Quality Assurance in Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Counselling is within the competence of The National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Vocational Education and Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth and other competent bodies. The strategy for Lifelong Learning (LLL), under which the reforms in this field are promoted, aims at the development of LLL in Greece, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. Improving and guaranteeing quality has become a key pillar of the LLL strategy, as reflected in the provisions of law 3879/2010 and law 4115/2013, as well as in the current National Strategic Framework for Upgrading Vocational Education and Training and apprenticeship. The law 4763/2020 "National System of Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning" aims to make Vocational Education and Training a quality choice and to connect education with the labor market.
General Secretariat for Vocational Education and Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth
The General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning established by Presidential Decree 84/2019, has been renamed into General Secretariat for Lifelong Learning by law 4763/2020. The mission of the General Secretariat is "to design, coordinate, supervise and evaluate policies, actions and programs in the fields of vocational education, training, lifelong learning and youth, without any discrimination or exclusion; its main purpose is to reinforce the country's human resources with modern qualifications, adapted to the real needs of the labor market; also to increase employment in new jobs, better organize and improve the competitiveness of the Greek economy. Furthermore, it aims to enable personal development and upgrade the citizens’ skills, as well as to secure the rights and access to equal opportunities of all young people, including young people with disabilities and chronic diseases, for their smooth integration into the educational, social and economic life of the country. "
The General Secretariat for Vocational Edcuation and Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth consists of the Directorate-General for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth with its Directorates and its Departments and the Independent Department for the Implementation of European Legislation.
National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP)
An integrated strategy for quality, efficient and reliable lifelong learning services accompanied by lifelong career development services and tools is one of the horizontal actions of the National Agency for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP); this strategy is related to the development, promotion and integration of the quality principles set by the National Framework for Quality Assurance of LLL, the certification of inputs and qualifications acquired through non-formal Education and Informal Learning, as well as Counselling and Vocational Guidance. Under the provisions of law 4115/2013, the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP), a legal entity supervised by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, is the body responsible for the quality assurance of Lifelong Learning and Lifelong Counseling and Guidance, in collaboration with other relevant public bodies. Specifically, EOPPEP is, among others, responsible for:
- The certification of inputs of non-formal education and in particular
- Licensing private educational and vocational providers, such as Frontistiria and Foreign Language Centers
- Certifying Professional Profiles
- Certifying Programs
- Certifying educational competence of Adult Trainers of non-formal education
- Determining the conditions and regulations for the operation of Counseling and Vocational Guidance agencies
- Determining the qualifications of the Counseling and Vocational Guidance services providers
- Keeping relevant registers
- Certifying staff providing Consulting and Career Guidance services
- The certification of the output of both Formal and non-Formal Education and Informal Learning and in particular:
- Developing a National Qualifications Framework
- Developing and running a system of recognition and certification of skills acquired through non-formal education and informal learning, the certification of these qualifications and their classification to the levels of
the National Qualifications Framework.
- Alignment of the National Qualifications Framework with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) / National Coordination Point for the European Qualifications Framework (NCP).
- Vocational Training Certification of IEK and SEK Graduates.
- Certification of Graduates of the Post-secondary School Year - Apprenticeship Class of Vocational Secondary Schools (EPAL)
- Certification of professional competence for specific professions
- Licensing Qualification Certification Bodies - Certification of bodies providers of IT or computer skills certification.
- Licensing, monitoring and supervision of the operation of certification bodies for qualifications acquired through Formal Education (level 5), non-Formal Education and Informal Learning.
According to law 4115/2013, the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) is the National Reference Point of the European Network for Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET).
The main focus of the European EQAVET Network is to promote cooperation and exchange of expertise between the Member States, the social partners and the European Commission in order to enhance the quality and the convergence of the various European Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems. In this context, EOPPEP develops a series of actions, which are funded by the European Commission and contribute to the objectives of the network. An example is EOPPEP'S study for monitoring the progress of IEK graduates in the labor market within the co-funded project of ERASMUS+"EQAVET NRPs 2017-2019". The results of the research are available on the website of EOPPEP. (http://eqavet.eoppep.gr).
In addition, EOPPEP is responsible for the implementation of a newly co-funded project entitled "Towards an Enhanced Post - covid VET (EPOS - VET)", following the approval of a relevant proposal by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA); its main aim is the development of a Quality Assurance Methodology of Initial Vocational Training Programs and its pilot application in selected new-innovative specialties.
