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ISO technical committee ISO/TC 232, Learning services for non-formal education and training, has developed an International Standard that defines basic requirements for learning services and for providers of learning services in non formal education and training. The ISO 29990 “Learning services for non-formal education and training – Basic requirements for service providers”, is open to all learning service providers who consider it suitable for their needs, and who are not exposed to quality requirements or governmental regulations which are in contradiction to this standard.
The standard provides a generic model for quality professional practice and performance, and a common reference for learning service providers and their clients in the design, development and delivery of non-formal education, training and development.
It is intended to assist organizations and individuals to select a learning services provider, which will meet the needs and expectations for competency and capability development. The standard will be particularly useful to internationally acting education service providers as a basis of their learning programmes and processes, as well as for the management system of all their locations and activities.
A good chance exists that the national or regional management systems in the educational sector, which are predominant at the moment, are taken off by this standard. This corresponds to a demand of the World trade Organization (WTO) for more transparency in the area of the education export and preventing a possible discriminatory application of national standards.
The set-up of a success-oriented management system is a far-reaching change process for the learning service providers. The quality of the management system determines fundamentally the quality of the learning processes. Clear corporate strategies and educational objectives are needed, as well as appropriate resources for, and requirements of, the facilitators, regulations and measurable success criteria. Success of the LSP is measured by the service provided on the one hand, and by the participants' satisfaction and acquisition, on the other. The management system must be simultaneously effective for both stakeholders and LSP.
The need to have quality assurance and quality development integrated into a management system for LSP has led to the elaboration of this sector-specific standard. Its development is based on the accumulated experience of a differentiated learning sector and the general requirements of ISO for management systems. The standard integrates the sector-specific processes and structures of learning services, while making learning processes transparent and comparable.