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Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
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Project COMPETE - Competence evaluation and training for Europe
Overview The cross-national comparison undertaken in workpackage 1 involved a systematic analysis of the VET and accreditation systems of 12 EU member states, using a common template. The template allowed for categorisation of the countries on the following dimensions: policy, legislation and regulation; provision and the market; occupational classification systems; skills taxonomies. Data gathering techniques included: reviews of available research surveys (e.g. CEDEFOP); content analysis of policy documents; expert interviews.

On this basis it is possible to cluster the states in terms of  common features. Four broad configurations can be identified:

  • Cluster 1, typified by conditions in France and Germany, is characterised by a highly legislated, significantly centralised, government funded and centrally-controlled learning infrastructure. 
  • Cluster 2 represents a ‘transitional’ group, which is moving towards hybrid systems based on some degree of regulation and centralisation, but increasingly influenced by new forms of partnerships involving private and social agencies. 
  • Cluster 3 represents what might be termed the ‘Scandinavian model’, and reflects a high degree of social integration of learning (the importance of social partners; an emphasis on informal and life-long learning; mixed funding models). 
  • At the extreme, Cluster 4 (the UK) reflects a more market-led, de-centralised regime.
(Cullen, 2001, p. 16, 34, 35)
Insight The final project report (Cullen, 2001) provides the details of the adopted methodology.
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