- POST SECONDARY EDUCATION ISSUE ISSUE 12 DECEMBER 2012 NEWS AND VIEWS TO KEEP YOU IN THE KNOW FROM THE ETF COMMUNITYShort-cycle post-secondary education*:challenges and opportunitiesT here is no broadly accepted definition of post-secondary Content education, as it operates at a crossroads of the main typesof education and training within the formal education system Three policy frameworksand covers a wide variety of qualifications, for example: The ETFs Mutual Learning project commonly used in formal Advanced vocational training qualifications such as on short-cycle post-secondary education at Frances ‘brevet de technician supérieur’ (BTS) or ‘diplôme post-secondary ISCED level 5 (level 4 will be universitaire de technologie’; education in the tackled in a separate Western Balkans publication). Master of crafts qualifications; and Turkey sought to share Why such programmes are Partial academic courses used as building blocks for both experience in increasingly important. first-cycle higher education degrees and short-cycle higher education qualifications. this area of Challenges hampering the education development of this area.Three education and higher education frameworks are often among policyreferred to in the context of post-secondary education. This makers and An overview of recent reformsvaries from country to country. The three frameworks are practitioners. in the area with reference topresented below. Here we present EU developments. some current1. The International Standard Classification of Education policies and The policy debate that can(ISCED) practices and feed into a broader discussion identify on the relation between level 5Within the ISCED typology, short-cycle post-secondary challenges to programmes and the Europeaneducation options are level 5 programmes and are part of the advance policy Qualifications Framework.tertiary education cycle. Traditionally levels 5A and 5B are debate in thisviewed as part of the university sector and the professional/ area.vocational education segment respectively. Figure 1 provides FIGURE 1: THE ISCED CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMan overview of the ISCED typology showing the distinctionbetween levels 5A and 5B in the tertiary education sector.The clear-cut divide between these levels makes it verydifficult for 5B level graduates to continue their studies atISCED 6 level in terms of the recognition of the creditsachieved.2. The Qualification Framework of the European HigherEducation Area (QF-EHEA)This framework describes a three-stage cycle of studies -- Source: Mikhail, 2006bachelor, master, doctorate -- and places short-cycle highereducation within the first cycle of higher education (BolognaProcess, 2005). This has the effect of potentially levelling outthe differences between the 5A and 5B ISCED levels, as bothstreams are considered part of the European Higher * To support policy developments in post-secondary vocational education andINFORM training, the ETF organised a corporate conference in October 2010. The ETF will continue the policy dialogue on this topic during the Torino Process conference in May 2013.
Education Area. Level 5 programmes normally have 120European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) the nqf IN CROATIApoints and are always less than 180 ECTS points, the minimumrequired for a bachelor’s degree (Bologna Process). However,the recognition of short-cycle qualifications within the first T he system adopted in Croatia is a prime example of the use of different standards within the EU and south eatern Europe. In Croatia an eight-level nationalcycle of higher education is at the discretion of different EUMember States, and this leads to different practices in qualifications framework largely reflects the Europeandifferent countries. Qualifications Framework, in which short-cycle tertiary education is at level 5B (vocational) and 5A (academic).3. The European Qualifications Framework for lifelonglearning In Croatia, level 5B is considered post-secondary non- higher education, as in Germany, Austria and Hungary.The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) was adopted by While in the Netherlands, France and Belgium (Flanders)the European Parliament in 2008 to compare national level 5B is the first stage of higher education. On the otherqualifications frameworks (NQF) in general and higher hand, the same education level in Cyprus, Malta, Norway,education as well as vocational education and training through Sweden and the UK is known as a ‘sub-degree’ and is parta referencing process. It is an overarching eight-level of an integrated system that can eventually lead to a fullframework, which starts with primary school and ends with degree.doctorate studies. Within this framework short-cycle post-secondary programmes are placed at level 5. In Albania, Turkeyand Kosovo* the EQF levels are already used, whereas FIGURE 2: THE CROATIAN EDUCATION SYSTEMCroatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia ACADEMIC VOCATIONAL 8.2 PhD.and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have started working DOCTORAL 8 8.1 Mr / Sc. old STUDYon eight-level systems. Unlike the QF-EHEA, where ECTS units 7 Master / Spec. .2 PG SCHOOLprovide the basis for distinguishing between the various levels GRADUATE (60-120 GRADUATE (60-120of higher education, the EQF and NQFs emphasise different 7 7 Master / Spec. .1 ECTS) ECTS)levels of competence. 6 Bachelor (U/P) UNDERGRADUATE* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence -- hereinafter Kosovo. 6 UNDERGRADUATE (180-240 ECTS) 5.2 “pristupnik” (180-240 ECTS) 5.1 (120-180 ECTS) 5 UP TO 1 YEAR 4.2 4 4.1The EU 2020 strategy highlights the increasing need for 4-YEAR SECONDARY 3-YEAR SECONDARYhigher-level skills to enhance economic growth in the EU.Labour markets in the Western Balkans and Turkey are also 3 3 GYMNASIUMSin need of young people with professional or vocational SCHOOLS SCHOOLS 1-2 YEARskills. 