Wiltz/Luxembourg, 28 March 2019

The Belgian EU Council Presidency launched a European project in Bruges in 2001, which was intended to trigger similar reform impulses in vocational education and training as the Bologna Process in the higher education sector. In contrast to the Bologna concept, however, the aim was not to focus on formal university education, but rather to create a link between informal, formal and non-formal vocational education and training. A year later, 31 European education ministers (EU and EEA states) adopted a corresponding declaration in Copenhagen, thereby launching the Bruges-Copenhagen Process.

"Through the targeted recognition of methods and measures of informal and non-formal education", Prof. Dr. André Reuter, President of the Luxembourg University for Digital Technology in Medicine and Dentistry, located in Schloss Wiltz, said: "the Bruges-Copenhagen approach ensures, in contrast to the Bologna idea, that lifelong learning processes, in which people acquire attitudes, values, skills and knowledge through influences and sources of their own environment and/or from their daily experience, are taken into account, as are non-formal qualification opportunities for the improvement of vocational skills and competences". The range is very broad and reaches from simple manual skills to postgraduate master and doctoral studies. This is of particular importance for health professionals. On the one hand, regular training is compulsory, on the other hand, career changers can benefit from targeted qualification that can open doors for them in the health care system given the rampant shortage of skilled workers.

The core concern of the Bruges-Copenhagen Process, to which DTMD University has committed itself, is to guarantee transparency, permeability and mobility in both the higher education and non-university sectors throughout Europe and to create recognized criteria for open perspectives and high quality in vocational education and training on a transnational basis. This requires common principles for the validation of non-formal and informal learning as well as a comprehensive credit transfer system for vocational education and training.

Digitalization makes quality assurance indispensable in vocational education and training

Reuter continues: "The emerging digitalization of the health care system makes it clear that the university has long since ceased to be the only place where physicians can and must acquire skills. This gives postgraduate vocational training a completely new status." The Bruges-Copenhagen process, which in contrast to the Bologna process is not an intergovernmental one but an EU process, therefore emphasizes the absolute necessity of quality assurance in vocational education and training. This can best be demonstrated by means of the corresponding ISO certifications. According to the President of DTMD University, such certification must include the implementation and application of ECVET, the European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training, and its application to individual training modules.