This project aims to connect the results of the previous actions of EOPPEP – those of the National Quality System Department of the Communication & Development Department of EOPPEP as the National Reference Point of the EQAVET network in particular - with the current developments in Vocational Education and Training, resulting, on the one hand, from the effects of the pandemic, and, on the other hand, from global changes in the world of work.
In particular, the main objectives of the project are:
- To develop a comprehensive Methodology of Quality Assurance of Initial Vocational Training Programs. This methodology will be piloted in selected new / innovative Initial Programs (developed / updated in accordance with the provisions of Law 4763/2020); these programs are expected to equip students with knowledge and skills for the development of modern, digital and green economy, in areas of particular importance to the country (such as modern / 'green' agriculture and tourism).
- To make dynamic use of the "Peer Review" process, so that, with the participation of selected partners of the EQAVET network, the proposed Quality Assurance Methodology can be evaluated and optimized.
A comprehensive framework of principles, methodology and evaluation procedures is expected to form as a result of the actions of this project whose ultimate goal is the continuous improvement and development of modern Curricula, as well as innovation and excellence in Initial Vocational Training.
The actions of this proposal will be covering the period from 01/04/2021 to 31/08/2023.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
The General Secretariat is responsible for the preparation of the Rules of operation of IEK which regulates -among other things- the criteria for quality assurance in IEK. The newly established Central Council of Vocational Education and Training is responsible to assure the quality of the inputs and outputs of the non-formal and informal learning. This Council consists of Representatives of the administrations of the responsible ministries, the social partners and the regions. Finally, the newly established Offices of Vocational Development and Career are responsible for the assurance of the quality in the internship of the trainees of IEK through on-site inspections at the workplace. Regarding Second Chance Schools (SDE), within law 4763/2020 there is special mention of the importance of competence and the constant renewal and updating of teachers' qualifications as well as the use of appropriate methods and tools of adult education.
Quality Framework of public Vocational Training Institutes (IEK/VTI)
The quality assurance policy applied in VTIs (IEKs) is determined and approved by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs; it should comply with the professional standards, the current regulatory framework and the rules of operation of the Vocational Training system
On this basis, the Regulation on the Operation of Vocational Training Institutes (VET) under the General Secretariat for Vocational Education and Training & Lifelong Learning and Youth has been issued. (decision K5/160259/15-12-2021/B’ 5837). The Decision defines the Quality Policy and Framework of IEK, as well as the Quality Assurance Criteria and Indicators and the Continuous Improvement Process.
The Quality Framework is a single and coherent set of principles, criteria, procedures and quality indicators, following both national policies and European guidelines for quality assurance in Vocational Education and Training (VET)and operating as a tool for improving the quality of the provided Vocational Training services from the VTIs/IEKs.
The quality framework is based on a continuous improvement within the following separate and distinct steps :
- Target setting at the level of quality indicators carried out by the Management of VTIs/IEKs on an annual basis.
- Self-evaluation or internal evaluation that focuses on the IEK as a unit; it is a process of thorough analysis of the current situation of the IEK, regarding the observance of quality criteria and the degree of compliance of the operation of the IEK with the requirements of the Quality Framework.
- Development of improvement plans. The result of the previous step of self-evaluation process is the understanding of the possible points of IEK and points for improvement in relation to quality criteria. On-site External Evaluation. The external evaluation is coordinated and carried out, every three years, by a group of evaluators from the Register of Evaluators of EOPPEP. For the external evaluation, the reports of the self-evaluation team of IEK are used.
- Publication of Results. The results of the whole process (final score) for each IEK are posted on the website of the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training and Lifelong Learning.
The implementation cycle of the continuous improvement process is two years
The framework will include the following quality criteria and indicators such as:
- Leadership - Organization - Planning (Indicator: Degree of satisfaction of those trained by the Management of IEK).
- Provision of Vocational Training Services, Degree of satisfaction of the trainees.
- Infrastructure - Equipment - Resources. (Indicator: Adequacy of laboratory and technological equipment).
- Innovation - extroversion (Indicator: Utilization of new information and communication technologies (ICT).
- Results / outputs (Indicator: Percentage of participation and success rate of IEK graduates in the certification exams of EOPPEP.
- Absorption from the labor market.