2 2 1-6 MONTH 1 1 8-YEAR PRIMARY SCHOOL Source: Dželalija, 2009 the IMPORTANCE OF short-cycle post-secondary programmes T he EU 2020 strategy highlights the increasing need for higher-level skills to enhance economic growth in the EU. To meet this objective at least 40% of 30-34 year olds should programmes in reforms, and by devising short-cycle studies as an option to bachelor and master degrees. This has the advantage of supporting students to access university complete tertiary or advanced learning by 2020, which degrees and those for whom this cycle of studies represents means that advanced learning must be provided outside the only opportunity to achieve a tertiary education higher education institutions. Labour markets in the Western qualification. Balkans and Turkey indicate similar needs which can be So far short-cycle post-secondary education has been satisfied only by young people with intermediate professional provided by both public and private higher education or vocational skills. To increase the number of highly skilled institutions or the VET sector. A 2010 survey shows that the people, tertiary education has been diversified by including involvement of professional organisations and industry is post-secondary vocational education and training (VET) marginal, as shown in figure 3.INFORM
- POST SECONDARY EDUCATION ISSUE Following the 2007 reform in Serbia, specialist post- post-secondary education AND secondary VET schools, vyse skola, which offered extremely limited access to higher education, became part of the higher the EU 2020 strategy education sector and were assigned the same duration as a bachelor’s degree course. At the same time however, theyD espite the differences between education systems in terms of level 5B short-cycle programmes, the fact that some 1.5 million students are enrolled in such programmes became more academic and this increased the gap between VET and higher education. across Europe shows the importance and potential of this In view of establishing a national qualifications framework, type of education. Kosovo is considering level 5 short-cycle post-secondary education, although at present no public funding has been Post-secondary education is a way of increasing the allocated for this. Nevertheless, some private American number of students entering tertiary education. This in turn university diplomas may qualify as level 5. promotes equity and offers a successful strategy to reduce dropouts through the provision of an intermediary level Level 5 in Montenegro is also being discussed in the qualification. To enhance European cooperation in VET for perspective of a national qualifications framework. The aim is 2011-20, there are plans to develop or maintain post- to include level 5 education within higher vocational schools secondary/higher VET at EQF level 5 or higher and achieve as part of the VET system. Employers in the tourism, the 40% target of students with tertiary or equivalent electronics and security services sectors have signalled the education as set out in the EU 2020 strategy. need for labour market-oriented education. From the outset differences between level 5 and level 6 bachelor programmes need to be defined. A review of occupations delivered by higher vocational schools and links with bachelor programmes is under consideration. At present however, labour marketMAIN CHALLENGES IN SHORT-CYCLE evidence shows that graduates with bachelor or mastersPOST-SECONDARY EDUCATION degrees have the highest employment prospects. Croatian professional higher education is under the mandateIn recent years, most Western Balkan countries and Turkey of the Council for Higher Education. The ‘vyse skole’ have have changed the laws underpinning post-secondary been accredited and transferred from VET into the highereducation with a special focus on VET. As a result, issues education system. Within the Croatian national qualificationsrelated to the establishment of institutions to carry out the framework, its programmes are expected to be provided bywork for NQFs, the positioning of professional higher VET (level 5.1) and higher education institutions (level 5.2).education in relation to academic higher education as a result New initiatives to reform higher education are in the pipeline.of the Bologna Process, the pathways through tertiary In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosniaeducation and the provision of the various tertiary education and Herzegovina the institutional setting of post-secondaryprogrammes have come to the fore. VET is being discussed in the framework of the EuropeanAs mentioned above, the provision of short-cycle post- Higher Education Area. At the same time laws and strategiessecondary education at level 5 varies from country to country are being revised.with no clearly distinct pattern. However, there is a tendencyto deliver level 5 programmes through the public higher FIGURE 3: ORGANISATION OF PRIVATE EDUCATION PROVIDERS: 18education system as these certificates are more widely POST-SECONDARY PROGRAMMESrecognised. STATE OR OTHER PUBLICTo meet the requirements set by the Albanian labour market ORGANISATIONS: 4for new skills and competences not yet provided by the AUTHORITIES: 18education system, universities have recently launched a pilot PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION: 2initiative to expand level 5 short-cycle post-secondary AUTHORITIES INeducation. Durres University has opened an applied sciences INDUSTRY: 2faculty with seven specialities (at 120 ECTS points) to bring OTHERS: 2‘matura’ students to a qualified professional level.In Turkey, level 5 short-cycle post-secondary education enjoysa long tradition and is under the patronage of the HigherEducation Council. It is also organised by private (non-profit)education providers. Although funds are largely granted bypublic authorities, in some cases industry has givencontributions. The government is reviewing institutional Source: Kirsch and Beernaert, 2010settings to improve access for all students.INFORM