that he/she can perform the expected behaviour. In this context, the
self estimate ability has gained its place among the most important mechanisms of behaviour
The self-efficacy concept has discovered a large field of application in the career area. The studies
conducted in the last 25 years have revealed connections with career decision, career choice and
vocational interests (2). Studies in the educational field have also revealed that metacognitive abilities
improve performance in learning tasks. Once developed, these abilities can be used outside the
educational context where they were born and their efficient use compensates for the lack of specific
The present paper is considering the predictive power of the self-estimate ability, in its translation from
the educational field where it was supposed to be developed and intensely practiced to the
professional field, assuming that preparing individuals for specific professions considers professional
identity development and also self monitoring skills. The verbal communication dimension was used
as a general ability that could be both subjectively and objectively measured and that is considered a
common prerequisite in the social worker and computer science engineer professional profiles. The
difference between the objective and subjective measures of the same cognitive ability describes the
predictive power of self-estimates capacity and indirectly, the quality and developmental degree of
metacognitive exercise in an educational context. Considering all these research data, our study
assumed that the performance at the Verbal Communication Test should be the result of an accurate
self-estimate of the verbal ability and that both categories of professionals should have developed
verbal communication ability in accord with the professional profile’s prerequisites.
The research started from the analysis of the professional profiles for the social worker and computer
sciences occupations. Both profiles request a set of cognitive abilities among which verbal
communication. For both profiles the prerequisite magnitude of this ability is identical: a score of 4
from a 5 point scale. Considering the interest in illustrating the importance of the self-estimate ability
exercise in the transition from the educational context to the professional field, we have invited to
participate in the study students in their last year of university studies in the social studies field and
engineering filed. The possibility to participate was announced by publishing an announcement on
their faculty website and also a consent document was filled in and signed by every participant.
Incentives were offered.
35 students in the social work studies and 36 in the computer sciences declared their interests in
participating in a group assessment session. All the participants were once again told about the
purpose of the research and all the clarifying questions were answered. All the participants filled in first
the self evaluation questionnaire and then the Verbal Communication Test of the BTPAC (Cognitive
Abilities Assessment Battery)™(4). In the end, 32 responses were valid and complete from the social
worker participants and 34 from the computer science participants.
All the students filled in a 5 items questionnaire measuring self estimate ability regarding their own
verbal communication skill. Five point Likert scale items measure the student’s ability to estimate their
own level of verbal communication skill, their level of knowledge about the specific professional profile
(social worker and computer science engineer), and their level of knowledge about the mention of the
verbal communication ability in the professional profile. BTPAC is a comprehensive assessment
battery that compares the ability profile of the candidate with the prerequisites of the professional
profile. Verbal Communication Test is one of the psychological assessment instruments constructed
with Romanian population standards and therefore, with demonstrated validity. This instrument
measures the ability to understand the words and to operate with their significance in finding antonyms
and synonyms. The entire assessment used written answers on standard response documents. The
scores at the Verbal Communication Test are interpreted considering the gender and age information.
The scores may be interpreted on a five point scale from 1=very poor ability to 5=very good ability.
The t test for independent measures was used to compare the performance at the Verbal
Communication Test for both groups. As shown in Fig.1, the mean score of the computer science
students group (3.88) was higher than the mean score of the same test for the social workers group
Fig.1 Verbal communication scores – comparison between groups
Considering the prerequisites from the professional profiles, where the verbal ability has a 4 score, it is
evident that the students in the computer science studies are more prepared to achieve the
professional abilities standard for the computer science engineer occupation. In the same time, the
students from social work studies have an ability insufficiently developed. The difference between the
two means is also significant. Further analysis considers the difference between the two groups in the
self-estimate ability as shown in fig.2.
Fig.2 Self estimate score – comparison between groups
The next important objective was to assess the predictive value of the self-estimate variable for the
verbal communication score. For a p=0.009 describing the strength of the correlation between the self-
estimate and verbal communication score, the predictive value of the monitoring ability is very poor. It
reveals that the higher the score at the verbal communication test, the poor the self estimates score.
In such context, the self-estimate measures are not a good predictor for the actual ability. Since there
is a significant difference between what the individual thinks about his/her own abilities and the actual
abilities, it seemed interesting to assess the magnitude of this difference for each of the two groups.
From this point of view, the magnitude of this difference is lower for the computer science students as
compared with the social workers group. As the results show, the computer science students have
better self estimates abilities than the social worker group, even if both of them have a low level of self
monitoring abilities overall.
The results′analysis reveals the fact that there is a significant difference between the ability and its
self-estimate. This difference is significantly of a greater magnitude in the case of social work students
than in the computer science group. A more comprehensive view upon this result could bring into the
attention the stereotype bias that can affect people self-estimates abilities. In this framework, it is well
known that the common beliefs describe the computer science specialists as poor communicators and
with difficulties in sustaining interpersonal communication. On the other side, the same common
beliefs consider the social sciences specialists as mastery communicators, due to the specific of their
work, consisting mainly in communicating with people and using all aspects of communication. The
score analysis for the verbal communication ability shows that the computer sciences students have
even better communication skills than their colleagues in social sciences and the both groups are
negatively influences by social stereotypes.
The revealing result of the study consist in describing the actual level of the monitoring abilities the
students have, in a context where the self-estimate ability should be an educational outcome in a
modern principals based education, where the student is the teacher’s partner in his/her own
education process and the metacognitive abilities are influenced by stereotypes and not assumed by
educational purposes. Previous studies have shown that students that use metacogntive learning
strategies as purposes identification, self-monitoring, self-assessment, self questioning have a better
academic performance comparing with those that ignores them (5).
In the same time, the prediction value of the metacognitive abilities is infirmed by these results. The
self-estimate ability is poorly developed in both groups and is not concordant with the actual level of
the verbal communication ability. This finding has a significant importance for the estimate of future
educational or professional performance of the students, in assessing the possibility of sustaining an
application for a scholarship or in being recruited by a large business company.
The validity of the described results, even if significant for the research in the field, may be still limited
by the sample size and the specific socio-cultural beliefs. It also raises the attention upon the gap
among the educational and professional field in our country. Since the education system is the main
provider of specialists on the labour market, it is mandatory that further efforts should be considered in
reshaping educational objectives in order to include in a more persuasive manner metacognitive
 Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived Self-Efficacy in Cognitive Development and
Functioning.Educational Psychologist, 28 (2), pp.117-148.
 Gainor, A.K. (2006). Twenty-five Years of Self-Eefficacy in Career Assessment and Practice.
Journal of Career Assessment, Vol.14, Nr.1, pp.161-178.
 Schraw, G., (2001), Promoting General Metacognitive Awareness, in “Metacognition in Learning
and Instruction”, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers, p.7.
 BTPAC (2007). Cognitrom Assessment Center.www.cognitrom.ro
 Gourgey, F.A., (2001), Metacognition in Basic SkillsI instruction, in “Metacognition in Learning
and Instruction”, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers,p.30.
Acquisition of skills and qualifications for professionals in health sector,
through an innovative virtual platform
University of Bucharest, 36-46 M. Kogălniceanu Bd., 050107 Bucharest, Romania
Despite increasing attention in addressing the problem of health professionals migration from one
country to another, on one hand, and from rural to urban areas, on the other hand, little has been done
in the last years. Especially rural communities in Romania have a series of needs concerning the
health management and personnel, and the recruitment and retention of professionals is a significant
concern. Among other factors comprising a suitable complex solution, medical personnel needs
training and counselling, combined with the development of procedures for validation of competences
acquired through non-formal training sessions. As a proposal that might be successful, a training
delivery model which can be easily updated every year, which is highly interactive, contains relevant
electronic study materials, pertains to the real needs of medical staff, and allows online assessment
and counselling of professionals is under development within an ongoing European project piloted in
Romania and Poland. The paper explores principles of virtual environments design suitable for adult
training, assessment and counselling, based on the project-based learning methodology. The
approach was implemented in medical staff training sessions, proving significant results, and mostly
meeting the expectations of beneficiaries and strengthening the feeling of belonging to a learning
community of practitioners in health sector.
Keywords: virtual learning, medical staff, continuous professional development.
The orientation towards attitudes and values associated with the profession or with the professional
training routes, the specificity of the content taken from the areas of knowledge, as well as the
features of the target group, the tempo of the instructional path and the context of the training course
define the conceptual framework in which the current curriculum is designed, implemented and
evaluated. As a leitmotif, the practicality, the applicability and the significance (cultural and/ or
professional) of the targeted contents and behaviours remain in the constant attention of education
policy makers at the national and institutional level or in a field of study. Also, the profile of potential
students and the set of skills of graduates generate, through a backwash effect, a series of
benchmarks for options regarding training methodology, assessment tools and strategies, and training
delivery method. Interactive methods are gradually gaining ground amid the general trends of use of
the constructivist and cognitivist approaches in education, to optimize learners’ competences. On the
other hand, approaches such as online or blended training rather prove as being the effects of a
specific request from the audience than the results of an opportunity analysis regarding the curriculum.
RENOVA project (A knowledge transfer and framework construction for nursing staff across Europe to
develop professional skills as managers) introduces such changes trying to deduct and to propose a
modern curriculum based on learning through projects, applied in a sensitive area: (re)training of a
category of medical staff.
The paper is based on the work of the project-team within the RENOVA project, financed by the
European Commission – Leonardo da Vinci, Transfer of Innovation – and developed from February
2011 until February 2013 by a consortium of institutions from Romania, UK, Poland, and France
(www.projectrenova.eu). The project prepares and deploys blended learning sessions organised in
Poland and Romania, based on the transfer of French experience and expertise. RENOVA is
supporting participants in the acquisition and the use of skills and qualifications for professional
development in the health management domain, through blended learning sessions. Validation of
learning acquisition is still subject for debates and further adjustments, both regarding the national
legislation integration and the specifics of management of continuous professional development in
2 CURRICULUM THEORY-BASED REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE TRAINING
eTraining has become a key process in the actual world, where learning is a must for both individual
and institutions, necessary to continuously adapt to the needs of organization and society.
Companies, NGOs and governmental institutions use eTraining as a powerful strategy to better
leverage their human resources capital and to create new skills, to increase performance,
competitivity, and efficiency. To be successful in the emerging eTraining space, however, education
programmes designers and practitioners should shift from designing relatively static distance training
solutions (such as class-room extended, course-based experiences, and reconfiguring existing
courses and content resources) to digital, interactive, reusable objects that can be used in different
virtual spaces, in multiple scenarios and instructional sequences.  The challenge calls for highly
personalized training solutions that help learners respond to their defined needs and allows them to
manage their own training experiences.
The first assumption in order to get improved training scenarios is that courses must be structured as
a sequence of activities, where information and knowledge comes in support of these activities, rather
than a sequence of contents with application. The training scenarios of continuous education
programmes for medical staff developed in RENOVA include sequences of digitized curriculum,
properly designed for a full alignment with the conventional education situations, on one hand, and
with the training programme goals, on the other hand. The curriculum components have to be
developed for the particularities of the virtual environment medium.
2.1 Five curriculum components
In designing the curriculum for the elearning sessions of RENOVA training path, there were
considered five interrelated components: educational aims, content, learning context, didactic
strategies and assessment. Each of these five components has specific aspects to be considered
when viewed through the lens of an efficient elearning experience:
Fig. 1. Five curriculum components and their requirements for the virtual environment
At questions of whom?, which facts?, which moment, approach or instrument we owe the efficiency of
teaching-learning process?, the education sciences literature reveals different factors which in certain
conditions increase the quality and the efficiency of instruction. These studies reveal some elements,
principles, stakes which has to be taken in account for an efficient instruction design. The principles
represent a sort of conditions, attributes or instructional standards (of the largest generality) for the
designing and evaluation of education& training activities from educational process viewpoint. A
consistent orientation toward learning objectives, a clear structure of content, a guided learning, clear
working tasks which allow trainee to check his acknowledgements, pre- and post- thematic organizers,
a varied difficulty background of exercises together with their solutions (complete, incomplete or
multiple), illustrations which contribute to content understanding and text attributes which facility
searching, organization and integration of knowledge are required, too.
From the specificity of presented elements, some important conclusions can be drawn, regarding to
efficient education characteristics: a) first, the instruction can be conceptualised in pedagogical
reference frame, its attributes can be creatively promoted/ uptaken in education& training practice; b)
second, an efficient instruction represents not only the result of trainer knowledge, but his art/ability to
use a strategy, method, procedure in proper moment and in a given situation ; c) third, the
instruction approach requests decision making from trainer, an objective situation analyse and turning
to account the professional competence and available resources; d) fourth, the educator has to
consider/ see the trainee as an autonomous person, with individual features with makes him different.
2.2 Project-based learning
The method of project based learning is a holistic, integrative approach within the education process,
that allows and fosters understanding of the phenomena, a long-term retention of knowledge, and
development of higher order thinking skills, through involvement of learners in concrete and significant
activities, most often with interdisciplinary extensions, in which they contribute, collaborate, engage. In
the learning situation, the participants call upon prior knowledge and similar experiences, taking
advantage of them in a new context, very close to reality. It is considered that the project-based
learning is (or should be) a constructivist approach to learning . Participants work on projects or
open problems. Learning is focused on the participant, the trainer acting as facilitator. Participants
usually work in groups, working on a longer period of time, searching multiple sources of information
and creating authentic products.
Project-based learning approach means organizing (online) training course around one or more
projects. Synthetically, the projects: (a) are complex tasks, which have as a starting point a
problematic situation or challenge, often circumscribed by a number of suggestions, rules or norms for
achievement; (b) give participants the opportunity to work relatively independently on long periods of
time; (c) end with concrete, realistic, applicable products or presentations.
2.3 Links to current trends in education and training
Project-based learning is linked to other theories, approaches and methods from the education
sciences domain, such as constructivism, inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, and
Constructivism is a theory based on how people learn. People build their own understanding and
knowledge of the world through experience and reflection. In training, participants actively learn by
doing, for example, experimenting and solving specific problems of the real world. They reflect on how
their understanding changes and discuss about it. Project-based learning, inquiry-based learning and
problem-based learning are rooted in constructivist theory.
Inquiry-based learning begins with gathering information and data. Through this process of
investigation, participants build their understanding on a "need or desire to know." Investigation
involves the search for appropriate solutions to questions or problems through specific skills/
competences. Although investigative skills are often used in projects-based learning, the inquiry-based
learning does not always implies the existence of a project.
Problem-based learning is another constructivist approach to learning. It is a training strategy used to
engage participants in authentic tasks, specific to the "real world". The trainer has a specific and
complex problem, and, by using the investigation, participants come up with a solution to the problem.
Although project-based learning and problem-based learning are similar, problem-based learning may
not include all the components of a project.
The premise of the interdisciplinary approach to the content of learning is to ensure unity of knowledge
and overcome the boundaries of the fields of study. Interdisciplinary perspective facilitates the shaping
of „a unified picture of reality" and the development of "integrative thinking". Interdisciplinary
correlations are logical links between fields of study, meaning that explaining a phenomenon requests
information studied from different disciplines and methods. They can be spontaneous or planned and
can be linked to the definition of concepts/ terms, the use of methods or tools in new contexts, the
transfer of values and the formation of attitudes through different disciplines.
3 LEARNING THROUGH PROJECTS IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS
Some experiences summarized in evaluation studies and reports reveal a simplistic use of training
systems based on web technologies (WBT - Web-based training) and the ignorance of recent
theoretical science education guidelines . Authors' suggestion and solution is to design integrated
WBT systems that equally support different actual learning paradigms. The argument is that the
purpose of these training programs delivered online or in the mixed system (blended learning) is to
improve training by replacing or supplementing traditional methods in an attempt to increase the
performance of participants measured at the end of the program. In this perspective, the approach of
the training project should go through two phases: transposition of existing training and learning
practices in a model for use in virtual space (electronic/ digital format), then finding those ways to
deliver content and interaction that are specific to the online environment and that bring added value
to the training sessions. The premise - which is perfectly valid and consistently mentioned among the
advantages of using new technologies in education and training - is that the new ICT should be a
catalyst for the innovative, interesting and effective training experience.
The project based learning method is increasingly used both in formal and non-formal learning
contexts, including specific types of training programs such as blended learning or exclusively online.
Especially in virtual learning environments, collaborative and extended work tasks, targeting the
solving of real problems are considered a learning experience that trainers are calling upon to give
significance and sustainability to the learning process, to give students the opportunity to explore
complex issues, to realize practical and reinforce theoretical concepts as well as the specific language
of that knowledge domain.
The transfer of the project based learning method and the constructivist approaches in virtual learning
settings seems an easy task, but experience is showing that very few education paths on the online
platforms have learned this lesson. It is a suitable and efficient strategy as far as the design of the
curriculum is combining the correct tools and innovative methods to allow the traditional use of the
facilities offered by the virtual environment and a thorough learning by focusing content and orientation
on learning outcomes. Research shows that well-known and tested training techniques must be further
kept and used and the applications with higher degree of novelty must intervene only if justified in
terms of teaching. Focusing on technology is both a temptation and a tendency both at the level of the
training conceivers and among participants, but balancing the excess/ abuse of technology starting
from the design phase of the training platform allows a balanced use and a focus on learning. 
The model developed in RENOVA project is proving to be an appropriate approach to tackle the issue
of continuous professional development of medical staff. The feedback received from the beneficiaries
about this blended learning approach to training was entirely positive, among the strengths they have
considered being the easy access to resources and activities, a well-structured content, the practicality
of themes and tools used in the proposed work tasks. Furthermore, the medical staff noted that there
is a need to bring information and training closer to them, and to strengthen the feeling of belonging to
a community of practitioners, the project succeeding in showing a way to meet the expectations of
 O'Sullivan, D. (2003). Online project based learning in innovation management. Education &
Training, 45(2), 110-110. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/237068559
 GAGE, N. L. (1978). The scientific basis of the art of teaching. New York: Teachers College
 THOMAS, JOHN W. A (2000). Review of Research on Project-Based Learning. Retrieved from
 HELIC, DENIS; et alii (2005) Enabling Project-Based Learning in WBT Systems. In:
International Journal on ELearning 4.4: 445-461.
 VELEA, SIMONA (2011). ICT in education: responsible use or a fashionable practice. In Vlada,
Marin (ed.). Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Virtual Learning. University of
Bucharest Publishing House. Bucharest.
Lifting People To Their Highest Potential
Germany - firstname.lastname@example.org
This article focuses on empowering people, lifting them to their highest potential by validating their
competencies and counseling them professionally in order for them to find their passion and
destination in their career and maybe also in their personal life. We also take a close look at the
motivational impact and motivational components of someone’s development and take into
consideration the importance of a person’s self-esteem and the effects of “lacking self-esteem” on
pursuing informal and formal learning and education. Furthermore, this article displays how
professional educators and counselors can have a life-changing impact on clients who consider either
getting or changing their career, needing guidance and assistance in entering the work force or
pursing an education– may it be globally or in their home country.
Keywords: empowering, validating competencies, professional counseling, motivation, self-esteem,
back to work, career development, formal and informal training
Whatever reason it might have been for somebody to make a wrong career or professional choice in
life or having dropped out of school – when it comes to education – it is never too late to pick yourself
up and put all your energy and efforts in working towards the vocation or professional development
you want to reach – education is timeless – and there is always a way and new chances coming up to
complete or start any formal or informal training. It is up to you to change you priorities and values you
have lived by all the time in order to get to a different level in your life because you are the one who is
living it - and nobody else. If you feel now or have felt for a while that lacking formal or informal
schooling is making you feel being “worth less” or has a negative effect on your self-esteem - I highly
suggest that you see a career counselor who will support and guide you in finding your personal
The effects of low self-esteem can cause a very negative impact on your personal life, your family and
friends. It also might make you feel worthless and paralyzed due to the fear of rejection and failure. A
lot of research has been done on the relationship between self-esteem and education level. Most
studies indicate that those people with a higher level of education also have a higher level of self-
esteem than those with little educational background. (1) Also, speaking out of experience being a
teacher and lecturer in many different educational institutions I recognized that people with low-self-
esteem tend to avoid facing their failures in their formal or informal education. Unfortunately, this
behavior restricts them from taking on new upcoming opportunities and tasks which could lead to
gaining new positive educational experiences and further development of formal or informal education.
Thus, enabling anybody to expand their horizon, make them gain self-esteem and open up new
professional avenues their never dreamt of.
However, what exactly is self-esteem? Self-esteem is a state of mind, the way you think and feel
about yourself. Having high feeling of self-worth means having feelings of confidence, worthiness and
positive regard for yourself. People with high self-respect feel good about themselves. They feel a
sense of belonging and security. They respect themselves and appreciate others. They tend to be
successful in life because they feel confident in taking on challenges and risking failure to achieve
what they want. They have more energy for positive pursuits because their energy is not wasted on
negative emotions, feelings of inferiority or working hard to take care of or please others at the
expense of their own self-care. (2) Knowing this, what can we do in order to boost our sense of self-
worth or positively change the thinking of how we feel about our level of self-esteem?
Talking from the experience I have had during my coaching career as a coach and counselor for a
juvenile law enforcement center, implementing and teaching a three month “competency training
program” I recognized that some juveniles (age group 16 – 21 years young) started to change their
previous negative attitude towards education, school, self-discipline, formal and informal learning and
were more open to facing their pitfalls and failures after some sessions working on their self-esteem,
making them feel better or good about themselves by accomplishing their given tasks and having
them realize that even by taking baby-steps in a positive personal development towards formal or
informal training will lead to having accomplished a big step at the end increasing and strengthen their
self-respect and encouraging them to take the next hurdle in life or education. By facing the mistakes
from the past and resolving the issues and problems developed from wrong decisions and turns in life
the doors will open for people who are willing to develop in any direction they would love to and also
reveals a path to go back to work – no matter where they are standing at right now at this point of
time. Thus, not only positively influencing these young people to continue working and educating
themselves, but also giving myself a motivation boost implementing and promoting the competence
So – how can we as counselors, educators or coaches guide and direct clients in finding their career
destination, personal and professional development and support unemployed who desperately want
and need to be part of the work force again no matter of age or personal circumstances? Are we even
able to inspire them in order to get them started or does it have to be the person´s own intrinsic
motivation which will be the trigger in increasing their energy in order for them to move on, stay
focused on their goals and reaching them. Also, what exactly is the meaning of motivation? It is being
defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviours. It involves the
biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate behaviour. (3) Knowing these facts, we
as coaches or counsellors are also challenged to get people activated in achieving their professional
goals by validating their formal and informal education using methods displaying accumulated
knowledge and skills - at work and in their private life – may it be in their home country or wherever
they settled or immigrated to.
