EU Commission decides to create a “genuine European educational area for learning and training”
The Council of the European Union, also known as the EU Council of Ministers, has published its recommendations for sustainable competitiveness, social equity and resilience of vocational education and training (VET) in the Official Journal of the European Union (2020/C 417/01).
The aim is to create a “genuine European learning area where high-quality, inclusive education and training is not hindered by borders”. Hurdles and obstacles to the recognition of higher education qualifications obtained abroad, as well as to the validation of education and training qualifications, should be removed. In this context, the Council of Ministers calls for “a swift implementation of a simple cross-border validation of continuing education and lifelong learning measures. “The Council of the European Union calls on public and private providers of continuing vocational training to make a greater commitment to VET (Vocational Education and Training). University, being one of the first European higher education institutions to be certified according to the new european DIN-ISO 21001:2018 standard for educational organizations, fully complies with this request.
Building on the priorities of the Copenhagen process of enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training, which were adopted by a Council resolution on 19 December 2002, the objectives of high-quality and flexible continuing vocational education and training, including transnational mobility, are at the heart of the EU Commission’s global vision for the modernization of continuing vocational education and training measures and programs. The responsible ministers laid down this vision as early as 2010 in the Bruges Communiqué. It has lost none of its relevance to this day. The objectives of the earlier Council resolution from 2002 and the 2010 communiqué form the starting point, as well as the foundation of the Bruges/Copenhagen Process, which the EU Commission has been driving forward strategically and operationally since 2012. Nevertheless, in terms of visibility, the Bruges/Copenhagen Process has so far led a rather shadowy existence compared to the Bologna Process launched by the Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999.
As a primary reason for the lack of visibility of the Bruges/Copenhagen Process in wide circles of the health care sector, education experts cite, on the one hand, the fact that politicians generally pay more attention to initial medical education in universities than to continuing VET efforts. On the other hand, national decision-makers are suspicious of interference by the EU Commission in continuing vocational training, which is ruled out both legally and politically in Bologna matters.
Be that as it may. From the very beginning, DTMD University has been committed to the strict transparency and quality requirements as well as to the continuous permeability of the Bruges/Copenhagen Process. It welcomes the shift in perspective from input orientation to learning outcome orientation, from lecturers’ delivery exercises to students’ learning activities. We speak of a “shift from teaching to learning”. Competences and experiences are thereby imparted in formal and non-formal learning environments at all levels of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), especially postgraduate at the tertiary level.
As a provider of professional development programs and measures, DTMD University must ensure, by virtue of its DIN-ISO certification, that it has an appropriate degree of flexibility, autonomy, and financial resources, both nationally and internationally, to adapt its training offer to changing competence needs and to ensure quality in the teaching and learning process.
In contrast to traditional universities, the DTMD University sees little sense in assuming a dichotomy of scientific and professional training requirements in the healthcare sector. Prof. Dr. André Reuter, President of DTMD University, says:
“Such a dividing line fails to recognize that medicine is primarily an empirical science, and it postulates a system-related difference in knowledge and competencies, which would lead to a strict contrast between professional and academic education. Regardless of the theory-driven nature of a course of study or educational provision, programs and measures of continuing professional development in medicine and dentistry must ensure the primacy of practical relevance and immediate practicality in the short as well as in the long term.” According to this primacy of clinical practice the private Luxembourg university, also pays great attention when choosing its lecturers and professors. “This does not only make us friends,” comments the DTMD President.
A fundamental characteristic of the Bruges/Copenhagen Process is the guarantee of a stringent permeability of the educational pyramid from level 4 (competences required for independent planning and processing of technical tasks in a comprehensive, changing field of learning or professional field of activity.) up to level 8 (doctorate). The DTMD University takes this into account with its measures for the recognition of acquired competences as well as the corresponding classification to different educational and competence levels. It thus offers the nursing and assistant professions real promotion options, making the job much more attractive to experienced professionals.