Qualifications Systems

Bridges to Lifelong Learning

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In the quest for more and better lifelong learning, there is a growing awareness that qualifications systems must play a part. Some countries have started to realise that isolated developments in qualifications standards lead to uncoordinated, piecemeal systems. After reviewing the policies and practice in fifteen countries, the authors present nine broad policy responses to the lifelong learning agenda that countries have adopted and that relate directly to their national qualifications system. They also identify twenty mechanisms, or concrete linkages, between national qualifications systems and lifelong learning goals. The overall aim of this book is to provide these mechanisms as a tool for governments to use in reviewing their policy responses to lifelong learning. Evidence suggests that some mechanisms, such as those linked to credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, qualifications frameworks and stakeholder involvement, are especially powerful in promoting lifelong learning.

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Do the Numbers Tell a Story? Quantitative Evidence about the Impact of Qualifications Systems on Learning

Quantitative analysis should contribute to a fuller understanding of the link between national qualifications and lifelong learning systems. Earlier chapters and those that follow provide qualitative evidence that comes largely from background reports. This chapter uses a statistical approach drawing upon both macro data (at country level) and micro data (at individual level). Indicators of lifelong learning are available from several sources. Quantitative indicators of national qualifications systems, however, are not so common. This deficiency places serious limits on the quantitative analysis of their relationship. Two alternative “second best” approaches are used to derive aggregated information about country characteristics of national qualifications systems. The first is based on a typology developed for this study in co-operation with the experts from the participating countries. The second approach uses household surveys to derive aggregated indicators of both national qualifications systems and lifelong learning.

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