Certification of trainers for adults of non-formal education (EOPPEP)
Pursuant to ΓΠ/20082/22-10-2012 Ministerial Decision "Certification System of Educational Competence of Adult Educators of Non-Formal Education", as amended and in force, the National Organisation for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP), in accordance with the principles and guidelines of the European and especially the National policy, develops and implements an Educational Proficiency Certification System for Trainers of non-formal Adult Education and establishes a Registry of certified non-formal Adult Education trainers. Certified teaching qualification is a horizontal skill defined as the proven response to professional functions as well as the verification the knowledge, skills and competences of the Trainer for Adults as embodied in the relevant certified occupational profile. The aim is to upgrade the system of non-formal Adult Education in the context of Lifelong Learning, in order to ensure the quality of education and the services provided and the essential upgrading of qualifications of trainers involved in the implementation of programmes. Since 1.9.2020, the certified educational competence has been a precondition foran instructor to participate in a public funded non formal educational program (Law 4623/2019). The certification of Teaching Qualification for Trainer of Adults entitles registering to the Adult Education Trainers Registry. Applications for participation in the certification process for Teaching qualification is open and continuous and is supported by a relevant information system that has been developed especially for this purpose. Applications and related documents are checked periodically and assessed as to their completeness in accordance with the provisions of the institutional framework in force. The results of the application's completeness based on the criteria and conditions set out in the institutional framework, and according to the candidate's level of qualifications, lead to the following options:
- Direct certification of Teaching Qualification
- Direct participation in the Teaching Qualification certification process (through exams)
- Participation in the Teaching Qualification certification process (through exams) after successfully attending a certified by the National Organization for Certification and Vocational Guidance training programme.
The Teaching Qualification Certification process of Adult Education Trainers complies with the content of the current Certified Professional Profile of Trainer for Adults and is in correspondence with the Framework of the Training of Adult Trainers Programme. The procedure details in the certification methodology of the process for Educational Attainment as well as the exact time the examinations are conducted are decided by the Board of EOPPEP.
Specifically, the process includes a theoretical and practical part: in the theoretical part the candidates answer short-term questions drawn by an exam question bank, while in the practical part the candidates present a short teaching session to a group of peers who play the role of trainees, in the presence of an Evaluators Committee. The Teaching qualification certification process takes place in selected examination centres across the country. Upon completion of the certification process, the result of the evaluation of the candidate, as defined by the certification process, is sent to the Director of the relevant Department of EOPPEP in order for him/her to advise the Board on the certification or not otherwise of the Teaching Qualification of the candidate. The Board of EOPPEP decides whether to grant or not the certification of Teaching Qualification, the granting of certificates and the registering of the candidate in the Registry of Adult Education Trainers. At the end of this process participants are awarded a certificate of Vocational Proficiency.
National Qualifications Framework
As part of its responsibilities, EOPPEP developed and implemented the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The National Qualifications Framework addresses to students, employees, unemployed, employers, education and training providers, qualification certification bodies, career counsellors, professional sectors, social partners, and every citizen with a graduate degree. The National Qualifications Framework is a single tool through which all qualifications awarded in Greece are safely outlined and evaluated; its alignment with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) enhances the comparability of qualifications fostering in consequence mobility of trainees and workers between Greece and other European countries. More information on the National Qualifications Framework are provided in the corresponding section of Chapter 2 "Organisation and Governance".
Licensing system for providers of non - Formal Education
According to law 4093/2012, EOPPEP issues an opinion to the licensing body (i.e. the Minister of Education or the General Secretary of the Vocational Education and Training, and Lifelong Learning and Youth) for granting or modifying licence to:
- Private schools of primary and secondary education (and pre-primary schools with up to 60 infants)
- Private institutes of vocational training
- Centers of lifelong learning level one
- For providers above, EOPEPP issues an opinion on the compliance with the building requirements of law 4093/2012, while the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs and the General Secretary for Vocational Education, Training and Life Long Learning are responsible for granting license to the above structures, where appropriate.
The Board of EOPPEP, grants licence by decision when it comes to:
- Private tutoring schools
- Foreign language centers.