But, why seeking a career counselor at all? Well, active career planning gives you a road map for
pursuing your desired career by guiding you through gaining personal insight, getting a reality check
and charting a career path. You learn about what prompts you to achieve your best, explore viable
career options, research realistic opportunities and plan for a successful job search or transition. (4)
Strategies and techniques of professional career counselors are modified to the specific needs of the
person seeking help such as conducting individual and group counseling sessions to help clarify
life/career goals, listen carefully to the circumstances that the individual brings to his or her career and
life so as to mould the activities to the needs of that individual, utilize career planning systems and
occupational information systems and provide opportunities for improving individual decision-making
skills. (5) And, no matter if you are a teenager, a young adult or a professional, there is always room to
improve skills which might be validated through different means.
Also, another important aspect has to be considered and taken a closer look at, which accredited
methods or institutional scopes are accessible in order to validate these capabilities in order to be able
to transfer them into any established educational system and give credit for the acquired knowledge
and skills – if possible at all. The development of know how takes place in many different
environments and in various contexts. The workplace is an extremely important learning area, where
individuals develop their knowledge through hands-on experience. Through the validation of
competencies acquired in the workplace, employees and employers can gain a better insight into the
proficiencies within the company thus, helping to focus on further developments.(6) Unfortunately, the
validation of competencies is still an unsolved issue causing the person concerned in a very
Speaking from own experience as a coach for career and jobs seeking in Germany, I have had quite a
few foreign very well-educated academic professionals who immigrated for different reasons, ready to
start a new life and who were willing to step into any upcoming challenges and also on-the job and
skilled trained people with informal job education but who had worked in the same position with the
same company for over twenty years – these people had to face problems in getting their formal
and/or informal education accredited respectively validated by a federal institution. One of my clients
holding a university degree (pharmacist) and with many years of experience in his job his home
country could not get his transcripts accredited. It also did not help any that he was willing to complete
a 3 – 6 months internship at a pharmacy in order to get him back into his professional field. He ended
up being a taxi driver for a few years and them becoming unemployed putting him into a deep
depression because he had to take care of a family with three children.
Another good example of not getting any informal education accredited was my one client who was a
house painter for a very large contracting business. Having been a loyal worker for this company he
became unemployed due to the corporation´s bankruptcy also leaving him without any letter of
recommendation or reference letter. The fact that he could not get any kind of validation for his
informal education made him feel worthless. Needless to say that it took me a lot of energy, coaching
and positive motivation in order to make these two men not giving up in believing in themselves. If
there had been a possibility to accredit or validate their formal or informal education – doors would
have opened up for them making them feel being a valuable asset – for themselves, their family and
the work force – especially in a job field they have had a lot of knowledge and professional
Lifting people to their highest potential – do we even know what you highest potential is? There are
many reasons why we feel and know as a fact that we have not reached our highest potential. Before
any coach or counselor can help us we must help and work on ourselves by taking some time to think
about our situation and starting to think positive – even if your present situation is more or less
dragging you down and taking every little bit of positive energy out of you. You can make the worst out
of a condition or turn it around and find some optimistic and upbeat puzzle pieces in everything that is
happening to you. Also, if you feel, that you have not reached your highest potential – you might be
blocking off achieving anything what you are capable of. There are simple solutions for removing
those negative blocks which you might be aware of or even not since they exist on your subconscious
Positive thinking, controlling your moods and an optimistic, encouraging way of thinking can turn your
world around and move you forward to the direction in your life you are longing to be. It is quite a task
for people to constantly think positively and see a challenge in every obstacle that comes along, but it
does not cost anything but a little bit of your time to evaluate your present state of mind and to work on
a change of direction in your life. And, one extreme key point – think positive about yourself despite
what is going on in your life or no matter what other people might say about you but, also consider
critiques as a constrictive was to reflect on yourself. Working on yourself and consulting a coach or a
consultant in order to get back into the work force or any other formal or informal education, training or
culture are bound to be successful in some way.
And, not to forget – the importance of goal setting for yourself. Even if you know and feel that you
need to chance your present life situation or the conditions you are living in without setting goals for
yourself you will end up nowhere. Starting out with little steps daily and completing any task which you
determine for yourself will increase your motivation, self-esteem and will intensify your power and
energy within to pursue the next level of your personal and professional development and path. In all
stages of our lives, it is important to have something to aim for, something that keeps us going.
Whoever we are and from whatever walk of life we come from, we need something to work towards.
When you have reached the end of a particular focus in your life and have either achieved your goal or
failed, it is imperative to replace it with another challenge. If not you are left with a void. (7)
Project: In my “Milestones” TV project (picture 1 & 2), which I started for young adults who dropped
out of school and had not finished any formal school or vocational education, the individuals
volunteered to attend regular education sessions and also participated at regular fitness work outs in
order to get them physically and mentally active again. During the group session the individuals
practiced goal setting, focusing on those and created their individual schedule for reaching those
goals. They also identified their “failures” and faced their present situation resulting from those so
called “failures”. Not only that the whole group benefitted from cohering during project, their motivation
level and self-esteem increased. Furthermore, the lack of formal education was being supplemented
by discovering and promoting each individual´s informal competencies.
Although, some participants had a few set back in the beginning most of them completed their formal
education now and started a professional career. Now, whether they had started to get back on track
without a coach – we do not know that but, it definitely supported all of them in trusting in themselves,
strengthened their self-esteem and have a more positive and future-oriented outlook on life. And, one
of the most positive aspects is that some of them still meet together with me sharing their development
and positive life-changing impacts.
 Heather M. Hoppe, The Effects of Self-Esteem on Education, Missouri Western State College,
December 5, 1995
 www.soar.ie, Developing Self Esteem And A Positive Attitude, SOAR Program 2003, p.2
 About.com Psychology, What is motivation?, Kendra Cherry, 2012
 Markell Steele, Fast track your career, Owner of Futures in Motion Inc. 2007
 National Career Development Association (NCDA), Oklahoma, 2009
 NICE, Validating competencies in the workplace, 2007, p.7
 Mark Woods, Personal Best, How to achieve your full potential, 2011, 0.65
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fail. (Nelson Mandela)
Recognition of youth Social media competences –
a necessity of the current society
West University of Timisoara (Romania)
Faculty of Political Sciences, Philosophy and Communicational Sciences
Department of Philosophy and Communicational Sciences
Nowadays, technological society youth (so called Millenialls, or Generation Y) are a privileged
category of people. According to the literature and related statistics, they were born in this digital
society and, therefore, they are, by nature, instinctively familiar with new social media tools. With zero
efforts, they can handle multiple digital actions, like: social networking activities, chatting, watching
movies, reading important news for them, researching etc. This kind of online behavior will be
analyzed in this paper through online instruments (online questionnaires).
Keywords: social media, competences, digital skills, millennials, recognition
Nowadays technological society is based on the increasing usage of Internet and its related
technologies. From searching information we need for some purposes, to doing work related to
online activities or even consume some online hours for different entertainment activities, we are
spending more and more online hours each year.
Therefore, the internet has become a place that many people depend on to get through their daily
lives. Most people have to get on the Internet every day for one reason or another.
More than that, with the advancement of social media related tools like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter,
blogs, Flickr, Instagram etc., anyone with an Internet connection now has the ability to create a
dynamic Web presence, update it from wherever they are, whenever they want, and share their
content instantly with friends, colleagues, family and other followers around the world.
Among the online users, youth and the young generation above 35 years old are the heaviest users in
almost any statistics. They were born in this digital society and, therefore, they are by nature
instinctively familiar with such kind of new social media tools. With zero efforts, they can handle
multiple digital actions, like: social networking activities, chatting, watching movies, reading important
news for them, researching etc. But are they using them for the right purposes or only for reasons that
are not related to their learning, working or professional development activities? This kind of online
behavior will be analyzed in the following sections; in this respect there were designed and distributed
online instruments (online questionnaires).
2. Social media competence – what is it?
Even trying to define social media is very difficult as in the literature there are plenty of definitions, but
none commonly agreed by the international experts. Anyway, under the social media umbrella
concept, we can include applications, tools and services that allow any Internet user to create and
publish content. Moreover, the “social” in the social media concept comes in as individuals could find
others with similar interests and interact with them through different communication channels
(especially in online communities) for sharing information and knowledge, for collaboration, for
offering support and not least, for networking.
With the continuously advancement of social media tools, applications and services (the most known
globally are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube LinkedIn, blogs etc.), which are easy to reach and to use
and, very important, they are even affordable (most of them include even a free generously
component), more and more individuals and organizations are trying to cope with their facilities and
functionalities. Consequently, it is difficult more than ever to acquire and to maintain updated the
necessary skills and knowledge related to a proper use of those amazing social media applications.
Therefore, it is also very important to have a pro attitude for maintaining the motivation and interest for
observing, understanding and using in a critical and reflective way those social media applications.
If we are referring to the digital competence framework of what Ferrari (2012) has proposed, which
presents digital competence as a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes needed today in order to be
functional in a digital environment, by transposition, the social media competence is related as well as
to the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed today in order to be functional in the social media
ecosystem of application, tools and services.
3. The design of the analysis
The investigation was aimed to see the level of social media competences among students enrolled in
the autumn 2012 academic year.
Besides the overall investigation of the social media competency, students were asked to fill in
different other answers in order to evaluate their skills and attitudes towards the use of different social
media tools, technologies and services.
The study, conducted through an online questionnaire designed by the author, a lecturer from the
West University from Timisoara, was run at the beginning of November 2012.
The target group consisted out of students enrolled in the first year of their academic studies. In total,
93 students filled in the questionnaire, meaning 67, 88% from the total number of students enrolled on
the website of the learning platform associated with the discipline the author is teaching to the above
The questionnaire was not designed to evaluate a single faculty (Faculty of Political Sciences,
Philosophy and Communicational Sciences, Department of Philosophy and Communicational
Sciences) from the above mentioned university, but even for the students from the Faculty of
Sociology and Psychology as both of them are part of the applied social sciences area of
specialization. But as the number of respondents from the last mentioned faculty was not enough in
order to be included in the study, this aspect can be considered as a limit of this study.
Using the Google Form as the survey application, the questionnaire was distributed by the author
through emails and also it was embedded into the website of the learning platform. At the beginning of
the study and after some introductory questions, participants were asked to indicate their appreciation
regarding how they are evaluating themselves regarding the level of social media competences.
After that, the following questions were designed in order to cover other needs related to social media
tools, like those defined by Ferrari (2012) for analyzing the digital competence:
• Information management – related to identifying, locating, accessing, retrieving, storing and
• Collaboration – link with others, participate in online networks and communities, interact
• Communication and sharing – communicate through online tools, taking into account privacy,
safety and netiquette
• Creation of content and knowledge – integrate and re-elaborate previous knowledge and
content, construct new knowledge
• Ethics and responsibility – behave in an ethical and responsible way, aware of legal frames
• Evaluation and problem solving – identify digital needs, solve problems through digital means,
assess the information retrieved
• Technical operations – use technology and media, perform tasks through digital tools.
In the end, other questions were designed in order to outline the profile of the respondents and to
receive their comments and suggestions.
The complete questionnaire can be viewed online in Romanian at:
4. Data analysis
At the beginning of the survey, the students were asked how many hours they are spending online
weekly. At this question the responses were not surprising, mostly falling on existing statistics. Thus,
more than 90% of the respondents said they are spending more than one hour per day, but the
majority of the answers fluctuate among 3 and 5 hours daily. They are using in this respect multiple
devices: their personal computers (97% of them), their mobiles (53%) or their tablets (6%), but there
are still 49% who are using public computers or computers from work and/or school.
Regarding the question which has the main reason to see if the students are aware of what social media
is (they could choose from different options, as well as they could offer a different answer), most of them
(40%) choose the answer “social media is a fantastic way of being in contact with people with whom I
am already in contact”, whilst 30% said “social media is something they still need to learn about it”. Only
about 24% said they are not so familiar with the concept and they cannot define it.
Looking at the answers to the questions regarding how they appreciate their own social media
competences, the students were so confident with their skills, approximately 70% of them say they
have very good skills (12%), good skills (24%) and enough skills for what they need (33%). Only 9%
of them considered their skills should be updated, whilst 13% of them couldn’t appreciate themselves.
This question and its related answers is very important as the following two grid questions (with 60
items) were designed in order to see if students are familiar with social media services, tools and
As it was expected, even students were too confident with their answers for the above mentioned
question, their answers didn’t demonstrate such optimistic assessments.
For example, there are 5 items related to Twitter/microblogging during this two extended grid
questions, which are presented bellow in the order they are appearing in the questions (with other
items intercalated among them):
• Please mark social media related activities you are using/you used (tweeting), for this item
they could choose even the frequency of their usage (never, very rarely in the past, not
anymore, one time per week or even rarely, daily, few times per day)
• Please mark social media related activities you are using/you used (maintaining a Twitter
account (or another microblogging account) for a brand/organization/institution), having to
choose even the frequency of their usage (never, very rarely in the past, not anymore, one
time per week or even rarely, daily, few times per day)
• Please mark social media related activities you are using/you used (Twitter meme), having to
choose even the frequency of their usage (never, very rarely in the past, not anymore, one
time per week or even rarely, daily, few times per day)
• Please mark the applications/terms with which you are familiar (microblogging), having to
choose among those possible answers:
o I never heard, I’m not familiar,
o I heard but I’m not using
o I used, now I’m not interested anymore
o I use, but not so frequently
o I am using quite frequently
• Please mark the applications/terms with which you are familiar (@, DM, RT), having to
choose among those possible answers:
o I never heard, I’m not familiar,
o I heard but I’m not using
o I used, now I’m not interested anymore
o I use, but not so frequently
o I am using quite frequently
25% of the respondents were saying they have very good social media competences and more than
that, they are using Twitter daily, have inconsistence in their answers. 12,5% of them said they never
heard/they are not familiar with the concepts/terms @, DM, RT and also 12,5% of them said they
never heard about Twitter meme. More important, the same persons don’t know Twitter is part of the
Another example comes from the following answers of those people that have very good social media
competences, which means 13% of the total respondents:
• 50% of them don’t know the concept of curation
• 25% of them don’t know/don’t care about their social reputation
• 25% of them don’t use application for managing and optimizing their time spent online
• 50% of them are not familiar with the term/concept or application of social media ethics,
neither with social media policies.
In addition to that, taking into consideration the research associated with social media, among the
people that have very good social media competences, we gathered he following answers:
• 25% of them don’t know about Google Scholar
• 25% of them don’t know/use online databases like Ebsco, Proquest, ScienceDirect, Sage etc.
Therefore, taking into consideration only the above examples/answers of those people that said they
have very good social media competences, it could be seen that their appreciation were by far more
too optimistic and perhaps, subjective. On the one hand, this does not mean they aren’t able to
assess themselves. Consequently, one of the limits of the study is the fact that students couldn’t
evaluate themselves and a more detailed questionnaire or analysis (or perhaps with some guidance
before) is necessary in order to assess the students’ social media competence.
On the other hand, taking into consideration those aspects, perhaps if at the end of the questionnaire
the question regarding self assessment of social media competence would again be addressed, their
answers could be different than the previous ones.
Moreover, as it could be seen in even other studies (i.e. Ala-Mutka, 2011), it is still difficult to assess
such new skills and their related competences. Furthermore, such kind of surveys should be
addressed, perhaps even by combining different approaches.
As 84% of the respondents are among the so called digital native generation (or millennials,
generation Y etc.), this study joins those studies and analysis (i.e. OECD 2011), (Wiersma, 2009))
which underline the fact that digital natives are not so digital savvy and more aspects should be
analyzed much more in depth.
If we are taking into consideration the four stages of the social media competences from the business
model, by adapting (Fig.1) we will have:
Fig. 1 The Four Stages of Social Media Competences
Source: adaptation from http://brasscycle.com/blog/bid/126160/Social-Media-and-the-Four-Stages-of-Competence
Unconscious Competent Unconscious Incompetent
Conscious Competent Conscious Incompetent
• Stage One – Unconscious Incompetence – they don’t know that they don’t know. At this
stage, students are not aware of the tools and the platforms (or they refuse to learn about
them) and they are also not aware of the benefits provided by such. Moreover, it's a case of
not understanding how social media can benefit their professional life and learning purposes,
possibly coupled with a lack of motivation and interest to test them.
• Stage two - Conscious Incompetence – they know they don’t know. In this stage, students
recognize the importance of social media tools, applications and services for different
purposes. They are also able to understand the prevalence of social media globally, knowing
also other users are using much more successfully and productively. People who are in this
stage are doing efforts in order to catch their classmates or other friends, being in a
continuously trial and error process. Finding the proper motivation but also the satisfaction of
discovering new things and skills will consequently propel toward a superior social media
• Stage Three – Conscious Competences – they know that they know. At this stage, there's
lots of activity, there's a purpose behind the process, there's a ton of learning and the efforts
are guided by the infinite loop of measurement and refinement. Being social is still a large
amount of conscious effort and it may not yet manifest in a completely natural way - but it's
closer than ever (Mecelaney, 2012).
• Stage Four – Unconscious Competences – they know but they don’t consciously think
about it. Probably this is the stage toward everyone wants to get, when they are using social
media (daily) for all their needs and purposes very well. They are conscious about the rapid
technological changes of social media tools and applications, but with a social media culture
oriented toward to be aware of the updated and new functionalities will be an important step
forward, which will continue in time with the acquiring of the new skills and competences.
Therefore, taking into account this stages and also the previous mentioned answers, it could be seen
that most of the students are somewhere between stage 1 and 2. As a positive aspect, there are also
some students between Stage 2 and 3.
Obviously, many students taught they are further along in the stages, based on their presence in a
variety of social media platforms (especially Facebook and Youtube), but even so, this aspect is not
enough. As mentioned above, 80% of the respondents don’t know/care enough about their online
reputation and the percent of people who don’t know/care enough about using application for time
management or curation, their social media competences are clearly, overestimated.
5. Short conclusions
Surveying the perception of the students around their social media competence is a way to address
quality / quantity balance of their time spent online. The results of the study allow us (teachers) to
understand their perceptions and, based on them, to focus our efforts for further improvements.
Despite the small sample size and the study’s limits, as it was presented, the study revealed several
interesting conclusions. First, it is very difficult for them to assess themselves. They need more
concrete items to know what to understand and evaluate. As some of them pointed out, this study
should be continued by others, with different but more detailed focuses.
Second, the results are in line with the ones of the literature surveyed, in the way that so called digital
generation is not so digital oriented and focused as we thought. They have very good technical skills,
but this aspect is not enough exploited.
This is an exploratory study of how students assess their social media competence. Further research
is needed to expand the scope of this paper and to see if our results can be generalized to other
university settings. In the future, the goal is to refine the survey, increase participation, and administer
the survey as part of an ongoing quality assurance measure of the teaching process. More into depth
questioning is needed.
1. Ala-Mutka, K. (2011). Mapping Digital Competence: Towards a Conceptual Understanding.
Seville: JRC-IPTS. Retrieved from http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=4699
2. Ferrari, A. (2012). Digital Competence in Practice : An Analysis of Frameworks. Seville: JRC-
IPTS. Retrieved from http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC68116.pdf
3. OECD. (2010). PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do. Students performance in
reading, mathematics and science. (Vol. 1). Paris: OECD.
4. Perez S. (2010). So-Called 'Digital Natives' Not Media Savvy, New Study Shows -
NYTimes.com, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2010/07/29/29
5. Wiersma, W. (2009). Digital Natives : Mythical tribe , or savvy youth of nowadays ?, retrieved
Competences of career counsellor for preparing
the validation of competences
Prof. PhD. Simona Sava2
Romanian Institute for Adult Education (ROMANIA)
West University of Timisoara, Director of the Romanian Institute for Adult Education (ROMANIA)
The range of services a career counsellor is expected to provide in a qualitative way is extending and
becoming more complex, as these services are to be adapted to the individualised needs, to take into
account and to valorise the whole educational, working and life experience or the people, helping them
into their career development and more and more job transitions along it. The identification and
valuation of the existing competencies the individuals have acquired during their life, in formal, non-
formal or informal learning contexts, the tacit or documented real competencies are to be highlight and
compared against occupational standards and market needs, and the counsellors are the ones
matching the individuals’ real competencies with the market needs, in order to facilitate the job
transitions, the easier and quicker (re)integration into the labour market. Therefore, to the “classic” job
and related competency profile of the career counsellor, the “overlapping” with the competency profile
of an assessor of competencies is becoming bigger and the career counsellor is expected to be
familiarised with the process of validation of competencies, and to be able to foster at least its
preliminary/first phase, to be able to guide the candidate to a job for such solution of quicker
certification of its competencies, for getting more chances to a better job and quicker employment. In
the “Back to work” project we tried to identify the suitable competencies the career counsellor should
have in this respect, and we have checked and validated them together with experienced career
counsellor from Romania, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Denmark and UK. They will be presented in
the paper, as a possible frame of competencies that were developed in addition to other frameworks
of competencies and referential of competency profile a career counsellor should have (with the
possibility therefore to identify, document, evaluate and get recognised and validated the
competencies they have been acquired themselves into different learning contexts along their careers)
Keywords: career counselling, validation of competences, Back to Work, skills, certification.
The world of work, the labour market needs and job profiles have changed dramatically in last three
decades. There is less employment stability, more economic uncertainty, and more continuous
change, due to factors like globalization, downsizing, and advancing technology. These changes in the
world of work hold implications for the services of career counseling, as they are the support services
helping the individuals to get into employment, to match their real competencies with the needs of the
labour market, into their attempt to have an easier and quicker transition from one job to another
(Buchholz et all 2009, Felissa et all 2011).
