Competence discussed with Jonathan Winterton

On March 28 and 29 I discussed the concept of competence with Jonathan Winterton (in Toulouse) in the perspective of composing a book together with invited chapters. Jonathan shared his recent article ‘Competence in European Policy Instruments: A Moving Target for Developing a National Qualifications Framework?’ in the Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies (5/2011, p. 72ff.). That is an interesting piece of work that meticulously analyses the development of the concept of competence in the European VET and HE debates and instrument creation for raising opportunities for mobility and related qualification comparison. The article shows in an excellent way the many inconsistencies and unclarities in the way European policymakers have defined and used the concept of competence, making it thus practically impossible to say anything consistent over the last decade in the direction of practice. It is therefore not a miracle that EU member states  have difficulties in developing or matching their national qualification framework with the EQF which is meant to be the EU reference model for all national qualification frameworks in the EU. A lot of intelligence is needed to reach more convergence in the common understanding of the central concepts used in the European VET and HE policy development agenda.

HRM issues in vocational and professional education discussed

Today a small group of representatives of HRM departments in vocational and professional colleges and staff of ECS have discusses various issues in HRM and professional development of teaching staff.  Competence and performance based management, results and development assessments, control and commitment models, regional learning roles and competencies of mid-career teaching staff, and team approaches in education and learning suppport were discussed in a lively manner. This was truly an interactive session, which took from 13:15-17:15hrs, which went by like a minute. I am sure ECS staff learned as much as our guests. The atmosphere was so positive that is has been decided to have a similar meeting again in the Fall of 2012. In that meeting the overall results of the ProDo-project (on professional development of teachers in green education) and the AOC-Council project ‘Proud of our teacher’ will be presented at large. This may well be a crowded meeting.

Competence and education

During the last decades competence has become very popular in education. Much of it had to do with the preparation of student for occupations and professions, or the labour market and society in general. Parallel to that, organisations, including Wageningen UR, introduced competence-management systems. International education development organisations also jumped on the bandwagon, and are exporting competence-based education models, leading to phrases like ‘we implement competence-based’, as shorthand for using principles of competence-based vocational or professional education. Even at university level, variations of competence-based education are being introduced.

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PhD course Competence Theory and Research running

The WASS-ICO PhD course on Competence Theory and Research is running. The course shows that competence theory is well developed and that certain competence research is very advanced. Complex research designs and statistical analysis techniques, using detailed competence measurement and differentiated performance assessment, showed relationships between competence and performance at aggregated and desaggregated levels. Of course many of the existing studies are criticised for conceptual unclarity, inconsistent conceptualisations, limited operationalisations, weak designs and restricted analyses. Ways to improve competence theory and research are shared.

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Prof. dr. Martin Kropff, Rector Magnificus, and Prof. dr. ir. Pim Brascamp, Director of the Education Institute of Wageningen University visit ECS

On March 2 2012 Prof. dr. Martin Kropff, Rector Magnificus, and Prof. dr. ir. Pim Brascamp, Director of the Education Institute of Wageningen University visit ECS. Staff members presented their research and education portfolios, and PhD students explained posters of their projects. The session proceeded in an excellent atmosphere, many questions were raised, and various interesting ideas were shared for further activities. ECS thanks both Prof. Kropff and Prof. Brascamp for their interest in the work of the chair group. Continue reading Prof. dr. Martin Kropff, Rector Magnificus, and Prof. dr. ir. Pim Brascamp, Director of the Education Institute of Wageningen University visit ECS

Dr Suzanne Verdonschot visits ECS

Dr Suzanne Verdonschot, board member of the Netherlands Association of HRD professionals (NVO2) visited ECS on March 2, 2012. The special tasks of Suzanne in the board is to link science with practice. ECS shared its programme with Suzanne, and the conclusion was that there are various opportunities for cooperation, since linking research with practice is also an important feature of the work of ECS. It was agreed that the NVO2 will help ECS in finding good candidates for PhD projects in the field of corporate training and competence development. Vacancies for these and other PhD projects are advertised on the website of ECS: NVO2 will also look into the possibility to link organisations with research of ECS. Finally ECS has stated that we are willing to organise professional meetings to share experience between researchers and practitioners.

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