CENTRE FOR TOURISM TRAINING, Faculty of Geography
REPORT ON AQUAT.TS TOOLKIT TESTING
At the Centre for Tourism Training (CTT), Faculty of Geography, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the AQUAT.TS TOOLKIT took place as part of the Pilot Training Module. The courses were delivered during 16 March and 10 April with a theoretical knowledge-building module (16.03 – 27.03) and a practical module (30.03 -10.04), the latter (Module IV) focused on the use of the AQUA.TS TOOLKIT. The courses were taught according to a timetable which included four hours per day, i.e. Monday to Friday, 4 pm – 8 pm and included the following content areas:
MODULE I: Introduction in management
- A brief introduction to management
- Definitions and approaches to management
- Functions of management
- Strategic management and operational management
- Methods, techniques and instruments used in management
- Vision, mission, scope, objectives
- Criteria, standards and indicators
MODULE II: Quality Management
- Brief historical overview, approaches and definitions
- Quality assurance
- Strategic and operational quality management
- Organizational culture
- Product and services quality
- Internal audit and performance indicators
- Quality assurance in education
MODULE III: Quality Assurance in VET
- Recommendation of the European Parliament and Council of 18 June 2009 regarding the establishment of a Common European Reference Framework for Quality Assurance in VET
- Implementation of the Recommendation of the European Parliament and Council of 18 June 2009 regarding the establishment of a Common European Reference Framework for Quality Assurance in VET
- The Romanian National Quality Assurance System for VET in tourism.
MODULE IV: Automatic quality control toolkit for the evaluation of quality assurance performance
- Presentation of the toolkit and its usefulness
- How it is used and how it functions – AQUA.TS TOOLKIT testing
The practical component (lasting for 40 hrs – Module IV, between 30 March and 10 April) was approached in a more flexible way, allowing the participants to carry out individual activities. The purpose was to enable them to become acquainted with the toolkit through individual study and practice. The practical activity followed the trainer’s presentations and explanations – Ms Adriana ȘERBAN, senior sociologist, Centre for University Development and Quality Management, BBU – who developed the first testing in December 2014 and provided inserted comments and suggestions on the EXCEL Model – and Ms Silvia IRIMIEA, a trainer and the project coordinator.
The participants were 18 persons representing the target groups:
- VET providing organisations’ managers and staff
- Trainers and teachers in VET, especially in the tourism sector
- Representatives of the national authority (The National Authority for Qualifications – ANC)
- Managers of tourism enterprises
- Academic staff who deliver tourism courses
- Staff members
One of the participants’ work evaluation tasks (Annex 1) consisted in filling in the toolkit and providing comments on it, and mentioning 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses thereof.The tasks were duly fulfilled by all the 18 participants.
The most frequent strong points and weak points that the training participants have mentioned are presented in Table 1. Detailed examples of weak points are presented in Table 2.
Table 1.AQUAT.TS TOOLKIT – the most frequent strong points and weak points that the training participants have mentioned.
|Strong points||Weak points|
|– Enables the European principles integration and recommendations, and it is appropriate to the European and national objectives.
-Creates a structured framework for quality assurance in the VET.
-Encourages the development of a result-based research and analysis at the system level.
-Enables an in-depth monitoring and analysis of the process of quality assurance in VET organizations.
-Tackles, in a detailed manner, multiple issues and situations of the quality assurance process.
-Enhances a clear and specific definition of the concepts and categories of quality assurance in VET.
-Highlights the obligations of every VET-involved person, especially the socio-economic responsibilities of the management and authority staff.
-Provides support for the identification and analysis of the trainers’/ students’/employers’ expectations.
-Contributes to the identification of possible partnerships in VET.
-Provides support and information for further development of training programs.
|-Some items are not applicable to any type of VET organization; especially for smaller VET organisations, newly established ones or newly initiated/accredited programs this approach is not totally appropriate.
-The learners’ employability indicator is a little too high at the moment because this is a delicate situation on the present unstable labour market. Therefore, at this time, more emphasis should be put on the quality of teaching and on evaluating indicators.
-Some items are difficult to be implemented in some countries because of the gaps inherent in the systems, and not due to the organizations’ shortcomings.
-Some questions are unclear, confusing, or do not specify the requirements.