Further, the labor force is becoming increasingly diverse, with women and migrants entering the work
place in increasing numbers. Our notion of career has changed as well. People are no longer staying
with the same company, or even continuing along the same career path, throughout their working
lives. Rather, the emphasis is now on self-management and continuous skill development (Baruch
2004, McDonald et all, 2005, Briscoe et all, 2006), concepts like adaptability (Savickas, 1997), meta-
competencies (Presti, 2009), career management skills and lifelong learning etc. are coming to the
fore (Vuorinen and Watts, eds., 2012).
Major challenges any system of career counselling should respond to are: the change in emphasis in
the provision of services from decision making or professional school to develop individual ability to
manage their own career, also finding inexpensive ways to broaden the beneficiaries’ access to
counselling services system which must align with these directions is characterized by: transparency,
flexibility and innovation in offer services in order to meet different needs and situations of the target
groups (Jigau, 2007, Felissa et all 2011). Also, the paradigm of lifelong learning, the increased
transitions on the labour market along career ask for lifelong guidance, the career guidance becoming
an essential component of the modern education and training systems, meant to support individuals
into a personalized way in the management of their careers, making them aware of learning
opportunities that lead to the development of new skills much needed on the labour market, or on
identifying and highlighting their existing real competencies (Vuorinen and Watts, eds., 2012).
Career counseling moves beyond providing client-relevant information, to broader issues, such as:
career development, work adjustment, work dysfunction, and integration of life roles with other life
roles that may or may not be directly related to work, personalized career quidance etc. (Chen 2001,
LaRoche/ Botnariuc et all, 2006, Cedefop 2009, Amundson 2009, Andronic 2011). These
developments go hand in hand with the need for adapted career guidance services to the needs,
interests, capabilities of individuals.
The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is gaining ground as a method for the assessment and
evaluation of a person’s knowledge and skills (Andersson and Harris, 2006, Berglund 2012, Sava
2012), as a philosophy, process and method in the same time supporting people to identify, highlight,
evaluate (against predefined standards), get recognized and validated, and possibly certified the real
existing competencies. Since its entry into European policy debates, the main issue and challenge for
RPL has been the precise role it can play and the extent to which it can address the twin goals of
increasing educational levels and employment rates among European citizens (apud Bjørnavold,
Colardyn, in Cedefop 2009b, Council or Europe 2012). The main idea in this regard seems to be that
RPL is being used among unemployed people to either direct their career paths, shorten time spent in
education or ease transition to new employment. In all cases, the strength of RPL is that unaccredited
knowledge and skills can be brought into the open for everyone to see and, in a sense, come into use.
The purpose of RPL has been the subject of longstanding debate. In formative approaches the
purpose is to use RPL as an aid to adjusting, informing and leading the learning process, whereas
summative approaches are more focused on cumulating the content and the value of the knowledge
and skills that are being assessed (Crasovan/ Sava, 2012, Sava 2012, Council of Europe 2012).
On the other hand, visible and officially documented knowledge and skills, whether via formal
education or RPL, can be important cornerstones not only in terms of individuals benefits, but also by
enhancing the of the efficiency of the organisation (Roslyn, 2012, Andersson,2012, Werquin 2010).
This can be seen as presenting two unsolvable dilemmas – for employers who want competence to be
visible and controlled and for employees who develop valuable knowledge and skills, which, without
acknowledgement, remains contextually trapped within the organization.
Thus, validation of non-formal and informal learning experiences has many benefits for:
– Individuals: enhanced employability, enhanced career prospects, increased wages, second chances
for school dropouts, improved access to formal education and training, higher motivation to learn and
– The economy: a better skilled population, a better skills match on the labour market, transferability of
skills between companies and sectors and more mobility on the European labour market, all of which
contribute to a more competitive European economy and higher economic growth;
– The society at large: a better qualified population and workforce, a better access to further learning
for disadvantaged groups and a more inclusive labour market (Werquin 2010, Council of Europe 2012)
Summing up the different approaches to VPL and the different goals for which it is used, (Chen 2001,
Cedefop 2009b, Crasovan/Sava 2012) one can differentiate between:
1. giving to somebody an educational qualification. In this case the validation of not formal learning is
usually used to shorten or to skip the period of formal study and assessment and validation are
focused on accreditation of prior learning. As educational qualifications are usually granted to whom
can demonstrate a specific level of knowledge and the mastery of a set of skills mostly of cognitive
nature (reading, understanding texts, writing texts, remembering, synthesizing, evaluating, producing
original ideas and concepts, calculating, etc.), when the aim of the procedure to give somebody an
educational qualification (or to shorten the learning path to qualification and passing thought
educational programs) assessment measures these aspects.
2. recognizing that a worker is able to carry out specific job tasks up to a predetermined standard. In
this case assessment and validation should cover all types of learning and their outcomes irrespective
the knowledge and skills have been acquired in formal, not formal or informal way. But as knowledge
is only a prerequisite of good performance, and performance is what matters here, the assessment of
knowledge can be skipped in favor of direct assessment of performance (Evanghelista, 2011).
The new emphasis on VPL is to be transferred into the everyday practice, to be done in a qualitative
way; therefore professionals to carried it out are to be trained. It is clear that VPL should become an
integrative part of the career guidance, and the career counselors should be aware of it, for fostering a
quicker and adapted transition into employment to the individuals’ competencies and job/ qualification
2 Between counselling and validation of competences. The perspective of
Back to Work project
A career counselor manages processes that help clients explore issues of concern, develop new
perspectives, create action plans related to these new perspectives, and explore willingness to take on
new roles. Career counsellors need to be aware of a range of information and services extending
beyond the immediate career concerns of the client. Career counsellors typically deal with a greater
variety of people, are open-minded about client future directions, and are willing to challenge old
beliefs and take risks (Amundson, 2009).
There is a strong conviction among national experts that counselling individuals and providing
information, advice and guidance is crucial to validation success. Starting with the process of reaching
out to engage potential candidates for validation, then preparing the candidate for assessment, the
role continues by guiding the candidate after the assessment decision (Cedefop 2009b).
Part of the role of the counsellor is often to work with the candidate to appraise the breadth and depth
of evidence of learning in relation to assessment criteria/standards. Some would refer to this as
competence mapping. To carry out this process the counsellor has to have a clear understanding of
the (occupational) standards involved. The counsellor also has to prepare candidates for the
assessment process, informing them of procedures, how to present evidence of learning, respond to
questions, expectations in terms of behaviour, possible outcomes and so on. This also requires the
counsellor to have a thorough knowledge of the assessment process.
The distinctive part of the counsellors’ role is their independence from the actual assessment process
for an individual and their ability to offer impartial but useful advice.
To fulfil this role counsellors should have:
• a thorough knowledge of the education system (orientation);
• a thorough knowledge of the validation process (information);
• an understanding of the labour market (expected standards and post assessment advice);
• a list of contacts (experts) to answer specific technical questions (social partners and other sector
experts) (Amundson, 2009, Cedefop 2009).
A career counsellor is a person who helps people to choose an occupation, a training course, or a
career in accordance with the aptitudes, potential, needs, with the job opportunities, offering
personalized guidance to individuals who seek help or advice concerning study or career progression
and change. The main role of a counsellor is to analyse the career data of a client and based on that
to help the client to identify possible areas of intervention and progression. A career counsellor can
help the client to:
- Recognise knowledge, educational skills, abilities and competences;
- Establish a personal plan of action and development;
- Analyse the further education options;
- Find a job, or to change a job;
- Develop a career portfolio;
- Make a plan for career development.
The profile of people who need for help and guidance are very heterogeneous: people have different
backgrounds, different working experiences, different needs, and different life stories. They often need
help and guidance in order to navigate on the new labour market. Each person is unique and has a
unique situation, unique possibilities and abilities and it is not possible to find the same solution
available for everyone. All life experiences and competences acquired during their lifetime in formal,
nonformal or informal context should be recognized and valorized, in order to raise self-esteem and to
widen the opportunities of the individual to gain formal qualifications through shortening the career
progression or a training course and obtaining a job. Counsellors have the complex task of assisting
people looking for a job in finding their way into the labour market, looking for a job that might fit their
competencies and interests, to their life and learning experiences, and plans, building up a more
sustainable career plan.
Validation of prior learning is based both on a formative and a summative approach, during the
process, the client and the assessor passing through the next stages: informing and counselling,
elaborating the portfolio, assessing the competences, validation of the competences and certification.
That’s why we consider the career counselling and validation of prior learning two complementary
processes, not two independent ones. The career counsellor becomes an advisor, a tutor in planning
the validation process and study route process. He is the first person who identifies validation as a tool
to reach the educational and working life goals.
Counselling is the first step in the validation process and as a development in time; the order could be
1. counselling (revealing the experiences and competences, establishing the future plan)
2. assessing/validation the prior learning (knowledge and competences that people developed during
their life time in different context)
3. career counseling (for continuing professional development).
All these considerations, tasks and roles of the career counselors were considered and addressed into
the Back to work project (www.backwork.eu) run between 2011-2013, focused on developing the
validation and recognition of competences practice as part of the counselling services offered by the
local employment offices with the view of improving their counselling services for unemployed and
increasing the chances of efficient matching on the labour market.
Therefore, in the project, based on the needs for career counseling in a more efficient way identified in
the filed study done in the partner countries from Ro, D, Dk, Gr, Bg and UK, but also after mapping the
existing frameworks of competencies (Evanghelista 2011, see, for instance, the EAS European
Accreditation Scheme for Careers Guidance Counsellors) of the career counselor, we tried to
developed an instrument which will assist counsellors to become familiar with the validation path,
guiding then their clients towards the validation process, and making them aware about such
possibility, based on the preliminary identification of the knowledge and competencies the individuals
have acquired throughout their lives.
Starting from Canadian Framework of competences, who detailed the general competences that a
counsellor should possess, in the instrument there are compared the general competences of a
counsellor with the competences of an assessor. In this way we identified differences, similarities and
possible connections between the two frameworks of competences. Some connections between the
specific competences of a counsellor with the steps of the validation process were made. As a result
of this process, there was elaborated a set of 10 competences presented below (see Crasovan M.,
Sava S. coord, 2012), competences that a counsellor needs in order to prepare the client to take part
in an evaluation and validation process. These competences were than validated during an pilot
training semiar designed as a consultation process as well, where experienced counselors from the
partner countries were asked about their opinion regarding the identified competencies, being invited
in the same time to simulate the validation process, self-evaluating themselves the degree with which
they are mastering them. After the process of improving and adjusting them, the competencies are:
- Present clear and accurate information on the service to be provided, and agree on course of
action (creating the contract).
- Explain to the client what self-evaluation is and outline its benefits.
- Encourage the client to express his/her own personal experiences (autobiography) and assist
him/her to extract what is relevant in order to reflect upon his/her competences.
- Understand and explain the evaluation scheme that the client can use to grade his/her
- Comprehend the significance of assessment and valorization of learning.
- Demonstrate intercultural awareness.
- Develop, maintain and update a portfolio for assessment that reflects the total life situation of
the client and present it the best possible way.
- Have a good grasp of specific methods of documentation that is required for recognition of
- Understand of the requirements of an external assessor and ability to explain the recognition
process to the client.
- Ensure that the client has understood and gained ownership of the process.
These 10 competencies were found the most relevant by the researchers in the project and by
the practitioners themselves in the validation and consultation process, and the competencies are
described in the instrument according with the EQF level 6, being detailed their related knowledge,
skills and competences for the different areas of competence. The instrument was designed as a self
evaluation and self study guide/tool so that the counsellor working with the VPL process can use in
order to identify whether he or she needs further training.
The sensitive issue of ensuring quality, credibility and efficiency of the VPL process, and of the better
tailored career guidance services can be addressed by better trained professionals. The counsellors
are seen as key professionals assisting the individuals into their educational and job transitions during
their career, addressing both the individuals and the market needs. The VPL is seen as solution
towards addressing the individual, the social and economic needs of better qualified people, with the
solution of shortening the time, the way and the resources for getting people back into (a better)
employment of further qualification. Therefore the VPL is considered more and more as a compulsory,
as an integrative part of the counselling services and as an area of competencies that should be part
of the competency profile of the career counsellor.
While comparing the competency profile of the career counsellors with the one of the competence
assessors there can be noticed a lot of similarities. There are existing different frameworks of
competencies for the career counsellors, and adding to them the unit of competence or the are of
competence related to the validation process is a step needed to be taken into consideration and
developed, not only from conceptual point of view, but as a practice, with tools and training concepts,
so that the career counsellors can perform better in these new roles and tasks. The paper tried to
present such solution, bringing into attention a possible way to addressed it, developed into the Back
to Work project (www.backwork.eu).
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practices. OECD. www.oecd.org/edu/recognition
Innovative model for promoting entrepreneurship
among the unemployed person
, Cristina Gheorghe2
University “E.Murgu” Romania,
University of Bucuresti, Faculty of Business and Administration
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
The authors have analyzed the counseling and the mentoring activities in adult education filed
performed in personal work. The objective was reached by the definition and implementation of a
combined model of training and mentoring, in a perspective that integrates simultaneous the
entrepreneurial and university visions, within a transnational and intercultural approach. This model
departs from the sequential accomplishment of a set of workshops, and a specialized training for the
other actors, subordinated to subjects like Company, the Business Plan, Innovation, Financing,
Marketing and Copyright, Internationalization or Localization.
Keywords: innovation, mentoring, research and training project
The objectives of the projects(to promote creativity , competitiveness, employability and the growth of
an entrepreneurial spirit in Europe; to develop innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies
and practice for lifelong learning; to improve the quality and to increase the volume of cooperation
between higher education institutions and enterprises; to introduce entrepreneurship as part of the
curriculum for students and especially as a skill for teachers/researchers in higher) is the objective’s
of the research.
”Eftimie Murgu”University and ACTIVITY Foundation have developed and applied more activities of
training and mentoring, as partners.
The training modules were designed in detail with the help of the careers .The first steps have been:
define the level of education, professional training and past experience; identify and define the career
needs in relation to training; identify career expectation for future work; and, identify problems and
solution. Every step needed mentor.
Mentoring is the process through which a person, the mentor, offers guidance and instruction to
facilitate the personal, intellectual and/or career development of persons identified as mentees or
The mentoring relationship can be defined as ‘…a particular form of relationship designed to
provide personal and professional support to an individual. The mentor is generally more experienced
than the mentee and makes use of that experience in a facilitative way to support the development of
the mentee. Mentoring is used to assist individuals at specific stages of development or transition and
lasts for a sustained but defined period of time. The mentoring relationship provides a developmental
opportunity for both parties and can thus be of mutual benefit.’
This definition recognizes the mentor‘s role to be facilitative, supportive and developmental. This is
important to note as mentoring relationships are between equals: a mentor should have no
supervisory responsibility or authority over a mentee. This definition also emphasizes that the benefits
of the mentoring relationship are mutual.
The advantages of mentoring, for the mentor, are:
• a catalyst to reflect upon one‘s own practice ;
• a way of developing personal and professional skills further;
• opportunities to network with other professionals ;
• job satisfaction and increased self-esteem ;
• new opportunities for career and professional development.
For the mentee, mentoring provides:
• a point of personal contact other than usual ;
• a source of support and guidance ;
• regular meetings in which specific issues and ideas can be discussed and developed ;
• a chance to explore teaching and learning in a non-assessed and non-threatening
These aspects can be used in the motivation plan
2. Developing the mentoring program
Based on the fact that formal mentoring will be carried out, a mentoring program has to be
developed. Drawing up the plan for the mentoring program developed in frame of the PREMIO project
• the definition of aims;
• the desired outcomes;
• how long the program will run;
• a timeline which allows for planning, preparation, publicity, conducting information sessions,
selection of participants;
• how many mentees will be in the program;
• how to select mentees’
• how many mentors will be in the program;
• how to select mentors;
• performance indicators for evaluating the program;
• by who and how the evaluation will be done.
3. The network of mentors
In each country involved in the project a network of mentors was created, each implying two types
Technological mentors, who will guide the mentee in developing the business plan and initiate the
pre-incubation phase. These mentors will be active the whole period the Work Package is running, by
meetings face-to-face and especially using the dedicated e-platform.
The Technological mentors will guide the mentees during the process of realizing a business plan
and the pre-incubation phase, sharing their expertise. Mentees will have access to mentors that are
experts in their business areas Confidentiality is a sine qua non condition. Management specialized
mentors will act more like consultants, offering specialized advices for specific questions (legislation,
financing, human resources, intellectual property, etc.). They will not be familiar with the whole
business plans and ideas, confidentiality being not an important issue. The mentoring process will be
developed through the PREMIO e-platform, and can be complemented by existing platforms on
National or European field. The number of Management specialized mentors has to cover essential
domains for the realization of a good business plan. These are (minimal): Legislation (including work
contracts and other issues); Human resources; Accountancy; Banks & Financing; Intellectual property;
other profiles by the trainees needs
The selection of this type of experts is easier, because they are not totally involved in the project,
their role being sporadic (by request). The single conditions are the professional skills and the
willingness to participate in the program
4. Activities developed during the Mentoring phase
Two types of participant have being active in this phase: mentors and mentees. Mentors were
selected from experts enrolled on the dedicated section of the project’s Web-site: http://www.premio-
project.eu/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1. Finally, 27 mentors have been selected, in a
distribution presented in the table and figure below, being achieved the target of 10 mentors. All
mentors have signed the “Confidentiality Declaration”, to ensure keeping business secrets.
Table 1: Mentors
Romania Portugal Greece Estonia International
Female 3 1 - 1 -
Male 10 4 4 3 1
Total 13 5 4 4 1
Figure 1: Mentors Country
The training was started on 29
September and performed in parallel at four countries and in native
languages. A simple instructions guide for the students with the most important indications on how to
proceed in the online session was introduced. Each country has own e-platform section, trainees were
provided by corresponding enrolment keys.
Table 2 Activity of using e-platform during study process by trainers/trainees
Module Hours Module Hours
Company 25 Project Management 25
Marketing 25 Innovation Management 25
Financing 25 Intellectual Property 25
Internationalization 25 Total 200
Business Plan 25
While every partner keeping own course branch in independent run, there was a pre-planned
exception – study module “Internationalization”, which has content only in English, and also common
forum to promote co-operation between student teams on international level. All activities at e-platform
were monitored by participation activity. A joint activity for participation of all trainees in four countries
in an International Forum was held on 20th January. The International Forum was kept open all the
time, so anytime students/trainers wanted to launch questions/answers they were free to do so.
Activity by countries in using e-platform modules is represented on Fig. 2.
Concerning WP5 (Mentoring activities) Romania, much activities have been the next content ( Tab.2.)
Tab.No.2 WP5 – Motivation and Training
Nr of registered people (students, researchers, teachers) 34
Nr of selected trainees
% of woman in selected trainees 40%
Nr. of business plans presentations events to a jury 18
Nr of trainers and experts involved 10
Nr of activities allowing interaction of trainees in 4 countries implemented
Romania Portugal Greece Estonia International
Nr of successful trainees (that will pass to the mentoring phase) 14
Nr of Business Plans (completed at the end of the training phase) 12
Training volume (nr hours x nr trainees) 2200
Training evaluation by the trainees (overall average) 4,2
Training evaluation by the trainers (overall average) 3,8
Views and posts in WP5 intranet forum 57
Tasks completed 71
4.2. Guidance for the elaboration of business plans focusing on the creation of technology-
based enterprises and evaluation of the proposals susceptible of being worked on until the
enterprise creation phase
The entire course run systematically emphasized the final target – elaboration of a proper business
plan. The business projects respected the following description structure:
• Project title;
• Brief presentation of the promoters;
• Brief presentation of the idea;
• Area of activity;
• City/Country for the implementation of the company;
• Photo of the promoter(s).
During the teaching process the business plans were presented by trainees three times, and
commented by jury including trainers, mentors, external experts, technology park representatives or
partner representatives:1st presentation (Dec );2nd presentation (Feb ); 3rd presentation (May )
After third presentation the business plans suitable for virtual (pre-) incubation were selected and
further guidance forwarded to a pool of mentors. The selection criteria included:
• Business potential;
• Innovation level;
• Project team;
• Level of protection of Intellectual Property;
• Independency regarding the surrounding social economic context;
• Financial viability;
• CV of the promoters.
The comparable evaluation of trainers starting the course and passing the course into mentoring
phases is shown on Fig. 3. The 53% of trainees passed the whole course in amount of 200 hours and
was allowed to enter into virtual incubation stage.
Fig. 3 Evaluation of the trainees’ proposals until the enterprise creation phase
5. Evaluation of the training phase
5.1. Aspect of trainers
The e-questionnaires for trainers were elaborated. The questionnaire was answered by 15 trainers.
Regarding the quality of IT connection, there were reported any or only few interruptions with Premio
e-platform (see Fig. 4). Mostly trainers also always used internal forum e-mail for communication (Fig.
Fig. 4 Interruptions with PREMIO platform Fig. 5 Use internal forum e-mail communication
Most of trainers thought that user guide materials were understandable (Fig. 6). E-course structure
design and especially course management was marked as very good in most cases (Fig. 7).
Fig.6.Understand ability of user guide materials. Fig.7.Assessment of e-course structure
design and course management
The main opinions of positive aspects of teaching by e-platform were outlined as follows:
• Easy to handle;
• Multilingual support and reliability;
• First really working electronic learning platform;
• Targeted for doing the business plan;
• Clear goals and structure according to entrepreneurs needs;
• Enough free space for lessons and self assessments;
• The help of e-resources in teaching;
• The flexibility and independence of working with the trainees;
• Shared knowledge about starting up own business;
• The possibility of interaction between the faculty and students in the platform;
• The opportunity of knowledge interchange.
The main bottlenecks ,if any,pointed out by trainers were:
• I found everything ok, no complaints;
• Each module has separated key, it could be enough to have one key for one term;
• Fixed training periods for the courses;
• Difficulty of working with the ther countries;
• Precedence among modules;
• Complicated site structure;
• Site appearance;
• The content of course is not proper to be used;
• Limitation in time for the courses ;
• The idea is good. The contents of different modules could be reviewed and improved if
needed - review should be done keeping the course's aim in the view. All modules should
carry the objective to develop abilities to write good business plan and entrepreneurial
• Nothing to declare.
