Responsible bodies for quality assurance in Adult Education and Training vary according to the type of institution and the authorities responsible for its establishment, operation and control.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for quality assurance in the Evening Schools, the Adult Education Centres and the State Institutes for Further Education.
The Ministry of Education and Culture jointly with the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance are responsible for quality assurance in the Apprenticeship Scheme, the former supervising the work done at the Technical Schools and the latter the training in industry.
The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) subsidises continuing training programmes provided by public and private institutions and enterprises. In this way, the HRDA plays a key role in quality assurance in Adult Education and Training. Recently, the HRDA has undertaken a number of initiatives related to the evaluation of existing schemes, the trainers’ assessment and the standards of vocational qualifications.
The Open University, as an academically autonomous body, is responsible for the quality of its programmes of study.
Approaches and methods for Quality Assurance
Methods and approaches for quality assurance in the Evening Schools, as regards both the evaluation of the teachers and the institutions, are those followed for any other public school of secondary education, as detailed earlier in this article.
The Adult Education Centres and the State Institutes of Further Education are inspected by officers of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Open University, as academically autonomous body is not liable to supervision.
The Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) has initiated the following developments in the area of quality assurance in Adult Education and Training:
• Development of a System of Vocational Qualifications: The Board of Governors of the HRDA, with the approval of the Council of Ministers, has established a System of Vocational Qualifications. In the period 2006-2009, five Standards of Vocational Qualifications, for the occupations of waiter, cook, receptionist, construction mason and sales person (retail trade), were developed. In the period 2009-2013, the development of around 72 new standards in priority occupations at various levels is envisaged. This phase is co-financed by the European Social Fund and is expected to provide opportunities for access to 6,000 candidates (employees, self-employed, unemployed and inactive persons).
• Assessment and Certification of Training Providers: In September 2005, the Board of Governors of the HRDA approved the development and introduction of the system for the assessment and certification of training providers. The implementation of the project started in October 2006.
• Ex-post Evaluation of the Existing Schemes: In December 2006, independent, external consultants completed a study entitled Ex-post Evaluation of the Existing Schemes of the HRDA, for the HRDA’s schemes operated during the period 1998-2004. The main objective of this study, which included field and desk research, was to identify the effectiveness of each scheme and its impact on the human resources and enterprises of Cyprus. Taking into consideration the findings of the study, the HRDA has upgraded almost all the existing training schemes. Additionally, a new study is being conducted by external consultants for the design of a comprehensive system evaluating the impact of HRDA on the economy of Cyprus.