-Some items have not enough answering options to cover all possibilities.
-Some answering options are unclear or do not specify the option.
-The answering options are irrelevant for some items.
-It is a thick, branching out and difficult to use assessment tool.
Table 2. AQUAT.TS TOOLKIT – examples of weak points (no. of indicator – no. of the row in the EXCEL file)
|1.||Some items are difficult to be implemented in some countries because of the gaps of the system and not due to the organizational shortcomings.|
|5 – 19||If you use tools to check the causes for which your learners do not complete the VET courses, do you take corrective actions to reduce the dropout rate?|
|5 – 24||If you assess the competences needs of the labour market in the design of VET programs, do you make such an assessment in a systematic way?|
|2.||Some questions are unclear, confusing or not specific enough.|
|4 – 17||Do you use a tool to assess training needs in the labour market that is been used /evaluated at least twice a year?||Unclear.|
|8 – 11||Have all the measures been taken in your organisation to overcome the barriers?||All measures?
|3.||Some items have not enough answering options to cover all possibilities.|
|8 – 17||Which is the completion rate of training programs realized by disadvantaged groups (vis-à-vis the total number of disadvantaged people in training)?||The reasonable rate is about 50% in many countries.|
|2 – 18||Do you plan your training courses on an annual basis to:
1 – Improve key competencies of trainers/teachers
|There are situations when planning is done every 2 years or randomly, when needed, for example (and not annually) – for which there are no answering options.|
|3 – 10||How often do you align the planning of your programmes with national, local and/or European VET policy?||Annual adjustments can be done to local and national policy and every two years, for example, to the European policy – there are no answering options for this situations (it is recommended that formulations containing “AND” to be avoided because of possible difficulties in answering).|
|3 – 11||How many ways your organisation has organised to respond to the need for adapted training provision?
1 – 1 tool/procedure
|The question is not clear enough and there is no answering option for more than one method/procedure.|
|5 – 24||If you assess the competences needs of the labour market in the preparation of VET programs, do you make such an assessment in a systematic way?
Yes, No, No, I don’t make this action/measures
|There is no answering option if this action is taken randomly or when needed.|
|4.||Some answering options are unclear or not specific.|
|2 – 14||If a trainer updating training and specialisation plan exists, what percentage of the total number of the trainers/teachers participates yearly in training activities?
1 – Less than 70%
the software will consider good: answer n. 3
|There is no option for 3.|
|2 – 18||Every year, do you plan your training courses in order to:
1 – Improve key competencies of trainers/teachers
|To this sort of questions, ticking YES or NO is needed or the answering options only?
If a course is organised every two year or when needed (is requested from people, for example), there is no answer option for this situation.
|5.||The answering options are irrelevant for some items.|
|7 – 14||Have the target groups found a coherent job with the carried out path, where they can put into practice the skills acquired in training?
YES / NO
|This question with the YES/NO answering options is irrelevant (if just 1% succeeded for example, will it be considered YES?). A percentage answering scale with five steps – including 0% maybe – should be more appropriate.|
|8 – 19||If yes, have they found a consistent job with the skills acquired during the training?
YES / NO
|This question with the YES/NO answering options is irrelevant (if just 1% succeeded for example, it will be considered YES?). A percentage answering scale with five steps – including 0% maybe – should be more appropriate.|
ANEX 1. The final evaluation test.
QUALITY ASSUTRANCE IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING (IN TOURISM)
Your work institution/organisation:
Field of activity:
Your position within the institution/organisation:
- Elaborate a SWOT analysis, mainly regarding the quality assurance activity in your organisation
|Strong points||Weak points|
- Elaborate a strategic plan for the implementation of one of the ten EQAF indicators (at your own choice) in your work institution/organisation
Goal: Implementation of no.1. EQAF indicator ”Relevance of quality assurance systems for VET providers”
|OBJECTIVES||ACTIVITIES||INDICATORS/ OBJECTIVES CUATIFICATION||DEADLINE|
- Fill in the EXCEL model of AQUATS TOOLKIT for your work institution/organization.
Please indicate your comments and/or concerns in the end of row cells.
- Please indicate 3 – 5 strong points and 3 – 5 weak points of the AQUATS TOOLKIT, in order to use it for evaluation and/or self-assessment of the quality assurance system in your work organisation