The input improvement suggestions were as follows:
• Nothing to improve;
• More pictures and illustrative materials;
• The interface and the content ( a little bit);
• We must centre this course in the creation of the new firm;
• Project Management should be one of the first 2 modules;
• Interface and structure;
• The site should be more close to a "normal web-site";
• Make interface and structure more user-friendly;
• The content of my course;
• The weight of the courses, they should have different hours allocated.
The mentoring activities cannot finish after finish one project. Each student must have a mentor
Implication: Incubation in the project partners facilities (Science & Technology Parks) of the best
business plans resulting from the training course in very favorable condition
Originality value: the research is focused on creating science-based entrepreneurship and
technology. As such, will address students, teachers and researchers from these areas, in particular,
Mathematics, Science and Technology
Results: e-learning platform transnational entrepreneurship training course based on a blended
learning approach, with great focus on Problem Solving strategies, simulations and case studies;
incubation of 15 new companies.
At resent, five firms were actually created in Romania grace to the project. One of these was closed
and the person returned to Germany.
 Gillich G.R.,Amariei D.,Gillich N., Amariei O., Premio – an electronic platform for entrepreneurial
training, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences (2009) Volume: 1, Issue: 1, Pages: 2380-2384,
 Potoceanu N.,Cornean A.M Entrepreneurial training for different personal level of education,
“Didactica” International, Resita, 2011
 *** Premio project. http://www.premio-project.eu/
Roadmap for competence based design of study programs
for pharmacists’ higher education
Mut E. M. 1
, Popescu S2
., Pitic D3
., Dragomir M. 4
1 2 4
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca
The present paper presents a roadmap for designing higher education programs in order
for the graduates to acquire the necessary competences for an easy insertion in the labor market.
The roadmap assembles quality management techniques, methods and instruments commonly
used in competitive design of industrial products. The main method integrated in this roadmap
is QFD, which correlates competence requirements, identified and prioritized through
interviews with specialists, with the curriculum topics from the training programs. Therefore
critical topics are identified in order to generate the necessary competences. This application
refers to pharmacists’ higher education but can be extended to any higher education’s programs.
Today the pharmaceutical industry is one of the top industries in the world, some
experts saying that it even overcomes the oil industry. No matter the actual position in the
world ranking industries, it is generally known that due to the findings in this area and to the
investments in research many illnesses can be controlled and people gain every year a better
chance for a longer life. In the last century, the life expectance has increased with more than
20 years and the quality of life has improved. Also, today we are more than 7 billion humans
on the planet and to this fact the pharmaceutical industry has a great involvement.
Pharmacists, as professionals can be considered critical members of today’s modern society,
by being the ones that ensure the proper use of medicine and help developing new medicine.
Given this, the process of forming pharmacists needs to be done according to real needs of the
population and the market. The competency and the ability that a pharmacist has can be
considered to be in a direct relationship with a client’s life and therefore it is very important to
ensure a high quality in the process of educating future pharmacists.
This paper represents a research in the direction of establishing a relationship between the
competences needed in practice by a pharmacist and the curriculum used by faculties in
Romania to form them as specialist. Through this research, the authors are seeking to identify
if the curriculum used in education pharmaceutical institutions can form the critical
competences needed by a professional on the market .
In order to attain the research objectives, following steps were necessary , :
• Performing a literature review regarding the current state in this research field
• Gathering and synthesizing information from the major Romanian universities who
offer study programs designed to prepare future graduates within the field of
• Performing an analysis of the curriculums designed by the education providers
• Synthesizing competences specific for the field “pharmacy” by analyzing various
documents on national and European level
• Establishing the appropriate instrument in order to identify the utility of competences
• Designing the questionnaire
• Questioning employers regarding the importance and frequency in use of each
competence unit prior defined
• Establishing correlations between groups of subjects and competence units
• Identifying the competence units that are of utmost importance in order to successfully
perform the occupation of “pharmacist”
While performing a literature review on this research subject, the authors reached the
conclusion that there isn’t any national occupational standard specifically designed for the
occupation of “pharmacist”. Currently, these competences are scattered within laws,
standards, job descriptions and other documents. Therefore, it was necessary to identify the
most critical competences needed by a pharmacist in practice. Thus, National and
international legislation , Standards in the pharmaceutical field , , job descriptions,
the Qualification Framework in Romania and faculty curriculums have been analyzed.
Identified competences were synthesized and grouped (according to their content) in fourteen
compact groups of competences (competence units). Scales have been also defined in order to
assess the frequency (0-no use to 10-continuous use) and importance (0-No importance to 10-
critical importance) in use of each competence unit. In order to further establish the utility of
each competence unit, the designed questionnaires were filled out by experts that work in
three different pharmaceutical fields: community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and
pharmaceutical industry. After gathering the filled out questionnaires, the utility of each
competence unit has been calculated (utility was defined as the product between the values
obtained in the fields importance and frequency) by performing an average of the values
The second major step of the research was to group the subjects identified within the
curriculums of pharmaceutical faculties in Romania, in order to identify the most important
ones in forming future pharmacists. First, nine faculties in Romania that assure teaching-
learning programs in this field have been identified. Further, the publicly available
curriculums of these faculties were analyzed and used for further research steps. Overall, 87
different subjects were identified. Consequently, all subjects contained by all national
curriculums were grouped, according to their content, to major groups of subjects. In this
analysis, the authors also took into account the amount of teaching hours and credit points
corresponding to each subject, resulting an overall value of teaching hours and credit points
for each group of subjects. As a result of this approach, fifteen groups of subjects have been
defined. As a next step, the authors defined an effort degree corresponding to each group of
subjects. In this respect, the amount of credit points for each group of subjects was taken into
account. Each group of subjects was ranked on an effort scale from 1 to 10, where 1 stated for
“absolutely no difficulty” and 10 “absolutely critical difficulty”. Consequently, the group of
subjects identified as having the greatest amount of credit points was marked as having an
effort degree of “10”. The other groups of subject were ranked proportional to prior identified
group of subjects.
Once these two major research steps have been performed, the authors performed a
correlation between the groups of subjects and the competence units using Quality Function
Deployment (QFD). The competence units were inserted into the customer relations matrix
and the groups of subjects were viewed as being technical characteristics of the analyzed
Results and Discussion
The 14 groups of competences and the 15 groups of subjects have been used as input
data for a QFD analysis in order to highlight the contribution of each group of subjects in
forming the necessary competences in order for graduates to successfully perform the
occupation of ”Pharmacist”. The obtained results are presented in figure no.1.
Figure 1. QFD analysis
The importance to customer is represented by the average utility degrees and the
difficulty index is represented by the effort degree associated to each group of subjects. After
computing the research data, two bottleneck situations were identified. The resulted
bottleneck analysis is shown in figure no. 2. On the “x” one can notice the importance index,
on a range from 1-10 (resulted from the relationship matrix) and on “y” axis the difficulty
index (the degree of effort associated to each group of subjects) on a range from 1-10. The
graphic representation is sectioned by four quadrants, delimited by the medium value 5, in
The results of the performed analysis are registered in three of the four quadrants. Therefore,
there haven’t been identified any groups of subjects that have a high importance index and a
low effort degree.
Also, following three situations may be noticed:
• There are two bottleneck situations:
associated effort on a range from medium to
very difficult and importance on a range from
medium to very important. The two groups of
subjects are “Chemistry and Physics” and
“Pharmacology”. These groups of subjects are
of critical importance in order to successfully
perform the occupation of “pharmacist”. A
graduate who fails in attaining the
competences found within these two groups of
subjects, due to the high effort degree, may
not be able to perform this occupation.
• The existence of many groups of subjects
that have low a effort degree and a low
importance index, groups of subjects which
have a lower contribution in forming
competences that are specific for this kind of
• The groups of subjects “Specialty practice” and “Clinical pharmacy” positioned in the
bottom quadrant show significant benefits without having associated a high effort degree.
In order to enhance graduates employability the training process must be built so that the
resulting competences meet the requirements of insertion domain. For this purpose in
designing of the training systems there can be used quality management techniques,
instruments and methods that must meet market’s special requirements. The designing
methodology presented in this paper relates to pharmacists training but it can just as well
apply to any educational product intended to form for the labor market.
This paper was supported by the project "Improvement of the doctoral studies quality in
engineering science for development of the knowledge based society-QDOC” contract no.
POSDRU/107/1.5/S/78534, project co-funded by the European Social Fund through the
Sectorial Operational Program Human Resources 2007-2013.
This work was supported from the European Social Fund through Sectoral Operational
Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013, project number
POSDRU/89/1.5/S/59184 „Performance and excellence in postdoctoral research in Romanian
economics science domain” .
1. A. POPA, O. CRISAN, R. SANDULESCU and M. BOJITA, Pharmaceutical Care and
Pharmacy Education in Romania, Pharmacy Education, vol 2, pp 11-14, 2002
2. S. POPESCU, A. CRISAN, L. CRISAN, Algoritm and premises of the design of a
master program in quality engineering, 4th International Seminar on Quality
Management in Higher Education, pp 31-36, 2006
3. D. OPRUTA M. DRAGAN, M. DRAGOMIR, Method of competitive development
applied in the orientation towards the market requirements of a study program.
Figure 2. Bottleneck analysis
Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of Quality Management in Higher
Education, Editura Performantica, 12-14 June, Tulcea, Romania, pp. 565-570, ISBN:
4. Directive 2005/36/Ec of the European Parliament and of the Council, available at
(Accessed on November 2012)
5. Future pharmacists Standards for the initial education and training of pharmacists
(Accessed on November 2012)
6. Registrul National al Calificarilor din Invatamantul Superior, Farmacist available at
(Accessed on November 2012)
MODELS OF GOOD PRACTICE ON SCHOOL PARTICIPATION IN
PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN ROMANIA
, Monica Opriş2
Univ. Lecturer Ph.D. “1 Decembrie 1918” University from Alba Iulia
Univ. Lecturer Ph.D. “Lucian Blaga” University from Sibiu
Human trafficking is one of the greatest problems of society, with social, economical and
moral connotations. One of the institutions able to help young people interested in jobs that
are closer to their level of education or their own expectations and aspirations is School. Both
universities and secondary schools prove to be interested to adapt curricula to these new and
important challenges of the contemporary world, because they have a moral duty to prepare
them properly and effectively for social life. This paper aims to present a set of good practices
for educational activities in which young people find out the realities and the implications of
this phenomenon. The approach is based on highlighting the main conceptual issues related
to human trafficking issues, as they were defined in official international documents used and
valued in the literature intended for decisional or social environment, including education.
Case studies regarding the victims of illegal immigration situation from Romania, the
contexts generated by their repatriation were extremely helpful in official policymaking to
reduce the phenomenon, including information campaigns in schools conducted by various
institutions, including the Church. The campaign results achieved by the teachers of religion
in Romania in gymnasium and high school were assessed at the governmental level, which is
why this paper presents a series of pedagogical and didactical coordinates of educational
activities designed and carried out in information campaign for young people. The need is
even more obvious as the successful reintegration of repatriated victims depends not only on
them and on the support they receive, but also on the way in which society is prepared to
receive them, to accept his fellows, who experienced a traumatizing situation.
Key words: society, culture, human trafficking, religion, religious education.
Amid the obvious cultural differences and a low moral value, people from different places
and historical periods have identified human trafficking as an opportunity for acquisition of
tangible and financial values. People sales - characteristic action to slave era - was extended
to the contemporary period, taking unexpected shapes and sizes in the context of social
relations of the third millennium beginning (D. Opriş, M. Opriş, 2007, p. 4).
The economic decline of many former communist countries led to migration in order to
find a better paid job in Western Europe (L. Shelly, 2010). Amid poverty, unemployment,
failed experience in finding a job, low education level, poor training, lack of family (or the
existence of dysfunctional families), too much confidence in themselves, positive
representations of labor market success from abroad, adding the contact with successful
models of environment, often determine the decision to go abroad without taking risk factors
into account. The step to criminal phenomena is often very small, given the different methods
of performed smuggling in such cases, which makes difficult identifying the victims (D.
Mancini, 2008). These issues are known and speculated by people that recruit future victims
in order to sell them to networks of human trafficking.
The universally accepted definition - which, moreover, was the base of cooperation
between states to reduce this phenomenon and to develop appropriate legislation (in Romania,
Law no. 678/2001) - presents human trafficking (TFU) as “recruitment, transportation,
transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of
abduction, swindling, fraud or power abuse by using a vulnerable position, by giving or
receiving money or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another,
with the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation includes prostitution or at least forms of sexual
exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the
removal of organs” (United Nations official documents).
Myths that only the poor and uneducated girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation don’t
have a real cover (Prostituzione invisibile, 2010, p.41): labor exploitation, the removal of
organs, attracting in criminal activity, begging, domestic servitude are non-sexual facets of
trafficking, recruitment being accomplished through false offers of well paid jobs in The
West, offers made not only to women, but also to men and children (cf. L. Shelly, 2010, pp.
5-6). Clearly, the problem of trafficking is present not only in Romania, but this paper aims to
present a series of models of good practice validated by work experience information in this
In Romania, the repatriation of first victims of human trafficking took place at the end of
1999 through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental
organization with diplomatic status and humanitarian mission, located in Geneva. Analysis of
data provided by the OIM office in Bucharest and the National Agency against Persons
Trafficking reflects political and social changes that Romania had crossed in the last decade.
There is a decreased of the number of victims repatriated from Serbia, Macedonia and
Albania since 2005, as well as increasing the number of victims repatriated from countries of
Central and Western Europe. It also has occurred since 2003, in the cases of victims from
countries like Spain and Greece. The downward trend in the number of repatriated victims,
especially in the Balkans, with the elimination of visas for Romanian citizens, could lead to
the conclusion that, in fact, it is about moving the phenomenon in other parts of Europe,
favored by a better organization of international trafficking networks and administrative
improvements of fake companies. The number of victims is unknown at all; the statistics are
made for the 1200 repatriated victims.
2. PARTNERS AND INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS
The extent of that phenomenon determined the OIM Bucharest office to conclude
cooperation agreements with various institutions in Romania, to prevent this phenomenon of
modern slavery. In identifying the institutions - partners in cooperation - there were used the
results of a sociological research conducted by this organization in 2001 at national level,
concerning the young female population vulnerability from Romania to human trafficking.
The research took into account the fact that a quarter of repatriated victims were of school age
at the time. In addition, victims indicated Church and School as institutions with the highest
credibility and they should take responsibility in informing and preventing people of different
ages on this phenomenon. Several other studies have confirmed that the Church and other
institutions have formative potential and are able to contribute significantly to the prevention
and combating effects of this phenomenon (N. Druţă, E. Timofticiuc, 2004, pp. 37-38).
Preventing and combating human trafficking by raising awareness in schools, including
religion classes, is the subject of a protocol of the International Organization for Migration
with the Romanian Patriarchy and the Ministry of Education and Research, given the double
subordination of religion teachers to these two institutions under the Education Law. Actual
teaching activities were anticipated by the development of specific curriculum documents and
the completion of training courses of trainers who then train teachers in all schools in the
country, where we were personally involved. The success of these actions led to expansion to
teachers of religion by with other religions than the orthodox majority, they benefiting from
the same documents and the same team of trainers.
3. EDUCATIONAL ACTION MODELS
The foundation directions of the educational action consist also of arguments concerning
the choice of religious disciplines to inform students about this phenomenon, through a
special designed and implemented campaign. By its nature, Religion focuses on special
valuing of man who cannot be co modified. The Bible speaks of man’s infinite value, which
exceeds all that is material and therefore the issues and phenomena that lead to the
dehumanization and transformation of the human person in a money generating tool cannot be
neglected. Second, Religion as a discipline has strong formative facets; one of its goals is the
formation of moral character at students. Or, if the religion lesson achieves its goals, students
of today - future adults of tomorrow - will realize the gravity of moral issues related to
trafficking. Students of today are not only potential victims but also potential recruiters,
traffickers and customers. A life based on moral values is an important way of preventing
human trafficking (D. Opriş, M. Opriş, 2003, pp. 12-14). Another aspect is that studying
religion at all levels of education in Romanian pre-university education gives every student
the opportunity to participate in various educational activities related to that issue.
3.1. Information issues in the school
From our activities and from the reports of teachers who have worked with students, we
can say that the greatest impact on students were the moments in which they watched some
videos of trafficking victims testimonies. Thus, students were able to draw not only
information on trafficking steps, methods of recruitment, recruiters profile, exploitation, but
also the victims’ spiritual states. The film was made by IOM Romania, along with television
and image specialists and psychologists. The most important issues noted by students in
individual records, were:
- The most traumatic moment from all experiences is the sale. Some repatriated victims
said: “They told me that I’m sold, and I said what do you mean sold, I’m only human being,
not as bread sold at the store. They told me I would be sold from one to another...”; “A boy
saw me and bought me with $ 300. I was just like a cloth, like a garment.”; “From all what I
last felt, the hardest moment was when I was... it is like having a pet at the market and you
would say: “Look, this is the animal, this is what I am asking for it, I give it to you.”
- Loss of self esteem. A victim repatriated said: ... “I felt like I was the last woman on
earth. I had no courage to look ... to look at the world in the eye”;
- Post-traumatic shock, emotional impact, the idea of physical danger, further suffering
caused by recurrent nightmares and flashes. Some repatriated victims said: “I still have
nightmares, still live in fear that he comes after me. I think, if he comes, if he kills me, if ... I
am alone at home. I cannot live alone; I have to phone a friend or a neighbor: “Come and
stay with me. Come and stay with me because I am afraid. [...]I want to forget all, but I am
aware that such a thing will never happen ... and even after 10 years I will remember, and
even after 20 years, and even while dying, because something like that cannot be forgotten,
you can never forget such a thing”.
- Dehumanization, by entering the network, but as a link in the chain of trafficking. A
repatriated victim said: “It was an Albanian who had worked 10 years and bought... now
bought a Romanian and told her, saying: «I worked 10 years on the street, now I want
someone else to work for me, I want to rest»” (Cf. D. Opriş, M. Opriş, 2003, pp. 50, 52, 63,
Other results on students, highlighted in their works for evaluating the activity, show
awareness of young people concerning the value of education received in school, which offers
more employment opportunities and the ability to understand the social context in which they
are meant to carry out work. Labor migration is not only a reality of contemporary society,
but also a great chance for young people to find the place that fit their aspirations,
understanding that people are equal before God and any discrimination on the basis of gender,
ethnicity, religion etc., can lead to involvement in the network traffic.
3.2. Educational activities conducted in a non-formal curriculum
In addition to teaching information on human beings trafficking carried out either in
special lessons or as applications to the content of Religion curriculum that allows addressing
this issue, there were a number of educational activities subordinate to a non-formal
curriculum. Teachers’ reports, teachers who have worked on this issue at least one school year
with students, show that for informing and training the most effective non-formal type
interventions were based on:
- Presentation and discussion of films and documentaries on human trafficking: Lilya 4-
ever, SexTraffic, Inhuman Traffic;
- Organizing debates with the participation of specialists from different fields who can
provide information on legislation relating to traffic, provide statistics on the incidence of
cases in Romania: lawyers, police officers, members of the government agency to prevent
- Involvement in campaigns to distribute information materials on human trafficking
(leaflets, posters etc.);
- Organizing exhibitions with student works (essays, drawings, poems) about this
An important aspect is the need of changes in education curriculum in academic
theological education, in order to ensure future initial training to religion teachers and
teachers already working in education on this issue (D. Opriş, M. Opriş, 2007, p. 23). Given
the forms of post-trafficking experience, particularly as refusing medical or psychological
assistance to facilitate the social integration of victims, the role of university education
becomes essential (R. Surtees, 2005, pp. 45-46). In this respect, there have been several
proposals to universities in Romania, so that they have flexible modules in the existing
programs in schools of varying degrees.
Issues related to trafficking today exceeds economic or religious matters, that history
has recorded since antiquity. The constant increasing of the number of trafficked persons,
especially for prostitution and forced labor is a problem that tends to become a major one for
the democratic systems. In these circumstances, the school environment proves to be the best
in information and training of young people who are thinking to migrate in search of a job.
Romania campaign on prevention human trafficking was based on the use of support
materials prepared especially for use in religion classes and special training of a set of
specialists, so that the message to have the desired relevance. This paper highlighted the
theological and pedagogical features which made possible the successful development of the
campaign. Churches in Romania each contributed on the extent of their presence in public
schools during the campaign mentioned above, using the same set of materials, which is why
their presentation in this paper is a model of good practice for other cultural areas, as it has
already happened in the Republic of Moldova, where later then Romania, an important project
was conducted by involving religious and theological circles. Models of good practice in
terms of religious collaboration with schools on this issue supported the taking into
educational activities some methods that were imposed during the aforesaid campaign. In
addition, this paper summarized integration ways of materials produced for the campaign to
prevent human trafficking in Romania, which led to changes in curricular documents of
theological schools. Last but not least, we believe that this paper can provide concrete
evidence for synthesizing a set of general human values useful in preparing young people for
a better acceptance of their fellows repatriated or returned after a traumatic experience such as
trafficking. School constitutes an environment too important to train future adults and this
aspect cannot be exploited to prevent trafficking and to support reintegration of victims, as
our concrete evidence and experience proves.
• Druţă, N., & Timofticiuc, E., (ed.) (2004), Guide for preventing human trafficking,
MarLink Press, Bucharest.
• Mancini, D., (2008), Traffico di migranti e tratta di persone. Tutela dei diritti umani ed
azioni di contrasto, Franco Angeli, Milano.
• Opriş, D., & Opriş, M., (2003), Preventing and combating human trafficking - methodical
guide for teaching religion classes, Bucharest, the Romanian Patriarchy and the
International Organization for Migration (IOM).
• Opriş, D., & Opriş, M., (2007), Prevention of trafficking in human beings, through
pastoral and teaching activities, International Organization for Migration, Chisinau,
• Shelly, L., (2010), Human trafficking. A global perspective, Cambridge University Press,
• Surtees, R., (2005), Annual Report on victims of human trafficking in South Eastern
Europe. Country Report: Republic of Moldova, International Organization for Migration
• *** Prostituzione invisibile, (2010), Oltre la Strada, Modena.
