The PALSO Federation held its 29th Annual Conference late last August at the premises of the Club Hotel Casino in Loutraki and attracted a large number of members who had come from far and apart. The Conference, which was officially opened by the President of the PALO Federation Mr Yiannis Michaelides, featured:
• A panel discussion; • Professional and commercial presentations; • A Book and Resource Exhibition; • A rich social programme; • The AGM
The Panel Discussion
Panellists included MP Katerina Batzeli, former minister of agriculture, Mr Constantinos Kaltsas, Chair of the Hellenic Qualifications Framework Organization, Mr Stavros Stavrou, former deputy director of CEDEFOP, and Mr Fotis Hatzifotis, lawyer and co-ordinator of the discussion.
All panellists agreed that certification and accreditation of qualifications is the focal point for the implementation of a unified European education policy as well as for promoting workers’ and learners’ mobility between countries and facilitating their lifelong learning.
Ms Batzeli pointed out that education in every sense is one of the fundamental factors of development. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education enriches people’s understanding of themselves and the world.
It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society. Education raises people’s productivity and creativity and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances.
In addition it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution.
Mr Kaltsas informed the audience on the aims and objectives of the Hellenic Qualifications Framework Organization.
The Hellenic Qualifications Framework is a tool for the classification of qualifications in terms of knowledge, skills and competences that are acquired by people on completion of a learning process. It benefits:
• Learners and employees, who wish to change educational path, or vocation, or move to another country; • Providers of education and training; • Employers.
The Hellenic Qualifications Framework offers:
• Facilitation of access and participation to lifelong learning; • Opportunity for vocational development; • Mobility increase of trainees and employees; • Lifelong learning support, through the interconnection of all types of formal, non formal and informal learning; • Reinforcement of qualifications’ transparency and their connection to employment; • Validation and accreditation of informal learning; • Rationalisation and assurance of the quality of the recognition and accreditation system.
The 8 Levels of the Hellenic Qualifications Framework The Hellenic Qualifications Framework comprises of 8 levels, which cover all types of qualifications from compulsory education to higher education.
The innovation lies in the fact that the Framework facilitates the validation of non-formally (ex. initial and continuing vocational training) and informally (i.e. vocational experience) acquired qualifications.
(The ministry of education, during the past ten months, has been recording all types of qualifications awarded in secondary and tertiary education both by formal and non formal education providers.
More than 6,500 different qualifications have been recorded so far. Therefore it is of primary importance for the ministry to validate and include them in the national qualifications framework.)