As the joint reference curriculum is learning outcomes based and modular it provides flexibility when developing national/school curricula. Thus the partner countries could develop different kinds of VET programmes for initial vocational education (3-4 year duration) and further vocational education (1-1.5 year duration) taking into consideration each country’s legislation.
The existing education programmes in partner countries were analysed and compared to the joint reference curriculum to learn which parts overlap and which parts are not covered. The following solutions were proposed by project country teams:
- In Latvia according to Vocational education law each VET institution is responsible for curricula development. Kuldiga Technology and Tourism Technical School (KTTT) is implementing secondary VET programme “Hospitality Service Specialist” which can be the basis for the integration of the content defined in joint curriculum for the acquiring competences of Administrator of Wellness Centre. Module "Development of individual SPA treatment program for client" will be offered to students as a free choice (part C) module to get additional knowledge, skills and competences which will be certified and could be used for employement.
- In Slovenia, the development of the upper-secondary vocational and technical programmes is set at two levels: 80% of programmes are developed at the national level and 20% of programmes are developed by schools, this last part being called “open curricula”. The open curricula are defined in collaboration between a school and local employers whereby they discuss the possibilities to introduce additional vocational competencies, specialised knowledge or new profiles into the existing school curricula. Based on the expressed interests and presented needs, school prepares new modules to be introduced as the open curricula. As a result a new school curriculum “Gastronomy and Tourism – Wellness specialisation” will be introduced.
- In Bulgaria VET curricula are developed and approved by the Ministry of Education for the secondary VET, while VET centers for adults are responsible for the development of their own curricula. Steps will be taken to officially recognize the Administrator of Wellness Center as a separate profession in the List of Professions for VET. This will take time, so meanwhile some of the knowledge or skills or modules of the qualification developed under the project may be integrated into existing curricula and related professions in the professional field 812 Travel, Tourism and Leisure or 813 Sport.
- In Slovakia a new subject "Wellness Services and SPA" will be introduced in the Hotel Academy of Ľudovít Winter in Piešťany based on the existing school educational programme (school curriculum) and using the school´s “available lessons”, which allow expanding and deepening the educational content in selected subjects. The school curriculum is based on the State Educational Programme for the Group of Vocational and Study Branches 62 - Economic Sciences, 63, 64 Economics and Organization, Trade and Services approved by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport SR (the highest state document on education). Results of the pilot implementation will be used for the proposal of the experimental programme, which should be carried out with the aim to create, change and renew pedagogical documentation or educational programme.
To support the introduction of the new AWC qualification in partner countries by providing clear unified assessment requirements the project consortium elaborated Assessment standards. The document includes information on main principles of assessment of Learning outcomes, assessment methods and tools, key terminology, as well as assessment forms to be used at school, WBL and mobilities. The main part of the work was around defining the criteria for assessment of the achieved learning outcomes of 5 modules comprising the joint reference AWC curriculum. Levels of the achieved learning outcomes were described based on the intended learning outcomes and demonstration indicators defined in the AWC Qualification profile. The consortium agreed to use three levels: satisfactory, good and excellent. To ensure that these levels correspond to national grading system the project partners described the assessment in national contexts and the possibilities to transform mastery levels of joint curriculum to the national grading scales.
Common and agreed criteria for learning outcome’s assessment in joint curriculum will provide reliable basis for the assessment that cover the entire learning/teaching process – on-going (formative assessment), intermediate (summative of each module) and final (leading to recognition and certification) and therefore should ensure adequate and supporting students’ knowledge, skills and competences development and achievements during the learning. The same criteria can be used for curriculum assessment implemented as school-based, work-based and for student’s self-evaluation, as well as assessment of vocational knowledge, skills, and competences acquired as a result of formal and informal learning.
The defined assessment criteria will also be used for the assessment of acquired competences during the geographical mobilities which were planned in all partner countries during the period between March and May 2020, but due to Covid-19 have been postponed to autumn.
To ensure acknowledgement of AWC qualification and the joint curriculum in the partners’ countries and to contribute to the project products’ exploitation and sustainability, the consortium developed The Accreditation Strategy. The Strategy defines how to achieve official decision on providing training for acquisition of AWC qualification in upper secondary VET and in VET for adults in accordance with the joint curriculum and supporting documents developed, considering country specific procedures that should be followed. The Accreditation Strategy includes action plan for recognition / accreditation of qualification Administrator of the Wellness Centre and expected impact of the accreditation of the qualification on a national level.
As the last step in designing of joint AWC Qualification, the project consortium will elaborate Guidelines for Quality Assurance of the joint curriculum implementation.
Partners of the project:
The project WellTo (project No.: 597861-EPP-1-2018-1-BG-EPPKA3-VET-JQ) has been funded with the support from the European Commission within the Erasmus+ programme. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.