Aspects of mathematical modeling of professional counseling process
, Popescu Paul1
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Craiova (ROMANIA)
E-mails email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our idea is to propose a suitable mathematical model for a professional counseling process; more
exactly, the assignment problem model and the assignment algorithms. This approach lead us to a
mathematical optimum for a professional counseling process (obtained by specifical methods and
technics), better than an optimum obtained by non-mathematical methods.
For a mathematical model to give us useful outputs, all the above inputs must be as close as possible
to the real situation. Only in this case, the mathematical optimum is close to an expected / requested
optimum. In this context, the accuracy of the mathematical model is essential.
In our paper we also emphasize the importance, some special aspects, some ways to approach and
some possibilities to improve a mathematical modeling and to obtain a mathematical optimum for a
professional counseling process. Finally, a suggestive example is given, along with some comments
Keywords: professional counseling, optimization, optimal allocation, assignment algorithm.
A career counseling must be essentially based on the competences of the applicants (among other
factors taken into account). Individual competences must fit with the competences required by a
specific job. In this order of ideas, the competences required can be included in a listing and then
quantified, ranked, weighted etc. The optimum distribution must take into account the individual
aspects as well as the overall aspects (social/economic/cultural etc. aspects of a group/micro
group/macro group etc.).
The main aspects of the developing and implementing human resources strategies and policies, close
related to a professional counseling process, are presented in . All the necessary aspects
concerning the competences (types of competences, competency frameworks, reasons for using
competences, coverage of competences, use of competences, developing a competency framework,
keys to success in using competences, competency analysis etc.), as well as the criteria for a job
choice are extensively presented also in . Some useful aspects can be found in  and .
All the theoretical knowledge related to competences must be adequately implemented in practice,
thus it is essential to consistently elaborate the list of regarded competences. Then all these
competences must be quantified, ranked, weighted etc. using special methods, in order to be used as
inputs in a mathematical model. For a mathematical model to give us useful outputs, all the above
inputs must be as close as possible to the real situation. Only in this case, the mathematical optimum
is close to an expected / requested optimum.
But finding the optimum distribution (i.e. the optimum for the professional counseling process)
supposes to find the optimum of the mathematical model, using a mathematical approach (for
example, a suitable algorithm). Our idea is to propose (as a suitable mathematical model for a
professional counseling process) the assignment problem model and the assignment algorithms (see,
for example ,  and  and the references therein).
The idea to use an assignment model / algorithm has been used successfully also in different
problems from other areas of human activity. For example, in  one consider the problem of
assigning clients to nurses for home care services, in order to balance the work load of the nurses
while avoiding long travels to visit the clients. A heuristic approach is considered in , based on an
iterated local search and using matching algorithms from graph theory, in order to assign events to
locations very efficiently, applicable also in the particular case of the course timetabling problems.
These algorithms are efficient also in solving problems inspired by nature. For example, the bees
algorithm for generalized assignment problem is studied in  and a study of a nature-inspired
optimization can be found in .
2 Mathematical methods and results.
From the perspective of mathematical modeling, we have to solve some problems of optimum.
Finding an optimum supposes twofold:
- an individual optimum (each applicant to be optimally distributed according his/hers aspirations
but especially his/her competences), translated into personal results / satisfactions;
- a general optimum (the repartition of each applicant to the corresponding job is optimally
realized), translated into results / qualitative and quantitative maxima.
In terms of mathematical modeling, to achieve this goal involves:
- adequate modeling (closer to the existing reality) of studied process;
- adequate using of methods and techniques of optimization;
- adequate using of algorithms for optimization and / or assignment.
One possible approach can use the linear programming. From the perspective of linear programming,
for the studied system it is important to have well-defined:
- inputs (which have usually superior limitations),
- outputs (which have usually inferior limitations),
- processes, interactions, inter-conditionings etc. and their levels,
- the objective function, whose extremum has to be determined (e.g. a maximum, if global or
individual results are involved, or a minimum, in the case when it refers to some costs / periods of time
required to adaptation / integration on a job).
Such an approach is particularly useful in terms of obtaining an optimum of a given process (e.g.
selection or assignment).
In this respect two aspects are followed up:
- enunciating the main aspects of a professional counseling process, in a form suitable to frame it
in a standard mathematical model,
- providing various methods of solving, so that after a finite number of steps (and as few as
possible) the optimal solution is obtained.
This will determine successively a base solution, then a base program, a nondegenerate base
program and finally an optimal program, which is always an extremal point of the set of base
The main idea is to pass from a base program to another, until, after a finite number of steps, one
reach to an optimal program. The set of optimal programs is a convex one.
In this respect, there are a variety of methods and algorithms that lead to finding an optimum , .
We remark that the optimum is not given by a formula, but it is obtained by these methods or
algorithms as a solution of a system of equations and / or inequations (this system is obtained as a
result of modeling the counseling process). Obviously, the solution depends on the nature and
complexity of this system, on the chosen / used method or algorithm, but especially on the accuracy of
measurement and on the closeness of the studied process to the existing reality.
There are situations when
- the optimal solution is unique, but there are situations when
- there are multiple optimal solutions when, using a convex combination, one can choose a
convenient parameter so that the optimal solution satisfies additional requirements, beneficial in the
The optimization process supposes a selection from the set of solutions/possible options such that the
chosen solution/alternative is the best according to a set of criteria/requirements that are predefined.
Assignment problems regard the allocation of applicants according to their personal competences, so
- the effects at the global level must be optimal (productivity, benefits, results, efficiency, affected
resources, affected time etc.);
- the effects at individual level must be optimal.
In a professional counseling, the required competences can be regarded as follows:
- a dominant competence is quantified and the others, seen as non-relevant, are neglected or
- a set of competences is considered such that:
- each is quantified and finally their sum forms an overall score or
- each is quantified but finally the overall score is obtained by a weighted sum.
We illustrate in the following a such assignment problem, which we consider in a simplified form for a
better understanding: an assignment problem which aims to optimize professional counseling process,
such that the total time (required for integration / accommodation of adults in certain established /
available jobs) has to be minimal. Thus, suppose that six adults have to be distributed on six
established / available jobs (i.e. n = 6).
First, the level of competences for each adult, then the individual time for integration / accommodation
(according to each job and each adult) are quantified.
Thus, an adult Ai needs a period of time tik for an integration / accommodation on a established /
available job Jk; if the level and nature of its competences are such that he/she cannot be integrated /
not fit for the job (in an agreed reasonable time) then one admit / consider that tik = ∞.
All these data are put in a table having the following form:
AJ J1 J2 J3 J4 J5 J6
A1 11 8 7 ∞ 3 4
A2 7 9 ∞ 13 9 5
A3 10 6 12 6 6 7
A4 7 6 14 5 9 6
A5 10 6 12 9 5 2
A6 3 7 9 10 3 4
For sake of simplicity, we consider the case when an adult is assigned to a single job (i.e. the adult-job
correspondence is bijective). We want to find the optimal allocation, i.e. the total time required for
integration / accommodation of six adults (as a sum of individual time scores) on six established /
available jobs to be optimal, i.e. be minimum.
Applying a suitable algorithm  and following specific steps we obtain the table:
8 3 0 ∞ 0 3
0 0 ∞ 4 2 0
6 0 4 0 2 5
4 1 7 0 6 5
6 0 4 3 1 0
0 2 2 5 0 3
- an optimal assignment (an optimal allocation of six adults on six jobs):
8 3 ◙ ∞ Ø 3
◙ Ø ∞ 4 2 Ø
6 ◙ 4 Ø 2 5
4 1 7 ◙ 6 5
6 Ø 4 3 1 ◙
Ø 2 2 5 ◙ 3
- the optimal time: t13+ t21+ t32+ t44+ t56+ t65=7+7+6+5+2+3=30.
Note that in the case when in the intermediate steps, some other working possibilities (working
intermediate variants) are taken into account, then, at the end of the algorithm, the final matrix is the
same. The optimal solution is therefore the same and it is independent of the chosen working version.
For any finite natural number n one can proceed analogously as for n = 6 in this example.
Let us note that there are situations when there are multiple optimal solutions (obviously, the optimum
remains the same). In such cases, we can write a linear convex combination of founded optimal
Adults Allocated job
solutions and we can choose appropriate parameters, so that the chosen optimum satisfies additional
requirements (additional policies for professional counseling).
Let us also note that there are many such problems of this nature that can be solved using different
methods or mathematical modeling or optimization algorithms. In general, any social / professional /
economical / etc. process that targets a level of performance / efficiency / productivity and is a subject
to optimization, is suitable for a such approach.
Also note that the involved systems are not static systems but most of them are dynamic systems
and mathematical modeling must take into account this fact.
Our idea was to propose a suitable mathematical model - the assignment problem model – in order to
obtain an optimum for a professional counseling process, better than an optimum obtained by non-
mathematical methods. This approach and the assignment algorithms have a very promising potential
for modeling and solving such a type of complex optimization problems. In practice, all the individual
competences required for a given job can be quantified, so that numerical values can be associated,
using a predetermined scale; these values are numerical data that are processed using specific
mathematical algorithms and techniques. Finally, this lead us to an optimal assignment.
These problems are very complex and the involved systems are not static systems but most of them
are dynamic systems, thus the mathematical modeling have to take into account this fact.
Consequently, we consider that the above approach can be further improved and it would be a
solution of great potential to find in this way an optimum for professional counseling process in a more
general case / context. This is scheduled as a future work.
 M. Armstrong (2006), A handbook of human resource management practice, 10th ed.,
Cambridge University Press.
 R. Emilian, G. Tigu, O. State, C. Tuclea, Human resource management (in romanian),
 Commission of the European Communities (2006), Key Competences for Lifelong Learning,
annex of a Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council , Official Journal of
the European Union on 30 December 2006/L394.
 R. A. Pilgrim, Munkres' Assignment Algorithm. Modified for Rectangular Matrices, Course notes,
Murray State University. http://csclab.murraystate.edu/bob.pilgrim/445/munkres.html.
 P. Popescu, M. Popescu (2001), Applied Mathematics (in romanian), Reprograph Publ.House,
 J. Clark, D. Holton (1991), A First Look At Graph Theory, World Scientific Publishing.
 A. Hertz, N. Lahrichi (2011), Client assignment algorithms for home care services - Formal
Modeling and Analysis of Timed Systems - 9th International Conference, FORMATS 2011,
Aalborg, Denmark, September 21-23, 2011. Proceedings.
 P. Karich (2012), Optimizing Educational Schedules Using Hungarian Algorithm and Iterated
Local Search, http://karussell.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/patat10-pkarich-timefinder.pdf.
 L. Özbakir, A. Baykasoglu, P. Tapkan (2010), Bees algorithm for generalized assignment
problem, Applied Mathematics and Computation, 215, 3782–3795.
 J. M. Whitacre (2011), Recent trends indicate rapid growth of nature-inspired optimization in
academia and industry, Computing, 93 (2-4) / December 2011.
 G. B. Dantzig, M. N. Thapa (2003), Linear Programming 2: Theory and Extensions. Springer-
Women Skills Needed in the Process of Searching for a Job
Employment problems became topical in Latvia after the economic and mental crisis began in
2008. A job is one of the most important factors that affects the life quality and also health of an
individual. The labour market changes very fast, new technologies are introduced, requirements
change and increase for employees, and women, too, have to develop themselves and their
professional skills or to change their occupation in order to ensure a possibility to overcome any
situation in their life. Today human life sets additional requirements, and it is necessary to continue
learning at any age. It might be: another higher education, taking training courses, self-education, or
activity in professional associations. Individuals have to observe the situation in the labour market and
to understand what is presently topical both in their professional field and in the labour market in
general. Every skill an individual has is as additional advantage or possibility that may become useful
if the job is lost or changed. The paper includes research results on the role of women’s skills in the
process of searching for a job and in career development. The research aim is to investigate the
women’s skills needed in the process of searching for a job. To achieve the aim, a questionnaire
survey of women was conducted. The most important skills needed in the process of searching for a
job and for successful careers of women were identified in the survey; they are: the skill to organise
their work, the skill to independently make decisions, the skill to use a computer to work with texts,
foreign language skills, and the skill to find solutions to problems. In the result, it was concluded that to
make a process of searching for a job successful, women have to actively work, identify their skills,
develop their skills, and acquire new skills. The research findings will contribute to an understanding of
women’s career development and the necessary skills for it.
Keywords: women’s career, skills, jobs.
The development of a women’s career is more complicated than that of a men’s career, as several
internal and external barriers exist, including family duties, the role of life, employment, the
surrounding environment, traditions, and stereotypes which both make the choice of a women’s career
and the career’s development more complicated and constraint them .
To understand the specifics of women’s professional career, scientists explain the relations
between employment and a career. A career is defined as a sequence of employment-related
positions, roles, activities, and experiences which unify a job, a career, and a profession, with the
situation of being unemployed being included as well. It means that a career may develop not only
upwards, but during a period of career women may get into various situations and be in different
statuses of employment . So, employment relates to a professional career through the change of
the status of employment.To satisfy basic needs, a job is necessary to women. In the situation of
being unemployed, especially if it is long-term unemployment, the satisfaction of needs starting with
the basic level is endangered for women, therefore, the other levels of needs are not satisfied,
relations with surrounding individuals are traumatised, which affects, as a chain reaction, the whole
The research aim is to investigate the women’s skills needed in the process of searching for a job.
2 MATERIALS AND METHODS
A questionnaire survey was conducted from 30 December 2011 to 16 January 2012 to gain insight
into the development of a women’s career and the necessary skills in order to build or change a
In the survey, 39 women participated. According to the questionnaire survey, women mostly aged
29-58 participated in the survey; their age range is 29 years. Since the respondents were selected –
women working at the State Police, other women who use the social website www.draugiem.lv. The
respondents were asked to rank the skills that affect the development of a successful women’s career
and are essential in the process of searching for a job by significance.
The research aim is to investigate the women’s skills needed in the process of searching for a job.
• To make a theoretical research on skills and their acquisition possibilities in Latvia.
• To identify educational possibilities for developing skills in Latvia.
• To analyse the opinion of women on the necessary skills in the process of searching for a
To execute the research tasks and achieve the research aim, the legal framework and various
information sources were exploited. Descriptive statistics was employed to analyse statistical data; a
sociological research method – a questionnaire survey – was used to identify women’s skills needed
in the process of searching for a job. The location of conducting the survey was the State Employment
Agency’s Jelgava Regional Department, the State Police’s Zemgale Regional Department, and social
3 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The present paper includes research results on the women’s skills that are needed to
successfully develop a career as well as are significant in the process of searching for a job.
Characteristics of the respondents. According to the questionnaire survey, women mostly aged 29-58
participated in the survey; their age range is 29 years. Since the respondents were selected – women
working at the State Police, other women who use the social website www.draugiem.lv, and among
acquaintances – a trend emerged that by education, 48.72% had higher education, 25.64% had a
master’s degree, and 25.64% of the women had secondary education. Not a single respondent had
primary or even lower education as it is usual when conducting a survey of the unemployed. It
indicates that their educational level allows them to find and maintain a job (Fig.1).
Fig.1. Percentage distribution of the respondents by educational level
Data obtained from 30 December 2011 to 16 January 2012 by anonymously surveying women,
The respondents were asked to rank the skills that affect the development of a successful women’s
career and are essential in the process of searching for a job by significance (Table 1).
Ranking of the most significant skills promoting the development of a successful women’s career
Data obtained from 30 December 2011 to 16 January 2012 by anonymously surveying women, n=39
Organisation of one’s work 1
Making decisions independently 2
Computer skills for working with texts 3
Foreign language skills 4
Finding solutions to problems 5
Solution of problem situations 6
Precise execution of job tasks 7
Acting in changing situations 8
Computer skills for search for information 9
Computer skills for work with numerical information 10
Cooperation with other people 11
Purposeful development of a career 12
Taking responsibility 13
Computer skills for communication 14
Convincing of one’s own opinion 15
Management of other people 16
Hearing other people out 17
Use of body and sign languages 18
According to the respondents, the ranking of the most significant skills that promote the
development of a successful career is as follows: the skill to organise one’s work is in Position 1;
Position 2 – the skill to independently make decisions; Position 3 – the skill to use a computer for
working with texts; Position 4 – foreign language skills; and Position 5 – the skill to find solutions to
According to the Memorandum on Lifelong Education, which states the main six ideas, its
implementation ensures the development and competitiveness of women’s career. One of them
stresses the acquisition of new basic skills. Acquiring new basic skills increases employment
opportunities for women, as economic and social changes transform and enlarge the list of basic skills
that are needed to anyone at a minimal extent to actively participate in their working life, family life,
and public events of all kinds. The new skills included in the conclusions by the Lisbon European
Council are skills in information and communication technologies (hereinafter – ICT), foreign language
skills, skills in technological culture and business, and social skills .
A skill is ability to perform an action according to the necessary quality standards and quantity; it is
a prerequisite for completing an action. It is a level of knowledge and techniques that allows an
individual to purposefully use it in his/her actions. Individuals develop part of their skills by naturally
gaining experiences (for instance, the skill to walk), while other skills they obtain by knowingly
exercising themselves or under the guidance of a specialist (for instance, computer skills). A skill is
developed owing to comprehensive and repeated exercises performed by individuals and may be
endlessly perfected .
The general skills necessary for Latvia’ social and economic needs are classified as follows:
• social skills;
• organisational and management skills;
• computer skills;
• foreign language skills.
Detailed information is presented in Table 1.
General skills necessary for Latvia’ social and economic needs 
General skills necessary for Latvia’ social and economic needs
• Cooperation with other people
• Solution of problem situations
• Hearing other people out
• Convincing of one’s own opinion
• Use of body and sign languages
Computer skills for:
• Work with texts
• Work with numerical information
• Search for information
Organisational and management skills:
• Taking responsibility
• Precise execution of job tasks
• Organisation of one’s work
• Finding solutions to problems
• Acting in changing situations
• Making decisions independently
• Management of other people
• Purposeful development of a career
Foreign language skills:
• Other language
Since people usually obtain their first profession early in their life, the change of profession occurs at
the adult age, although it may be different for women, as their early marriage and the bringing up of their
child may postpone the acquisition of a profession. Therefore, lifelong education enables individuals to
learn and develop themselves within their profession, thus achieving a higher qualification level, or to
obtain another profession, reintegrate into the labour market, and gain satisfaction and success. Adult
education is defined as a diversified education that is focused on adults and provides their personal
development and competitiveness in the labor market through the entire life .
Possibilities to obtain and extend knowledge through the entire life in Latvia is provided by both the
national government and local governments and the private sector as well as the large network of
formal and informal educational organisations, and every year such possibilities are extended and
enhanced. Adults may continue or start their studies at various educational institutions and in different
• Evening schools. Evening (shift) secondary schools are appropriate for adults who had
stopped their studies at general secondary educational institutions and now wish start studies again.
People of various ages study at evening schools in different periods (during the daytime or in the
evening), therefore, such studies may be combined with a job, and at the same time it is a possibility
to provide for their living.
• Professional continuing education. Professional continuing education is a special type of
professional education that enables adults having an education and professional experiences to
acquire a professional qualification of certain level. The role of professional continuing education
increases from year to year, as people have to learn new technologies and to adapt to the changing
labour market. Nowadays people cannot be competitive if their knowledge is not extended, therefore,
continuing education becomes more popular. By completing a professional continuing education
programme, a professional qualification is obtained.
• Training of job seekers and their re-qualification. The situation in the labour market of
Latvia determines the need to continuously improve one’s knowledge and skills to ensure one’s
competitiveness in the labour market. Measures oriented towards the reduction of unemployment
and the inclusion of individuals into the labour market emphasise and support the personal initiative
of any member of society (a job seeker, an unemployed individual etc.), thus changing their status in
the labour market and increasing employment. Only specialists meeting the increasing requirements
of labour market are able to find a job and thus provide themselves with income and a sufficiently
high standard of living. The main goal of training (formal and informal) and re-qualification of job
seekers is to increase their personal ability to compete in the labour market. It is in the interest of job
seekers themselves to find a job as soon as possible after completing their training course and to
complete the training programmes that best meet the requirements of employers. Therefore,
computer courses, business studies etc. are also included in acquiring many professions.
• Educational possibilities for adults in the regions. Adult education is a component of
educational system which is determined by the development needs of the whole country and each
region and by the specifics of population composition and the population’s abilities and interests.
Adult education is implemented owing to the interaction of supply of and demand for education and
is based on cooperation among employers, employees, and the national (local) government; it
develops in the interest of achieving the balanced development of the country and its regions and is
available to individuals of all ages through the entire their life regardless of their previous education
Adult education is the most significant and extensive stage in the structure of continuing education
just because the life period of adults is much longer than the period of childhood and youth,
according to T.Koķe .
• Distance learning. Distance learning is a type of education in which there is no direct contact
between an individual who studies and a teacher. It is mainly intended for adults who feel a need
and are ready to contribute their time and energy to self-improvement and to obtaining new skills and
a new professional qualification. Distance learning is based on independent studies, therefore, the
methodological quality of teaching aids and the extensive use of technological means (radio,
television, audio and video records, computer networks, information and communication
technologies etc.) play a great role in learning. Distance learning or e-studies is a possibility to any
individual to study at the most appropriate time, location, and pace. People who have left Latvia and
wish to continue their education and maintain a link with their country especially prefer distance
• Interest education. Interest education is the satisfaction of educational needs and wishes of
individuals regardless of their age and previous education as well as opportunities for spending
leisure time beyond formal education. Interest education enables anyone to improve and develop
their skills and satisfy interests in dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, painting, foreign
languages, sports, environmental research, or other areas. Interest education is voluntary, and no
adequate education of certain level is required to start it. Interest education is not static, new interest
groups are established, courses are held, and new kinds for educating individuals are created.
• Training of prisoners and individuals released from imprisonment. The goal of educating
and training prisoners and individuals released from imprisonment is to struggle against the
discrimination and inequality of any kind in the labour market and to promote the inclusion of
individuals subject to the risk of social exclusion into the society. Although part of former prisoners
could enter the labour market, yet, not all of them have necessary knowledge, motivations, and
possibilities to successfully obtain an education and start working. Obtaining an education promotes
the integration of former prisoners into the society and labour market and the reduction of
unemployment among the individuals of this target group. One of the important goals of social
rehabilitation of prisoners and former prisoners is to develop social skills .