In accordance with the No. ΓΠ/20082/22-10-2012 ministerial decision, compliance with the regulations and provisions related to the conditions for licensing, the provision of educational work and general operation, is responsibility of the General Secretary for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth, in cooperation with EOPPEP, where necessary. In this context, the competent General Secretariat is entitled to carry out regular or ad hoc checking. This task is undertaken by a three-member committee which is designated each time, by decision of the Head of the Unit that overseas licensing and the checking of the organization of the General Secretary for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth. Alternatively, by decision of the General Secretary the task of checking maybe outsourced entrusted to authorized stakeholders, throughout the year. The Head of the Unit may, also, draw an opinion on the results of the checking for the General Secretary who reserves the right to impute sanctions. During the checking phase the curricula and syllabus, whether theoretical or laboratorial are taken into account, as it is formulated according to the learning outcomes per subject, the teacher qualifications, the teaching methods, equipment as well as the teaching means. The checking results are taken down in a special report and posted on the official website of the General Secretary. The checking phase and the publication of the report should be completed, exclusively, within 30 calendar days.
Licensing system for bodies certifying qualifications
According to paragraph 3 of Article 19 of law 4115/2013, entities licensed by EOPPEP may be authorized to monitor and certify qualifications. After their authorization, entities are placed under the authority of EOPPEP. The terms and conditions for the evaluation, licensing and supervision of all types of bodies are determined each time by a presidential decree, which is issued on a proposal by the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs. By decision of the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs and the Minister in charge, as appropriate, followed by the recommendation of the EOPPEP’s Board of Directors, the licensing procedure, the required supporting documents and any other specific, technical or detailed issues are regulated.
Quality framework for programs of study in vocational education and training (EEK)
Ministerial Decision No. 26412/20-02-2017 establishes a quality framework for study programmes of Vocational Education and Training, setting definitions compatible with the European Qualifications Framework. This quality framework delineates specifications and benchmarking as well as ways for the development and revision of the certification and evaluation process of new and existing Vocational Education and Training programmes. Programs are designed to support the connection with the labour market through apprenticeships, the integration of integrated core authentic occupational activities into laboratory exercises (project-based learning), the reduction of syllabus and the utilization of the 'flexible area of the program of study', which encourages assignments on important social and professional issues Special attention is paid to the update of all specialties in accordance with National Qualification Framework and their holistic approach so as to avoid duplication and facilitate linking and classification of specialties and also mobility between VET (EEK) systems of different countries.
Quality framework – post secondary year - apprenticeship class
Τhe scheme ‘Post-Secondary School Year – Apprenticeship class’ was introduced in the area of Non-formal Education (law 4386/2016), with a view to aligning education with the social environment and providing quality learning services and substantial vocational opportunities for young adults. The Quality Framework for Apprenticeship, as provided under the decision ΦΒ7/108652/Κ3/09-09-21/Β’ 4146, introduces relevant definitions, determines ways and conditions for laying down the contracts between apprentices, employers and the educational institution, and sets the way for the management of the organization. This entails the composition of a National Coordinating Body for the Planning and Implementation of Apprenticeship Programmes, with the cooperation of co-operating Ministries such as the Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity, the Ministry of Education & Religious Affairs; other co-operating bodies or social partners are the Hellenic Organization for the Employment of Manpower (OAED), the Central Association of Chambers, the Association of the Regions, the Central Association of Municipalities; Apprenticeship Support Groups where teachers of OAED Vocational Apprenticeship schools (EPAS) participate or of the Career Office of Vocational Apprenticeship schools, or teachers of the Ministry of Education or trainers of Institutes of Vocational Training supervised by the Ministry of Education.
This decision defines the professional education and training programs. In particular, a Workplace Learning Program is defined as the set of learning activities followed by the apprentices; it includes knowledge, abilities and skills or integrated professional activities/projects and other projects described in the learning outcomes of the Training Guide.
As far as workplace training is concerned, Workplace Learning Programs are developed and implemented; these programs include the main body of learning outcomes (knowledge, skills, abilities) required for a graduate's:
- initial access to their specialty (professional specifications)
- and/or for the development of horizontal skills and/or specializations in speciaties.
Learning outcomes can be developed individually (in separate modules) or in combination (both technical and horizontal skills).
The learning outcomes that the apprentice must achieve can be found in the Training Guide for the specialty which forms part of the Apprenticeship Agreement
Apprentices who complete the Apprenticeship training programme obtain a certification of vocational qualifications in accordance with the legislation in force related to the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance.
Public sector entities, as defined by Law 4270/2014 , natural persons, legal entities under private law, as well as private enterprises can take part in the implementation of the Apprenticeship educational program; these entities are called "employers".