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In today’s increasingly integrated world where the cross-border movement of learners and workers has become a commonplace, there is a growing call for mechanisms for fair and transparent recognition of qualifications at national, regional and international levels. To ensure transparency of qualifications including those in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), the qualifications process needs to be accompanied and supported by a strong and reliable quality assurance system.

In response to the global phenomenon of learning and working across boundaries and to a recommendation made at the 3rd International Congress on TVET (Shanghai, 2012), UNESCO has launched an initiative to develop international guidelines on quality assurance for the recognition of qualifications based on learning outcomes. To support the process, UNESCO Bangkok is running a research project aimed to examine mechanisms that underpin the qualification process in TVET in the Asia-Pacific region that will inform the formulation of these guidelines.

In the framework of UNESCO’s global study on QA of TVET qualifications and as a follow-up to the first Expert Meeting held in October 2015 where participants discussed and agreed upon a research framework for the preparation of country studies on QA of the qualification process in TVET, UNESCO Bangkok in partnership with the Philippines’ Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) organized the Second Expert Meeting on Quality Assurance of Qualifications in TVET from 11-12 July 2016 in Manila, the Philippines. The meeting brought together researchers and policy makers from 10 countries in Asia-Pacific to share and discuss findings of their country studies with focus on key successes and challenges the respective countries are experiencing in developing the quality assurance system for TVET qualifications. The findings of the country studies were synthesized and, together with further input from participants present at the meeting, formed the basis for the regional guidelines aimed at supporting countries in developing effective and harmonized QA of qualifications systems.

Besides discussions on country presentations and structure for the regional guidelines, the meeting also saw Mr. George Kostakis, an expert from the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), present the European experience on quality assurance of qualifications, with focus on a recent Cedefop study on ensuring the quality of certification process in initial VET. In the same session, Dr. G. Kulanthaivel presented an overview of the work of Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) in ensuring the quality of TVET qualifications in Asia-Pacific.

On the second day of the meeting, participants had an opportunity to visit the Human Resources Development Institute, a training provider of the Philippines-Korea Technological and Cooperation Center which offers technical education and skills development programs to address emerging new skills needs.

The meeting concluded with an agreement on the broad structure of the regional guidelines for quality assurance of qualifications in TVET which will be presented, together with the finalised synthesis report, at the next expert meeting to be held in late October or early November 2016. 

For more information, please contact Eunsang Cho [e.cho(at)unesco.org], TVET Programme Specialist, Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development, UNESCO Bangkok.