• Training of people with special needs. People with special needs may be included in the
educational system at all its levels. The national government enables them to obtain practical and
social skills needed in order to facilitate the full and equal participation of people with special needs
in the educational system and public life. In order that people with special needs can acquire a new
profession or enhance their professional knowledge and develop their skills, professional
rehabilitation services are offered in the country, for instance, the State Social Integration Agency
operates for already 15 years, which offers professional rehabilitation based on extensive vocational
and professional secondary and higher educational programmes.
• Training of pre-retirement age individuals and retirees. It becomes topical to engage pre-
retirement age individuals and retirees in the labour market, as the number of old-age individuals
grows, and it is necessary to offer additional educational possibilities for both the working population
and those presently being outside the labour market. Retirees and pre-retirement age individuals
with 5 years left to retire are offered special modular training programmes that promote the economic
activity of these people and allow them to adapt to the changing labour market conditions. It is a
possibility to prolong engagement in the labour market for those who are not able or do not wish to
work in their profession due to various reasons, but they are ready to acquire new skills .
It is not sufficient to raise qualifications, and, to the same extent, it is necessary to reduce the
disparity between the supply of skills to the demand for skills in the labour market .
• Lifelong education provides a positive result to women if their obtained knowledge may be used
at work and in social life and to increase their self-confidence. Knowledge acquired through
lifelong education influences the development of women and their progress in their career
through the entire life, and their inclusion in the labour market promotes the development of the
whole national economy. when the labour market changes fast, new technologies are introduced,
requirements change and increase for employees, and women, too, have to develop themselves
and their professional skills or to change their occupation in order to ensure a possibility to
overcome any situation in their life.
• The general skills necessary for Latvia’ social and economic needs are classified as follows:
social skills, communication skills, organisational and management skills, computer skills, and
foreign language skills;
• Possibilities to obtain and extend knowledge through the entire life in Latvia is provided by both
the national government and local governments and the private sector as well as the large
network of formal and informal educational organisations, and every year such possibilities are
extended and enhanced. Adults may continue or start their studies at various educational
institutions, evening schools, lifelong education centres for adults, interest education centres,
prisons, state social integration agencies, and state employment agencies.
• According to the empirical survey data, the following skills promote the development of a
successful career: Position 1 – the skill to organise one’s work; Position 2 – the skill to
independently make decisions; Position 3 – the skill to use a computer for working with texts;
Position 4 – foreign language skills; and Position 5 – the skill to find solutions to problems.
 Arhipova I., Bāliņa S. (2000). Statistika ar MS Excell ikvienam: Mācību līdzeklis 2. daļa. Rīga:
Datorzinību centrs, p. 136.
 Koķe T. (1999). Pieaugušo izglītības attīstība: raksturīgākās iezīmes. Rīga: SIA „Mācību apgāds
NT”, p 102.
 Mikuda S. (2004) Latvijas sociālajām un ekonomiskajām vajadzībām nepieciešamās vispārējās
prasmes/ Gurbo M., Jemeļjanova I., Mikuda S. Izglītības kvalitāte un efektivitāte Latvijā. Pētījumu
ziņojumi. Rīga: IZM, Izglītības sistēmas attīstības projekts.
 Mūžizglītības memorands. Available at:http://www.tip.edu.lv/faili/Muzizglitibas_memorands.doc
 Mūžizglītība Tavai izaugsmei (2008). Izglītības un zinātnes ministrija. Available at
 Mūžu dzīvo, mūžu mācies. Diskusija. Available at: http://www.laea.lv/44/section.aspx/258
 Jaunas prasmes jaunām darba vietām.Saskaņotu darba tirgus vajadzību un prasmju plānošana
(2008). Komisijas paziņojums Eiropas parlamentam, padomei, Eiropas ekonomikas un sociālo
lietu komitejai un reģionu komitejai. Available at: http://eur-
 Patton W. (Ed) (2006). Carrer Development and Systems Theory. Available at:
 Pedagoģisko terminu skaidrojošā vārdnīca - http://www.liis.lv/talakizglitiba/termini.htm
Pieaugušo izglītības resursi Latvijā. Available at: http://www.liis.lv/talakizglitiba/resursil.htm
Rācene A. (2011). Sieviešu karjeras attīstības teorētiskie aspekti. LLU TF Studentu un
maģistrantu zinātniskā konferences materiāli. Available at:
Rācene A. (2012). Factors Hindering the Process of Search for Jobs. In: Rural Environment.
Education. Personality. (REEP). Proceedings of the 5th International Scientific Conference, Nr. 5.
Jelgava: LLU, pp. 306-312.
Sociālās rehabilitācijas programma ieslodzītajiem un bijušajiem. Dzīves skola 2. (2006). Sociālā
darba un sociālās pedagoģijas augstskola “Attīstība”. Available at:
Testing of the Validpack instrument in Latvia, Estonia and Finland:
The opinions of experts
, Lūcija Rutka2
, Anni Karttunen3
, Larissa Jõgi4
Leading researcher, University of Latvia (LATVIA)
Professor, University of Latvia (LATVIA)
Expert in European Educational Policy, EUedu – Centre of Expertise in European
Educational Policy, Savo Consortium for Education (FINLAND)
Associate professor, Tallinn University (ESTONIA)
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Anni.email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The paper aims at providing an overview of the European Commission (EC) project "Capitalizing on
Validpack: going Europe wide – CAPIVAL” (2010-2012). The intention of the project is to exploit the
results of the VINEPAC project with a special focus on the Validpack instrument of validation of adult
educators’ competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning settings. The paper highlights
the key findings from a comparative study conducted in autumn 2011. The main results of Validpack
testing in Latvia, Estonia and Finland are analysed in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses
of Validpack and its adaptation opportunities in different national contexts.
Keywords: adult educator, competence, validation, professionalization, Validpack instrument.
Professionalization in adult education is a current issue and it is being discussed in many different
contexts within Europe identifying some challenges such as European policy for the
professionalization of adult education; development of an adult education identity, discourse on adult
educators’ competences . Many adult educators interact with adults in a didactical way without an
explicit qualification for their activity; most of them have acquired their competences on the job,
through work experience, training, voluntary activities. Validation of adult educators’ competences
developed in non-formal and informal learning settings becomes as an alternative to the formal
educational pathway . Discussions about competences in the field of adult education and an
attempt to define adult educators’ competence profiles are taking place on the European level. Without
a concrete understanding of the competences that are relevant for adult educators, it would be
impossible to decide whether or not an adult educator is competent to carry out their tasks and
whether they are professional in what they are doing. Therefore, the definition of relevant
competences is an important step towards professionalization .
Professionalization of adult educators and validation and recognition of their competences acquired in
non-formal and informal contexts have been hot topics on the EU agenda in the last years. Through its
activities, the EC project "Capitalizing on Validpack: going Europe wide – CAPIVAL” (www.capival.eu)
makes a step forward in this respect. The aim of the project is to test the functionality and
effectiveness of the validation instrument of adult educators’ psycho-pedagogical competences (i.e.
Validpack) in different European countries and to adapt it to the needs of these national contexts. In
order to do this, CAPIVAL extends the use of Validpack by setting up a network of Validpack national
contact points in over 20 European countries; testing and adapting Validpack to different national
characteristics and contexts; developing and testing a training course for competence assessors;
developing a reference material for the competence assessment process.
The Validpack instrument is the product of VINEPAC project “Validation of informal and non-formal
psycho-pedagogical competencies of adult educators” (www.vinepac.eu) which was carried out in
2006-2008. The VINEPAC project set up a competence profile for adult educators in the field of
activity ’teaching’ that provides a basis for validation of adult educators’ competences. The adult
educators’ competence profile is divided into competence clusters and standards , . Validpack is
organized around three main validation steps: self-evaluation (consists of reflection of biography,
learning processes/ learning outcomes, competences), external evaluation (includes observation and
evaluation with a help of a competency-based observation checklist) and consolidation (the results
have to be consolidated and written in a portfolio/ validation sheet) , , . The validation process
is based on a concrete competency framework which has been developed within the VINEPAC project
taking into consideration the findings of previous studies and projects.
This paper gives a short analysis of the results of the comparative study conducted in autumn 2011
during the EC project "Capitalizing on Validpack: going Europe wide – CAPIVAL” with a special
emphasis on the experts’ opinion. A methodology and the main empirical findings of the research (e.g.
Validpack testing) in Latvia, Estonia and Finland will be analysed in order to identify the strengths and
weaknesses of Validpack and its adaptation opportunities in different national contexts. General
feedback and conclusions of the Latvian, Estonian and Finnish experts regarding Validpack will be
2 Methodology of the research
The Validpack dissemination and exploitation strategy is based on the network of national contact points
(NCPs). A NCP is an institution/ organization from an EU member state concerned with adult learning and
quality of teachers/ trainers. The main tasks of NCP are: to test Validpack in its own national and
institutional context; to give feedback on the Validpack instrument. Each NCP has to appoint/ designate an
expert from its organization/institution who has to select at least five trainers who are operating/ activating
in adult education field, no matter if they are activating in vocational education and training field or in
general adult education field. The expert should provide the trainers with the Validpack instrument and to
work closely with the Capival project partner who subcontracted the organization/ institution.
Between May 2011 and February 2012 the CAPIVAL partnership has carried out Validpack testing
phase in order to identify its usefulness and potential in different national contexts. Through the
network of NCPs the Validpack instrument has been tested in 11 different countries by 62 trainers.
Trainers involved in the testing phase were adult educators working in different systems, public or
private institutions related with adult education.
The methodology of the testing phase was structured in two testing sessions, in which the trainers
analysed the main aspects of the Validpack instrument (see Table 1). The aim of the first testing
session was to have a first impression of the trainers on the Validpack instrument. During the second
session of testing the trainers worked closely with the Validpack instrument for a two weeks period
and made a very deep analysis of the main categories. Then the national report was written by expert
from each NCP. It was the final step of the Validpack testing phase and it aimed to summarise the
results of two testing sessions.
All main aspects were analysed by one expert and several (at least five) trainers from each NCP. The
research sample of the paper consisted of 3 experts and 23 trainers from Latvia, Estonia and Finland.
In this paper only the following categories will be presented and analysed: methodology;
competences; support; general feedback of facilitators and general conclusions regarding the
Validpack instrument. The obtained quantitative data has been processed and analysed by
implementing SPSS 17.0 software using data processing and analysis methods such as:
Data matrixes (spreadsheets, tables);
Graphical methods (column charts, using 5-point Likert scale: 1 = not useful/ important/
relevant; 5 = very useful/ important/ relevant);
Statistical methods (descriptive statistics, nonparametric test - Kruskal-Wallis Test);
Table 1. Main and extra categories of analysis of the Validpack instrument
Main categories of analysis Extra categories of analysis
• Appearance (layout, size,
• Organization and structure
(sectioning, steps of
validation process, used
• Methodology (autonomy,
• Support (guidance,
• Other aspects
usefulness, quality, time)
• NCP (name of the organization/ institution)
• Testing period
• The number of trainers involved in the testing phase of the
• Previous experience of the expert in validation of
• General information regarding validation of competences in
NCP country (system, laws, good practices in the acquisition
and certification of competences in non-formal and informal
learning, instruments for validating)
• General feedback of the trainers regarding the Validpack
• General feedback of the expert regarding the Validpack
• General conclusions (strengths and weaknesses of the
Validpack instrument; suggestions for the future)
3 Empirical findings of the research in Latvia, Estonia and Finland
3.1 Competences outlined in the Validpack handbook
The opinion of the facilitators from Latvia, Estonia and Finland will be presented in this section of the
paper. Besides their opinions the facilitators took into consideration the trainers’ opinions as well. The
respondents (experts and trainers) were asked to answer the open-ended question ‘What is your
opinion regarding the clusters of competences outlined in the Validpack handbook?” The Latvian
expert emphasizes that her ‘opinion is different from the opinion of some of the trainers who think that
there are too many competences. I consider that this instrument provides all competences that are
essential and based on which it is possible to assess the psycho-pedagogical competence not only of
pedagogues but also of representatives of other professional fields…’ The Estonian expert is of the
opinion that ‘This part of the materials is the weakest, because the main focus of the learning
outcomes seems to be aimed at trainers in formal education, it is fit to be used in this format (of
course, adapted to the Estonian education context for professional exams of teachers in schools for
adults)…’ The Finnish expert considers that ‘The competence clusters created a lot of discussion
among the trainers. They pointed out some very important factors that at least in the Finnish teaching
culture are in a very important position, such as learning environments (which is much more than just
technical tools, but practically the entire world), networking skills… Also the theoretical framework
created a lot of discussion: how important is it actually to know the theoretical framework? Should it be
a requirement? Should it be included in the orientation phase when hiring a new teacher without
pedagogical qualifications or even with a qualification?’ As indicated by the Kruskal-Wallis Test there
were no significant differences between the experts’ responses depending on the represented country
(p>0,05), however, the Estonian expert was more critical minded than the Latvian and Finnish experts
(see Fig. 1).
Relevance Coherence Degree of
Intelligibility Suited for
Fig 1. Experts’ evaluations regarding the clusters of competences outlined in the Validpack instrument
Taking into consideration the results of descriptive statistics of the experts’ evaluations regarding the
clusters of competences (see Table 2) it could be concluded that in general the clusters of
competences outlined in the Validpack instrument should to be discussed and defined more clearly
(mean=2,67-3,33; median=3,00; mode=1-3).
Table 2. Descriptive statistics of the experts’ evaluations regarding the clusters of competences
outlined in the Validpack instrument
Statistic Std. Error
Relevance 3,33 ,333 3,00 3
Coherence 3,00 ,000 3,00 3
Degree of applicability 2,67 ,333 3,00 3
Areas of applicability 2,33 ,667 3,00 3
Intelligibility 3,00 ,000 3,00 3
Clusters of competences
Suited for different adult
2,67 ,882 3,00 1
a. Multiple modes exist. The smallest value is shown
3.2 Methodology of the Validpack handbook
Two questions were devoted to the methodology of the Validpack instrument. The respondents
(experts and trainers) were asked to answer the open-ended question ‘What is your opinion regarding
the autonomy of the Validpack handbook?’ The Latvian expert finds that the handbook is ‘an
autonomous instrument which can be used to assess one’s psycho-pedagogical competence in varied
situations and varied contexts.’ The Estonian expert emphasizes that ‘The methodological principles
and basis of the materials remained unclear to me.’ According to the Finnish expert ‘In Finland there
are various teacher trainings for different target groups; VET teachers, general subject teachers and
pedagogical studies for higher education teachers. All have a slightly different curriculum and
therefore if this tool would be used to formalize the results of validation, the competencies may have to
be changed a little according to the requirements in the curricula. The liberal adult education could
benefit from this tool, since they do not have many law-bound restrictions when it comes to hiring
The respondents (experts and trainers) were asked to answer the open-ended question ‘What is your
opinion regarding the addressability of the Validpack handbook to the diversity of individual career
pathways?’ In the Latvian expert’s opinion ‘The instrument can be used by trainers of different groups
in different contexts. Moreover, it can be used as a basis for making study programmes and courses
for promoting one’s psycho-pedagogical competence.’ The Estonian expert thinks that ‘Through
professional use and further development of the materials, individual educational/ work process can
be taken into account. The self evaluation part of the materials support this well.’ According to the
Finnish expert ‘This factor is also strongly in connection with the national legislation and the
requirements set by it. However, the Finnish team also discussed the possibilities of using the tool in
other contexts than validation: this tool would be good as a self-development tool and a useful tool in
the recruitment process. This could also work as a basis for teacher training programmes (a
competence based training programme) that would also allow validation as an integral part of gaining
the qualification (which is done to some extent, but not as a rule in Finland).’
3.3 Support offered in the Validpack handbook
The respondents (experts and trainers) were asked to answer the open-ended question ‘What is your
opinion regarding the guidance, examples and explanations offered in the Validpack handbook?”
According to the Latvian expert ‘In general, examples and explanations are rather clear. Maybe in
some situations there might be confusion which would lead to questions like to what extent the trainer
can vary and modify the instrument in one’s particular situation.’ The Estonian expert emphasizes that
‘The guide needs clarifications in methodological principles and defining the key terminology.’ The
Finnish expert points out that ‘If the target group using this tool are people with no pedagogical
qualifications, they may have a hard time understanding the competencies without further examples
and explanations. The indicators should also be included in the self-assessment part so that the
assessment procedure would be as transparent as possible. Also the indicators clarify the meaning a
4 Conclusions and discussion
The Latvian expert concludes that in the context of Latvia the Validpack instrument would be of real
practical value because it is comprehensive and universal. It would be important to introduce a system
of assessing competences into the context of Latvia. The Validpack instrument gives an opportunity to
fully assess one’s psycho-pedagogical competence. This instrument can be taken as a basis not only
for assessment procedures but also for creating study programmes. From Latvian expert’s point of
view, there are no essential drawbacks in the instrument. However, there are a few issues for
discussion, for example: how to adapt it to varied professional contexts effectively; how to design it in
a more effective way not to use so much paper; how to save time when working with the instrument. In
order to adapt this validation instrument to be suitable for the national context it is necessary to take
the following steps: to improve the instrument and translate it into Latvian; to introduce amendments
into the law on education and other documents that would determine the use of this instrument; to
organise additional courses for evaluators.
The Estonian expert concludes that the volume of the materials is optimal in the context of
assessment of learning and prior work experience but the materials need to be adapted to specific
situations (such as training, professional examination, evaluation, supervision); different adult trainers’
target groups should be taken into account; the guide needs clarifications in the methodological
principles and defining the key terminology. The Validpack instrument works well as a tool for
assessment of trainers of adult educators at the Association of Estonian Adult Educators. Since the
circle of assessors will be expanded and the professional standard of the assessor will be developed,
the Validpack instrument will be useful in the assessment process of assessors. The Estonian
Qualifications Authority as a NCP could facilitate wider adaptation of the Validpack instrument
techniques and forms in the process of training and certifying assessors provided it has been adjusted
to the corresponding assessment context. The problem with Validpack is too many details and
emphasis on didactics.
The Finnish expert concludes that in the context of validating non-formal or informal learning it is
hardly a very good idea to start assessing theoretical frameworks. However, it was suggested that the
tool should include short definitions of the most common theoretical frameworks and then the
candidate could be asked to pick out the one that s/he feels that is used the most in practice. This
could be done with examples from teaching situations. Also the assessment procedure could be
strengthened by involving more stakeholders: this would give the validation results more credibility and
also fairness from the viewpoint of the candidate. In Finland the Validpack instrument should be
modified to fit the national curriculum for pedagogical teacher training programme. The fastest way for
national adaptation is to market the tool to teacher training colleges, where they can use the tool or the
model created in the tool to validate adult educators’ competences when they seek professional
teaching qualifications. Another way is to use the Validpack instrument as a self-development tool for
adult educators, as an instrument in HR management and the recruitment process for teachers.
 Egetenmeyer, R. (2010). Professionalisation in Adult Education: A European Perspective.
Teachers and Trainers in Adult and Lifelong Learning. European and Asian Perspectives.
Egetenmeyer, R. and Nuissl, E. (eds.) Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, pp. 31-44.
 Lupou, R. (2010). Validation of Adult Educators’ Competences: European Need, Solution and
Transfer of Innovation to New Contexts. Teachers and Trainers in Adult and Lifelong Learning.
European and Asian Perspectives. Egetenmeyer, R. and Nuissl, E. (eds.) Peter Lang Verlag,
Frankfurt am Main, pp.167-176.
 Egetenmeyer, R.; Strauch, A. (2009). Professionalisation in Adult Education: German
Perspective. Available at
lesafterproofreadingandrevision/resources_2902.doc [Retrieved on December, 2011]
 VINEPAC (2008a). Handbook for the Use of Validpack for the Validation of Psycho-pedagogical
Adult Educator’s Competences. Sava, S.; Lupou, R. (coord.). Timisoara. Available at
http://www.capival.eu/images/handbook.pdf [Retrieved on November, 2011]
 VINEPAC (2008b). Evaluator’s Guide for the Use of Validpack for the Validation of Psycho-
pedagogical Adult Educator’s Competences. Sava, S.; Lupou, R. (coord.). Timisoara. Available
at http://www.capival.eu/images/guide.pdf [Retrieved on November, 2011]
European Integration Agent and innovative guidance methodology for the
integration of low-skilled immigrants into adult education
Ţoia Maria 1
, Averhed Yevgenyia 2,
Van de Winkel Roger3
Romanian Institute for Adult Education (Romania)
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
In the attempt of overcoming the difficulties that low skilled immigrants are facing towards the
integration in adult education and into the labour market, the present paper presents the development
of an innovative guidance methodology, elaborated within the project EU Integration Agent –
Innovative Guidance Methodology for Integration of Low-skilled Immigrants into Adult Education -
Grundtvig programme. The design of the guidance methodology is inspired and based on the effective
guidance approach Distance to the Labour Market Model, which is introducing a common approach for
the whole network of stakeholders involved with the process of counselling and guidance of the low-
skilled immigrants. The main purpose of the guidance methodology is to create tailor-made solutions
adjusted to the regional situations in terms of resources, political agenda, legislation and general
specifics of every region. The overall objective of the project is to improve the accessibility towards
adult education for low-skilled immigrants, in order to help them to enter the labour market and
become more active members of society.
Keywords: low skilled immigrants, innovative guidance methodology, stakeholder network, integration
into adult education
More than 73 million adults in the EU currently have low qualifications, and many of them do not have
sufficient literacy levels to cope with the daily requirements of personal, social, and economic life, a
big part of this group being represented by immigrants.(1) While the issue of low levels in basic skills
is not primarily a migration issue, some immigrants face difficulties in acquiring the language skills in
their host country.(2) High skilled European immigrants stand a much stronger chance of successfully
adjusting to the culture and to working conditions in destination countries or to embark on
entrepreneurial ventures in new contexts.(3) The obstacles that low skilled immigrants are facing in
terms of overcoming their condition is not having the necessary understanding of the steps and
procedures they have to take in order to access education. Even given the existence of adequate
training provision and educational services, this does not guarantee participation of the low skilled
immigrants, unless having the appropriate guidance for the choice of “right” training for concrete
individual, in accordance with his/her capabilities/ needs.
In this perspective, the European Integration Agent - IGMA project sets up the premises for developing
an effective guidance offered by the stakeholder network, meaning that all stakeholders dealing with
different aspects of the integration of low-skilled immigrants into education/labour market should
coordinate their actions. The IGMA project aims at developing an innovative guidance methodology
based on 3 elements:
- Integration Ladder Method with the individual in the centre. This represents a process approach
which embraces the total number of steps that an individual should take in order to enter the labour
market through adult education. Clear goals and resources are formulated for each step of the
Integration Ladder, in order to enhance outcome orientation. By this method the stakeholders are able
to measure on which step at the Ladder an individual is standing. Based on the position on this ladder
the Individual Plan is designed with concrete steps and goals, and which the individual has to take in
order to enter the labour market through adult education. The result is a transparent action plan for the
concerned individual and for the involved stakeholders.
- Coordination among stakeholders. Based on a common understanding of this individual
integration process and the Individual Plan, an agreement between involved stakeholders is
elaborated. The agreement defines which stakeholder is responsible of a certain step at the ladder
and what is the expected contribution of the stakeholder (achieving one or more next steps). This
provides a common framework for the stakeholders to coordinate their efforts in order to achieve the
main goal of the individual action plan.
- Progress Management Method is the method for cooperation among stakeholders during the
implementation of the Individual Action Plan based on clearly established goals and contributions
measurable at each step of the ladder.
2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND INVESTIGATION OF THE FIELD
When talking about integration of low skilled immigrants into adult education or the labour market, a
coordinated approach is needed and all relevant stakeholders should be involved in the process. The
project addresses this issue by developing an innovative guidance methodology for coordinated
measures, the innovative character of this approach being the following:
- Development of a professional standard and targeted training for workers from adult education
sector, NGOs and public authorities regarding methodology, networking and guidance for
(re)integration of low-skilled immigrants into adult education / labour market.
- Promotion of the adult education as a bridge for further integration of low-skilled immigrants into
- Sensitising the relevant stakeholders (adult educators, NGOs, Public Employment Services / Social
Welfare Office staff and employers) to the needs of the low-skilled immigrants and importance of adult
education in their integration into the labour market.
The IGMA guidance methodology is inspired and based on the effective guidance approach Distance
to the Labour Market (DLM). The DLM Model is introducing a common approach for the whole network
as to enable it to become more effective in its efforts to help the individual entering the Labour Market.
In this view, education is for many individuals a necessary vehicle to reach this aim. Traditionally in
guidance, a heavy input is placed on delivering labour market information to help people to find a job
or a training programme. In DLM-view it is of no use delivering labour market information if the person
is not able to use it in the proper way. Even more, depending on the kind of divergence between
personal qualities and Labour Market requirements, the type of information that will help this person
will be different. This divergence can be traced to several dimensions being: vocational and more
function oriented qualifications, social qualifications, psychological profile and the capabilities of the
individual to promote these three. These three dimensions together determine whether a person’s
qualities can be matched easily with the Labour Market requirements or not. This innovative approach
combines effectively constructivism and socio constructivism (f.e. see Bronfenbrenner (4), Gergen
(5)), the cognitive and learning theoretical perspective (f.e. see Piaget (10), Kohlberg (6)), and the
learning and development perspective as expressed by different Dutch theoreticians on career
counselling (Meijers and Weijers (7,11) and theoricians like Peavy (8)) in a new outcome and
improvement oriented perspective (9).
An investigation of the field was carried out by the project partnership in 6 countries (Sweden, the
Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Romania), which looked at the existing systems and relevant
stakeholders involved in the guidance process of low skilled immigrants. Desk research, interviews
and stakeholder workshop were conducted in order to establish each countries situation, taking into
account the following aspects: position of low skilled immigrants, stakeholders involved and their
different roles and tasks, profile and roles of the professionals involved, challenges for further
The main findings of the investigation highlighted comparable situations between the partner
- Most of the immigrants usually work in unskilled and underpaid jobs, having difficulties in integrating
into adult education. Access to education and labour market is limited, due to their migrants’ status
(legal and social) and lack of adequate skills. Low knowledge level of the host country language is
only one of the disadvantages. Also, there is a lack of tailor made methods and tools needed for the
integration of low-skilled immigrants into the labour market based on their needs. They usually “fall
under average measures for all unemployed”.
- There is a wide range of stakeholders involved in the process, performing different tasks in the
integration of low skilled immigrants, but the important aspect to be mentioned is that most of the
times these roles and tasks of stakeholders are overlapping, which generates inefficiency of work and
deteriorated results and raises even additional barriers for the target group. The lack of a network and
cooperation among stakeholders is a crucial aspect and represents the starting point for developing
the IGMA guidance methodology
- The profile of the professionals involved cover a large variety of occupations, the most common
being counsellors/advisors, trainers, social workers, employment/labour market agents, job coaches,
case managers. The roles of these professionals are also quite diverse, some of the tasks being
performed from an unqualified position. Among the main challenges regarding the efficiency of their
work is the management of big case loads and lack of appropriate training.
3 THE PERSPECTIVE OFFERED BY THE IGMA PROJECT
During the implementation phase of the project, the first draft of the IGMA guidance methodology has
been designed together with stakeholder networks of partner countries, rather than being designed
for them. The main idea is to create tailor-made solutions adjusted to the regional situations in terms
of resources, political agenda, legislation and general specifics of every region. The project
partnership has agreed that this goal can be achieved only if the stakeholder networks are involved
during research, development of the guidance methodology, testing activities and finalisation of the
The first step of the project was the organisation of the initial workshops for regional networks in each
partner country. The goal of the workshops was to explain the concept of the IGMA guidance
methodology and to create tailor-made solutions which are implementable in the participating
countries. The participants of the workshops were decision-makers as well as practitioners from the
following organisations in partner countries:
• Adult Education providers;
• Public Employment Services;
• Social Welfare Offices;
• Municipalities (divisions working with integration of immigrants);
• Employer representatives
There are four main outcomes of the initial workshops for stakeholder networks:
Outcome 1: Integration Ladder which individuals need “to claim” in order to enter education for
successful integration into society and the labour market. The Integration ladder embraces a certain
number of steps which covers as a process the path from exclusion to active citizenship. The
Integration Ladder elaborated for the stakeholder network in Luleå region in Sweden is the following:
Fig.1 Integration Ladder
Outcome 2: Cooperation and coordination among stakeholders where shared vision, goals and
responsibilities of each organisation in the integration process have been defined. The stakeholder
organisations discussed and agreed on the above issues.
Outcome 3: Progress Measurement approach for cooperation according to the IGMA guidance
methodology, where the achievements and resources are transparent and easy to measure. This
methodology allows focusing on individuals with their needs and capacities as well as optimising
resources available in the regions.
Outcome 4: Dialogue among stakeholders was initiated in the regions regarding the necessity of the
common entry for more effective integration of low-skilled immigrants into society, education and
labour market. The importance of shared vision and responsibilities has been identified as important
prerequisite for individualising of the integration process.
The draft version of the IGMA guidance methodology will be tested and fine-tuned during pilot
activities in the partner countries. The practical templates, manuals and instructions will be included
into the IGMA training manual for stakeholders in order to have practical approach.
The problem of managing the integration of low skilled immigrants into adult education and the labour
market has to be approached in a professional way, through a diversity of coordinated actions and
measures between the stakeholders involved. The main condition for the effective integration of low-
skilled immigrants is an effective guidance offered by the stakeholder network. To achieve this, all
stakeholders dealing with different aspects of integration of low-skilled immigrants into
education/labour market should coordinate their actions and work from one and the same perspective.
This approach allows putting individuals in the centre instead of pushing them through the existing
systems and measures. The proposed guidance methodology will be integrated into existing activities
of the stakeholders, responsible for the counselling and guidance of low-skilled immigrants, registered
at Public Employment Services and Social Welfare Offices. This individual guidance given at right time
by right stakeholder will facilitate the smooth access of low-skilled immigrants into adult education.
The IGMA project is such an example of successful and efficiency trough transnational cooperation.
 xxx (2010). Action Plan on Adult Learning. Basic Skills Provision for adults: Policy and Practice
Guidelines , European Commission,
 xxx (2010). Enabling the low skilled to take their qualifications "ONE STEP UP", European
 xxx (2012). High Level Group of Experts on Literacy. Final Report, European Commission,
 Bronfenbrenner, U., and Morris, P.A., (1998). The ecology of development processes. In: W.
Damon and R.M. Lerner (eds) Handbook of Child Psychology. Vol I, New York: Wiley, p 993-
 Gergen, K. J. (1992). The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary life. New York:
 Kohlberg, L., & Mayer, R. (1972). Development as the aim of education. Harvard Educational
Review, 42, 449–496
 Meijers, F. (1998). The development of a career identity. International Journal for the
Advancement of Counselling, 20, 191–207.
 Peavy, R. V. (1997). SocioDynamic counselling. Victoria, BC. Trafford.
 Senge, P.M., (1990): The Fifth Discipline, Doubleday, Schiedam, Scriptum Books
 Satterly, D. (1987) "Piaget and Education" in R L Gregory (ed.) The Oxford Companion to the
Mind Oxford, Oxford University Press
 Weijers, G. A., & Meijers, F. (1996). Careers guidance in the knowledge society. British Journal
of Guidance and Counselling, 24, 185–198.
IMPROVE: Improving Validation of Competence of Career Guidance
Practitioners -The professional Check up and its results
Tountopoulou Mary, Evangelista Leonardo, Freibergova Zuzana,
Nelson Rachel, Tibu Speranta, Weber Peter
Ison Psychometrica -Greece
Asev – Italy
National Training Fund- Czech Republic
DEP Institute– Spain
ODIP – Romania
University of Heidelberg- Germany
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
IMPROVE - Improving Validation of Competence of Career Guidance Practitioners is an international
project co-financed by the European Commission within the Lifelong Learning Programme, Grundtvig
measure. The IMPROVE project aimed at the development and testing guidelines with competence
recognition of career guidance practitioners. The methodology for validation that was used in the
program was based on a performance based approach, where the elements to be evaluated are job
specific tasks that the practitioner has to master and the assessment is instead based on assessing or
reconstructing performance. The Professional Check-up is a methodology for validation and
improvement of competence of people at work coherent with the IMPROVE Guidelines .The
Check-up consists of 3 meetings carried out face to face in person or in video using Skype during a 1-
3 weeks period. The main purpose of the1st meeting is to give additional information on the process to
the candidate and check the functioning of skype. In the 2nd meeting takes place the evaluation where
the facilitator questions the participant how he/she carries out his/her main task activities, according to
a standard blueprint that is essential for all the facilitators. This methodology used in 2nd meeting is
called PFI – Performance Based Interview. The 3rd meeting includes the feedback on the results the
evaluator gives to the candidate and a plan for improvement or maintenance of his/her competence.
This Check-up was tested in the pilot phase of the IMPROVE in 6 countries (Czech Republic,
Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain). It was focused on career guidance and participants were
assessed on the main task “deliver career guidance interviews”. About 50 evaluators have been
trained and 140 career guidance practitioners have undergone the check-up. According to the results
of the pilot, the methodology was proved to be efficient in discriminating between competent and not
competent practitioner and for most of the candidates the process was not just an assessment of their
competence, but also a mean of awareness and improvement of it.
Keywords: methodology, validation, career guidance practitioners, professional check-up
Career guidance practitioners (CG) play a fundamental role in fostering adults participation in
education (Lisbon European Council -2000, Copenhagen Declaration -2002, EC Resolution on Career
Guidance 9286/04, EC Resolution on Career Guidance 2008/C 319/02), but in most European
countries the qualifications of careers guidance practitioners are mainly based on informal and not
formal learning and not formally recognized (Cedefop 2009, Professionalizing Career Guidance.
Practitioners competences and qualification routes in Europe) or just assured by requiring a specific
educational and/or vocational qualification. This approach is increasingly recognized as not fully
Several frameworks have been recently developed in Europe to validate the not formal learning and
more in general the competence of European CG practitioners (for example ISO, EAF , IAEVG ,
CEDEFOP 2009  Competence Framework) and some other are currently being implemented in
other EU countries.
Taking into account the need for an efficient methodology of validation of competence, the project
IMPROVE aimed at developing and testing a guide for validation of competence, having in mind the
existing frameworks and their loops.
The project aimed at a. comparing existing frameworks to check compatibility with the European
Guidelines for the Validation of competence and when needed to advice which changes to adopt to
make each of them compatible with the European Guidelines and b. developing and piloting a Guide
to Validation of Career Guidance Practitioners’ competence coherent with the European Guidelines.
The Guide focuses on how to perform effective validation procedures with Career Guidance
practitioners (whatever framework is used), so to foster effective validation.
In choosing which will be the elements of a validation framework and the assessment methodology
there are basically two main approaches. The first approach is personal features’ based and the
second approach is performance based. Compared to CEDEFOP Guidelines and to ISO
Requirements , the IMPROVE Guidelines , choose a defined approach for validation: 4.1.
‘Validation of people at work must be performance based. Substantial focus on the assessment
procedure must include the direct examination of the work performance of the candidate and/or on the
reconstruction of performance of candidate at work such as in the Performance Focused Interview
(PFI).’ 4.2. ‘The elements (job main tasks and job tasks the candidates have to master must be
previously defined through a job analysis, and examination of available documentation on
occupations. The results of the investigation have to be discussed and agreed upon among
practitioners and other sector stakeholders.’ Therefore, the project team chose for the validation,
elements that according to the job analysis of a career guidance practitioner are essential job tasks.
2 THE PROFESSIONAL CHECK-UP
The Professional Checkup is a methodology for validation and improvement of competence of people
at work coherent with the IMPROVE Guidelines  and consists of 3 interviews carried out face to
face in person or in video using Skype during a 1-3 weeks period.
Before the first interview the candidates who express their interest to take part in the pilot, are asked
to fill in an on-line questionnaire referring to their studies and experience on career guidance,
supported by evidence. In the same questionnaire is included a statement of the applicant that he/she
agrees to comply with the requirements for certification and to supply any information needed for the
evaluation/assessment. After the candidate having filled in the questionnaire, he/she is given a guide
for candidates, which provides a detailed description on the certification process that is appropriate to
the certification scheme in use. Furthermore, in the guide there are also described the requirements
for certification, the applicants’ rights and duties including a code of conduct, a theoretical basis and in
that way the candidate is informed of what is expected from him/her.
Just before the start of the first interview, the evaluator collects from each participant a written
authorization about privacy of data collected, including authorization to record interview 2 and 3.
2.1 The 3 steps-interviews
In the first interview, the evaluator gives the participant information on the pilot, additional to the ones
given in the Guide For Participants, answers possible questions of the candidate on the process or the
Program, and in case they are going to use skype in the next interviews, checks if Skype works. The
duration of the first interview is 25-40 minutes, depending on the candidate and his/her questions on
The second interview is arranged usually 2-7 days after the first interview and is held, either through
skype, or face-to-face or by phone. In the second interview, except for the candidate and the
evaluator, there may be present a second evaluator, as observer, for better evaluation, but there is
interaction only between the main evaluator and the candidate. In interview 2 the evaluator questions
the participant how he/she carries out career guidance interviews and career guidance activity more in
general, and some additional information about participant’s activity and knowledge is also collected.
The evaluator carries out the evaluation following the blueprint, the Improve team prepared, based on
the PFI Performance Focused Interview: an interview where the questions are focused on specific
predetermined aspects of performance and all the candidates are asked the same list of questions
(however the evaluator may ask additional questions for clarification or a better understanding). The
marks (1-4) are written on paper during interview 2 and later on a web site, where the evaluators shall
admit their scores for each participant. Interview 2 lasts about 1 hour.
After having scored the participant and before interview 3 the evaluator is given access to the CV of
the participant. Then, taking into account interview 2, the evaluator writes a report on evaluation,
which precisely describes the candidates’ main answers, how he/she scores on each task that is
examined, identification of any areas of improvement and guidance on how to carry out such
In interview No3 the facilitator discusses feedback on the results of interview 2 and helps the
participant to elaborate a plan for competence improvement or maintenance in delivering career
guidance interview. The duration of interview no3 is 30-60 minutes.
The last step of the process includes the feedback questionnaires. After the 3 meetings, every
candidate is asked to fill in an on-line questionnaire, where he/she would write down his/her view on
the process, the negative and strong points of it, the changes that should be made and their view on
2.2 The main roles
The process of validation requires two main roles:
• A process administrator: he/she manages and organizes the procedure, supervises the other
personnel involved in the checkup, gives first information to the candidates and produce final
certification for the candidate with Checkup results
• An evaluator: he/she carries out the assessment interviews, writes a report on weak and
strong points of the candidate resulting from the assessment and in interview 3 helps the candidate to
draw an action plan for competence improvement or maintenance.
3 RESULTS OF THE PILOT
The Professional Checkup (PC) has been piloted in 6 countries (CZ, DE, ES, GR IT, RO) during the
project IMPROVE. The Project duration is 2 years, beginning on the 1
January 2011 and ending on
December 2012. The pilot phase was conducted in the months October 2011 to March 2012.
The Checkup has been focused on career guidance and participants have been assessed on their
performance on the main task ‘deliver career guidance interviews’.
About 50 evaluators experienced in CG have been trained and 140 career guidance practitioners have
undergone the checkup. Data about length of experience and educational and professional
qualification have been collected, but transmitted to facilitators only after the assessment interview, so
not to hinder their judgment and study correlation between these variables and Checkup results.
Feedback from evaluators and candidates as well affirms the procedure has proven effective in
discriminating competent career guidance practitioners delivering career guidance interviews and less
cumbersome of some other methodologies, so complying with one of the most important requisite of
validation methodologies (effectiveness coupled with ‘lightness’ of the methodology, see the
IMPROVE Guidelines for the Validation of Competence of People at Work).
There were also a 5,7% of the participants who expressed negative opinion (5,7%). Some drawbacks
that were mentioned about the process of validation, focused on a) the time length of the interview 2,
which in some cases exceeded 1,5 hour and both candidate and evaluator got tired, b) the fact that in
some cases the questions were referring mostly to counselors dealing with adults and not school
counselors and therefore those whose clients were students had difficulty to respond, c) the difficulties
in communication that skype teleconference evoked in some cases. The partners of IMPROVE took
into consideration all these remarks and suggestions of the participants, so as to improve the
Figure 1: General opinion on PC structure
Figure 1, depicts the opinion of participants about their general opinion on the PC structure. Most of
them found the process satisfactory – for 47,2% of them was excellent and for 45,3% was good,
mentioning that the three steps were well organized, they got informed on every aspect of the process,
the blueprint was well-aimed, and through that process they got benefited, as they came aware of their
strong and weak points and they got guidance on how they could be improved.
Figure 2: Opinion of participants on the efficacy of the PC in discriminating between competent and
not competent CG practitioners
Fig. 2 depicts the opinion of the participants on what extend can the methodology used for validating
CG practitioners’ competence discriminate between competent and not competent practitioners. The
majority of the participants stated that the methodology discriminates “quite a lot” (54,3%) and 24,8%
said that it can discriminate fully. There were also some negative opinions on the efficacy of the
methodology used, as 14,3% mentioned that the PC discriminates a little and for 2.9% doesn’t
discriminate at all. It should be mentioned that in most cases, those who expressed negative opinion
were the practitioners who proved to be not competent through this evaluation, so their opinion may
be biased by the result.
experience check up
interview 2 discriminates
not at all
quite a lot
Therefore, taking into account the statements of the candidates on the focus groups and the feedback
questionnaire, it came out that the majority of participants (candidates and evaluators as well) were
convinced on the efficacy of the methodology for validation used in IMPROVE pilot, and for most of
them this process was not just an assessment of their competence, but also a mean of awareness and
improvement of it, and as that, they insisted that was a good initiative on CG field.
The research done in the Project Improve confirmed the efficacy of the validation method and
therefore it can be a useful tool on the hands of several organizations dealing with Career Guidance,
especially if we take into consideration the fact that in a lot of European countries doesn’t exist an
official methodology for validation of Career Guidance Competence. Therefore, this methodology can
be enhanced in the curricula of the educational programs, or it can be used by companies hiring
career guidance practitioners, so as to be sure of getting the best employees, or even it can be a
useful mean of improvement for practitioners who want to test their competences.
The Professional Checkup has been developed thanks to a previous European project (EAS ) and
further work, and can be used for all the existing occupations. The only element to change every time
to use the Checkup with different occupations is the blueprint of questions of interview 2.
 Evangelista, Leonardo (2011): Study on Existing Frameworks to Validate Competence of CG
Practitioners: Improve Guidelines http://
 CEDEFOP (2009): European Guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning.
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
 ISO/IEC (2003): Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating
certification of persons
 Evangelista, Leonardo (2009). EAF Accreditation Framework for the European Career
Guidance Practitioners at a Glance: http://orientamento.it/orientamento/1e.htm
 IAEVG International association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (2009) Application for
Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner EVGP offered by International Association for
Educational and Vocational Guidance (IAEVG); http:// www.cce-
 EAS. European Accreditation Scheme for Careers Guidance Practitioners website. Retrieved on
the 10th July 2012 at http://www.corep.it/eas/uk/
The effectiveness of training courses for unemployed persons
related to the labour market’s regional features
This paper attempts to endorse the idea that unemployment is a constant phenomenon in a capitalist
economy that requires constant strategies, such as constant adjustment of the skills training process
to the labour market’s regional features.
The paper presents in a short manner the main features of a labour market of a Romanian county.
These features are the basic elements for analysing the effectiveness of training courses for
unemployed persons related to the labour market’s regional features.
Keywords: training courses, a model for of analysis the effectiveness of training courses, professional
competence, unemployed persons,
1. Theoretical background
Unemployment is a contemporary phenomenon, which means that some employees remain
unemployed because of the gap between the demand and the supply on the labour market. 
Depending on the causes which impel, unemployment can be classified into: a) frictional
unemployment; b) structural unemployment; c) cyclical unemployment; d) term unemployment; e)
technological unemployment; f) seasonal unemployment; g) total unemployment; h) partial
unemployment; i) disguised unemployment; j) voluntary unemployment. .
The diminution of the unemployment rate is done through a set of social policies involving organization
of training courses for the unemployed persons.
According with O. U.G. 129/2000 on adult vocational training process, the professional training
process has the following objectives: a) to facilitate the social integration of individuals in accordance
with their professional aspirations and labour market needs b) to prepare/ to train the human
resources able to contribute to the competitiveness of labour c) to update the knowledge/ skills and
to improve the basic professional training formation; d) to change qualification, in accordance with
economic restructuring, social mobility and changes in work capacity ; e) to teach advanced
knowledge/ skills, methods and procedures necessary for fulfilling their duties. .
The adult vocational training includes initial training and continuous training other than those
organized by specific national education system. Initial training process of adults provides the basic
training for professional skills necessary for getting a job. Continuous training provides the training for
developing professional skills or acquiring new skills. 
Regarding the training process, it is necessary to measure the effectiveness of training programs.
There are several models for analysing the effectiveness of training programs: Kirkpatrick's model
(1967), the War’s model (1970), the Easterby -Smith’s model (1986), the Rae's model (2002), etc;
each model tries to highlight a number of indicators that allow us to improve the quality of the training
Based on these models, we extracted five indicators that we have considered relevant to the
evaluation of the effectiveness of training programs for unemployed persons:
1. The coefficient of satisfaction regarding the attended training course;
2. The degree of the assimilation of skills during and at the end of the training process;
3. The applicability of the assimilated skills determined by the students 'performance on at
the practical courses.
4. The relevance of learned skills assigned by students and by employers;
5. The level of employment of the unemployed persons who have completed a specific
2. Design of research
The theoretical information that has been presented in a short manner has raised the following
question: is it necessary to adjust the training skills process to the regional specific labour’s features?
To answer this question we did a research that had the aim to reveal the main domains and the skills
that are more suitable to be trained for, taking into account the regional specific of the labour market.
In our investigation we had two objectives: to reveal the main domains that the unemployed persons
seek to be trained; to reveal the main skills associated to these domains and to see if there may be/
there is a correlation between the skills that the training course develops by unemployed and their
Our research had two steps. The first step was to identify key areas and occupations where the
training process is realized. The second phase was focused on analysing the effectiveness of training
programs in relation to the/a specific labour market in a Romania’s county.
We did our investigation on “The Regional Center of Professional Adult Training Valcea” (R.C.P.A.T
Valcea) during 2009-2011 on more than 6000 unemployed persons, aged between 25-56, 3236
women and 2764 men; 3389 out of 6000 unemployed persons came from Valcea county, aged
between 25-55, 1871 women and 1518 men.
In our research we used the following methods of investigation: documentary sources provided by the
National Institute of Statistics- Valcea County; the Personal Satisfaction Questionnaire regarding
completed training course- . CSFPS (Cronbach Alpha index . 781; fidelity test- retest index= . 739),
25 focus groups on 250 unemployed persons that have completed training courses and 8 focus
groups on 79 employers from Valcea county.
• The main characteristics of Valcea county labour’s market
The labour market is dimensioned by main lucrative economic activities. Valcea county level are
designed on the following areas: agriculture, hunting and forestry; mining and quarrying;
manufacturing; electricity, gas and water; construction; trade; tourism; food and drink industry;
transport, storage and communication; financial trades; real estate; public administration and
defences; education; health and social care; another types of commercial activities. 
In term of employment generation, each area of activity has a particular dynamic. The most dynamic
areas in Valcea county are: construction; agriculture, hunting and forestry; food and drink industry;
trade; tourism; other commercial activities .
Based on the market labour analyse, R.C.P.A.T Valcea has organised training courses for
unemployed persons in different areas (see table.1) and for different occupations (see table 2).
Table1. The main domains that the unemployed have been trained - data obtain from R.C.
P.A.T Valcea (top four)
Main domains of professional
Total number of unemployed
persons that have been
trained between 2009-2011
Total number of unemployed
persons that have been trained
between 2009-2011 from
Food and drink industry 1521 659
Trade 1216 432
Public administration 2095 1113
Another types of commercial
Total 6119 3389
Table2. The main occupations that the unemployed have been trained - data obtain from R.C.
P.A.T Valcea (top four)
Global number of unemployed
Unemployed persons from
Trade worker 1216 432
Operator input, validation and
Barber, hairdresser, manicurist,
Human Resources Officer 922 312
Total 4345 2045
In the following paragraphs we will analyse according with the five indicators the
effectiveness of the training courses organised by R.C.P.A.T for unemployed persons:
3.1. Results on indicator no. 1. The coefficient of satisfaction regarding
followed training course by unemployed persons
To determine the coefficient of satisfaction felt by the unemployment during the training program I we
applied a specific questionnaire; the collected data obtained were processed on five levels of
evaluation (see table 3)
Table3. . The coefficient of satisfaction on attended training course at unemployed persons
Levels of evaluation
Very low Low Medium High Very high
The coefficient of
2,87% 9,91% 26,44% 38,22 22,56%
From this point of view we can see, that the 60,78% out of students revealed high and very high level
of personal satisfaction. That means that the courses have: a certain level of requirement determined
by a sufficient number of vacancy jobs in the labour market proper level of communications with
students; proper teaching methods; proper teaching strategies; suitable practical courses during the
training process; suitable trainers; a wide range of resources, etc.
3.2. Results on indicator no 2.The degree of assimilated skills during training
process and at the end of it.
This aspect was analysed through the mark that the students obtained during and at the end of the
training process. The data are presented in table 4.
Table.4.The degree of assimilated skills during and at the end of training process at by unemployed
Grade’s levels (%)
Period of evaluation Between 6-
During the training
9,56 25,87 42,68 15,49 6,4%
At the end of training
2,44% 18,51% 53,8 % 16,65% 8,6%
We can see that it was an increased rate of grades at upper level that shows that the students have
assimilated most of the skills that are assumed through the occupations standards.
The general rate of degree of assimilated skills at our investigated students was 8, 95. This value
reflects: a) a high level of students’ performances; b) the training courses were adapted to student’s
personality features; c) a high level of students’ abilities for learning theoretical skills.
In conclusion, we can say that the unemployed have benefited from a solid theoretical training process
designed to fulfil Valcea’s labour market demands.
3.3 Results on indicator no.3. The applicability of assimilated skills
determined by the students’ performance on practical courses
This aspect was analysed through the mark that the students obtained at practical courses during and
at the end of the training process. The data are in table 5.
Table.5.The applicability of assimilated skills determined by the students’ performance on practical
Grade’s levels (%)
Period of evaluation Between 6-
During the training
12,76 35,87 35,28 10,49 5,6%
At the end of training
8,44% 28,65% 33,48 % 19 ,57% 9,86%
We can notice that it was an increase rate of grades at upper level that shows that the students had
assimilated most of the practical skills that are assumed through the occupations standards.
The general rate of degree of assimilated practical skills at our investigated students was 7, 45. The
value reflects: a) a medium level of students’ performances; b) an average operating level of students‘
practical skills; c) a high level of trainers demands regarding students ‘practical skills assessment; d)
high level of practical skills required in the labour market.
If we compare the two rates from indicator no.2 and from indicator no.3 we can say that the training
courses have had a more theoretical impact than the practical one on the labour filed. The differences
between indicator no 2 and indicator 3 can be explained by the low level of professional experience in
the new occupation that the students were trained.
3.4. Results on indicator no.4. The relevance of formatted kills assigned by
students and by employers.
This aspect was revealed during the 33 focus groups (25 of them organized with 250 unemployed
persons that had attended training courses and 8 of them organized with 79 employers – general
managers from different types of economic activities).
Based on the qualitative analyse we identified the following competence / skills that have been
a) unemployed persons that have completed training courses
1) specific theoretical skills/ competences required by each occupation - 58,9%
2) specific practical skills/ competence required by each occupation - 62,7%
3) specific interpersonal communication skills/ competence - 49,5%
4) specific team work skills/ competence - 28,7%
b) employers that offer jobs for unemployed persons
1) specific theoretical skills/ competences required by each occupation - 43,6%
2) specific practical skills/ competence required by each occupation - 82,8%
3) specific organizing, planning and programming skills/ competence - 54,3%
required by each occupation
4) specific interpersonal communication skills/ competence - 51,2%
5) specific team work skills/ competence -39,7%
6) specific time management skills/ competence - 22,4%
7) entrepreneurial skills/ competence - 34,1%
We can see that the employers revealed more skills/ competence then the unemployed persons that
have had training courses. This skills/ competence revealed have different proportions at those types
of subjects and can be explained by the position that each of them is standing for: one represented by
the unemployed / potential employee is the executive position in the organization that implied specific
tasks, deadlines, a hierarchic process of making decisions, a subordination relationships in
organizations; the other one represented by employers is the decisional position in the organization
that implied projection of business’s development for short time and medium time, market risk’s
analyses, developing new marketing strategies, a coordination relationships in organization, etc.
3.5. Results on indicator no 5. The level of employment of the unemployed
persons who have completed a specific training course
This aspect was analysed through the data provided by employers/ organisations attending the job
fairs for the unemployed organized during 2009-2011 in Valcea County. We have selected data
provided by employers/ organisations which were not bankrupt at the end of 2011. The data
involved the level of employment of unemployed persons who have completed a specific training
course through courses at R.C. P.A.T Valcea and are presented in table 6.
Table.6. The level of employment of unemployed persons who have completed a specific training
course at R.C.P.A.T. Valcea.
Period of analyse Number of persons (%)
Immediately after completed a specific training
course at R.C.P.A.T. Valcea.
At the end of 2011 20,6%
From these data we can see that the courses organised by R.C.P.A.T. Valcea were adapted to the
specific of the labour market from Valcea County because more than 20% out of unemployed that
have completed training courses at the end of 2011 were employed.
This research has had from the beginning specific objectives and has analysed the effectiveness of
training courses on unemployed persons to the labour market’s regional features.
We did our investigation on unemployed persons from Valcea county that have completed training
courses at R.C.P.A.T. Valcea and based on the model that we used we have analysed the
effectiveness of those programmes.
We have found that the effectiveness of training courses should be analysed on multiple levels.
Furthermore we have found that it is necessary that these courses should be focused on developing
those skills such as entrepreneurial skills/ competences and have to be focused on the practical skills
that are required by each occupation.
 *** Anuarul statistic al judeţului Vâlcea, editia 2010. Rm. Valcea: Insitutul National de Statistică.
Directia Judeteana de Statiscă Vâlcea.
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Mentoring in the teaching profession
Zinică Cristina-Mihaela, Nichita Georgiana-Alice
University of Bucharest, Romania
University of Bucharest, Romania
The study aims to highlight the importance of mentoring period for a debutant teacher, given
that the onset period leaves its mark on all future teaching careers of the young graduate. Novice
teacher faces a number of integrating difficulties both social and institutional level that can be
overcome through the existence of a period of seniority under the guidance of a mentor. Thus,
mentoring involves the relationship between a more experienced person, willing and able to provide
support, and a newcomer in to organization in a newly acceding or needs support at some stage of his
career. This period aims completion of four phases (initiation, training, separation, redefining) and
several sequences from mentor selection and ending with evaluative interview. The success of
mentoring program depends on whether the mentor is fulfilling his roles (teacher junior model, a
learning resource, counselor, facilitator, evaluator etc.).
Keywords: mentoring, integration.
Building a professional identity involves moving from a job to a profession, overlapping work
experience with knowledge base over years of study.
The onset of any career, regardless of where it is exercised, is a first step that the individual
covers in his work. At this stage goes beyond the familiar status, usually to one where the young
needs to experience a new world. He must integrate him self in a new system requirements and
values, norms and rules that has to deal with.
Relying on strict and certain standards, teaching profession involves a creative- heuristic
approach of teaching situations, through the filter of craftsman that each teacher has in a lesser or
greater measure and in different contexts, private.
2. Characteristics of the integration process of the beginner (novice) teacher
The trainee can be characterized as a novice teacher employed in a school after graduating
initial training system and receiving guidance and assistance to develop professional practice of the
teaching profession. Probationary period is an opportunity for beginners to become familiar with the
tasks and specific educational activities to obtain certification for the teaching profession, or to appoint
permanently in education.
During the probation period, the beginner will be provided with assistance and professional
support development. The novice will build a profile of the ideal professional domain, which aims to
achieve by submitting ongoing effort, being actively involved in their own development, while being
supported and guided by the mentor for the debut in his career.
Internship stage of a young teacher, follow the basic characteristics that define the teaching
profession. Thus, a professional teacher:
• proves his knowledge of specialty and related fields, masters didactics, apply creatively
knowledge and modern teaching methods and learning;
• the teacher focuses its strategy on the idea that the pupil with his needs and interests, is
the main participant in their own learning;
• using work techniques varied and individualized with his students, based on a constant
process of reflection on the results of their work and achievements of its students;
• he is an active and effective member in school community, professional and local;
• he is a model for students, promoter and creator of values in concordance with the
educational ideal of the moment.
Integration process is a relationship, a dynamic interaction between the integrated system and
the system that integrates (Zamfir, Vlăsceanu, 1993). Both the systems, integrator, as well as the
integrative system, mutations are taking place. Depending on the active character of the first and
responsiveness of the environment which integrates them, distinguished several phases of the
process: accommodation, adaptation, participation and integration itself.
In an organization, the integration of a young newcomer involves an adaptation phase whose
content is given by the mutual information on the objectives and characteristics, by the enabling
integrative models that allow the young newcomer learning the role resulted from the position in the
scheme in which he occurs. In the adaptation phase, multiple relations that are established make that
integrates system (albeit with a separate identity) to acquire knowledge and skills required to solve
environmental situations and to respond positively to it. Assuming roles and promoting personal initiative
marks participation phase. The last phase involves transforming the newcomer to fit himself into a
functional element in the integrated subsystem of the respectively organization. (G. Pânişoară, 2006).
Integrating involves both training and adaptation (knowledge position in the organization, time
indicators, space, performance, work procedures etc.), and social adaptation - (accommodating
organizational culture - values, beliefs, expectations, attitudes etc.)
A beginner teacher will step into the world of school organization towards a new status, as a
teacher, a former student in the past. He already know the specific of this organization, but it must to
be on the other side of the barricade. The new teacher must to adopt the role of the agent that triggers
learning, he will becomes the classroom leader.
First few months, even the first years we can say, the beginner teacher must to discover the new
colleagues, new rules governing the work of teaching, to know and understand the true principles and
values existing in his school. Professional adaptation of a novice teacher will be marked by the
acquisition of skills teaching and the development of the pedagogical tact. Establish relationships with
other teachers, sharing opinions and perspectives, discovery rules non formal rules existing within the
team of teachers, contribute, after a while, the young teacher social adaptation.
3. Essential aspects of the mentoring program
According to specialists, mentoring involves a relationship that is established between an
experienced person and a young man in his first stage of the career, the latter being helped to develop
their technical skills and professional knowledge.
Mentoring is a daily practice exists in large organizations, well-organized, structured as formal
programs suitable target population to which it applies (C.Cuerrire, 2005).
Generally recognized advantages of this type of initiation into a career can be summarized in
(apud G. Pânişoară, 2006):
• can speed up the socialization;
• encourage social interactions;
• provide opportunities for social interaction quality;
• emphasizes identification and involvement in the organization;
• methods of integration in the organization;
• method of productivity growth;
• improving organizational climate
Range of famous authors who were concerned about mentoring strategies reveal four stages of
the best learning through mentoring activities:
1 - the start extending over a period of 6-12 months. Young recognizes and appreciates the
experience of older colleague and finds that it is a real source of knowledge, support and guidance.
The mentor understands the needs of young and is willing to guide him;
2 - the training period between 1 to 2 years. The mentor prepares for the challenges of work,
training, vision, protection and support, and the young is getting self confidence, skills and new
attitudes, values and operating systems;
3 - the separation is marked by some change of mind, anxiety and sense of loss. This on the one
hand because the initiate gained experience, independence and autonomy, and on the other hand
because the mentor, demonstrating his skills in mentoring activities, believes that can be
4 - the redefining consists of a reconsideration of the relationship between mentor and initiated.
This relationship became friendship and cooperation. The mentor actions became a support for the
young ones, while having the feeling of fulfillment because the young man is grateful for the
The scientist Mike Turner describes four stages of such a program, following their browsing
achieving integration of new individuals in the organization.
The first stage is dedicated to the personal development of the novice, autonomy, responsibility
and ability to make the best choices on themselves. It follows the development of good self-image and
its correlation with the real possibilities existing or prospective professional. In the next step mentor
guides his disciple to develop a picture of the career they intend to embrace, and the general direction
of his future life. It produces awareness of personal values guiding the careers and personal lives and
put them in balance with the values promoted by the organization to which the individual adheres.
The third step is devoted to implementing personal vision, identify means of achieving real
objectives translate into practice the vision, the ideal form of general principles and goals. Mentoring
relationship both partners establish professional goals of the new employee, stages and career stages
who wants to follow in the organization, job performance standards, training needs felt by it.
The last phase of the program proposed by the author intends to reverse connection provided
by the beginner and mentor its support even further integration program.
In an attempt to briefly describe the roles and functions as mentor, R. Houde (apud G.
Pâni oară, 2001), considering 12 of them, including social functions, professional and personal
The mentor roles are distinct of the skill with which they largely perform depends on the
success of the mentoring program. Thus, a good mentor should be:
-- a model for beginner teachers in forming its skills in the first years in school. Mentor receives
the beginner as an observer in his lessons and activities, gives explanations and concrete examples of
teaching design, teaching and assessment. Also, the mentor assists and work with the novice teacher
in extracurricular activities.
-- a learning resource for the beginner. By assisting at lessons and by the intern analysis, the
mentor gives his feedback on the quality of design, behavior in time of teaching. The mentor support
his disciple in selecting and obtaining specialized bibliography and guide him in its use in teaching
-- one teaching management advisor for professional and personal development for career
development options for integration into the organizational culture of the school, to develop
interpersonal capacity for ways to mediate any disputes, for the documentation capacity development,
-- animator - motivating the novice for the profession, it instills self-confidence and pedagogical
-- assessor of benefits of beginner work. Mentor assess the progress in terms of professional
The young teachers, newcomers to the organization school, educational institutions graduates
without professional experience across the first stage of his career trying to adapt to the specific
requirements of the education system. The traditional practice describes this first step as the way to
finalizing the teaching profession, usually corresponding with the first two years of the department.
A new person came into the educational environment as the agent of the teaching action can
meet many difficulties integrating both social, peer group level and at the institutional level in terms of
formal rules and regulations.
The relationship teacher with experience - beginner is proportionally based on the personal
qualities of the mentor and the professional experience that he has.
Specifically, we consider that a mentoring program for a newcomer teacher in a school
organization, would be the following sequences:
a) Selection of suitable mentor to guide first year considered coaching stint at work;
b) Planning to join action program mentor-beginner;
c) Periodic reviews of beginner;
d) Final evaluative interview.
Each sequence of the previous program must be approached with seriousness and
professionalism, this whole teaching career stamping the future of the young graduate. For each stage
specific action must be taken and considered a number of aspects of organizational, psychological,
Studying integration strategies used by other professional organizations, and, after work
experience as teachers, we propose some recommendations for a good organization of the mentoring
period for beginner teachers.
1. Given the many and varied roles that are conferred to the professional mentor, their selection
should be made carefully, this is an attribute of the school principal, supported by the teachers and
counselor pedagogue - where it exists.
For the establishment of a teacher mentor for a young newcomer to the department, we must take
into account the following criteria:
work experience usually embodied in a period of at least 5 years old at the chair;
minimum academic rank "definitive";
belonging to the same curricular area, if possible;
mentor has been appreciated in the last 2 years of the rated VERY GOOD;
do not have discipline problems;
to show moral conduct - professional exemplary both in relationships with department
colleagues and with students.
2. In determining program content complies with the principle of gradualism trusteeship staff
planning and conduct of activities, from the simplest to those with a high level of complexity. Mentor
may request support in this endeavor advisor psycho educational counselor, school management or
help of collegium curricular area.
The mentoring program will be determined quarterly by the mentor appointed and will take the
opinion of the school principal. In this document the planned activities will be found in specialized
documentation ( topics of study in the field of psycho-pedagogical and recent specialty-integrated
teacher), participation in training and development (methodical commissions, conferences, scientific
meetings, courses, etc..) participating in demonstration lessons held by mentor or other colleagues,
teaching activities with the assistance of mentor, preparation of reports in specialized etc.
3. Over the period of mentoring, the disciple will always record the activities in which he
participated, shall establish a training folder with the studied themes records of observation of lessons
attended by projects supporting lessons, teaching plan developed materials (sheets lesson,
assessment tests, auxiliary materials, portfolios, etc.).
In turn the mentor will complete a report assessing the activity safeguarded person with monthly
headings which specifies the progress of the younger colleague, the most important activities carried
out, observations occurred along the way, any test data subjects under the mentoring program.
4. The final stage of the mentoring period will consist in an interview weighted to be attended
the mentor, the person tutelage, the school principal and a person delegated the board. In this young
teacher evaluation debate will present work from the last year of training content folder and any
difficulties encountered during the initiation stage of the teaching career. The mentor also will support
the report of assessment of pupil activity and characterize professional and moral conduct that
showed a colleague under his direction in the past.
Taking into account the issues raised by the mentor and the beginner teacher, supporting
documents, professional results obtained by the latter to work with students, how to integrate the
professional staff involvement in formal and informal organizational work and so on, the principal will
complete a head teacher assessment document mentoring period, with proposals for finalizing the
profession within the next year (participation exam completed), to restore the mentoring program (if
applicable), or with suggestions for additional training.
Professional mentoring results activity will be included in the annual evaluation form
professional guardian and the person shielded by specific evaluation indicators.
Success of a mentoring program for teachers beginner is conditioned by qualities of the person
designated as mentor (charisma, communicability, wisdom), and, in the same time, by experience and
professional competence of the mentor.
Integration process of a young teacher will be considered successful if the beginner adhere into
the teachers collective and he proof really skills to perform teaching activities.
If the beginners teachers would benefit from a mentoring program, the educational activity would
be efficiency and qualitative.
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