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11/20/09  (jp)  [1 Comments]

Peer Review Implementation in Finland

Quality Management Recommendations for VET

In Finland, the "Quality Management Recommendations for Vocational Education and Training" (whose origins date back to the late 1990s, early 2000s) are the main instrument to implement the CQAF/EQARF in VET and follow-up on the Copenhagen process. They support and encourage VET providers to pursue excellence when improving the quality of their operations on a voluntary basis. They were drawn up by the Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE) in cooperation with VET providers, representatives of the world of work, and students.

The recommendations can be applied to all VET forms: initial VET, further and continuing training, competence tests and training preparing for competence-based qualifications, as well as curricular or school-based VET, special needs VET and apprenticeship training. In addition, the recommendations can be applied at both VET provider and individual unit level. The structure of the "Quality Management Recommendations for VET" reflects the CQAF. The recommendations are divided into sections on the basis of the characteristics of an excellent organisation. Each section presents recommendations relating to different phases of the model: planning, implementation, evaluation and assessment, and feedback and procedures for change.

In January 2008, the Ministry of Education has verified the recommendations. The implementation of the recommendations will be supported by different kinds of quality tools and methods developed by FNBE in cooperation with VET providers.

Peer Review included in Quality Management Recommendations for VET

The use of Peer Review at national level – following the procedure developed in the LdV Peer Review projects – has been included in the Quality Management Recommendations for VET. It is to be used on a voluntary basis. Peer Review will not replace existing quality assurance/quality development tools used by VET providers but will complement them.

In Finland, the CQAF/EQARF model has been perceived as an overarching common framework for assuring the quality of VET at both the national and VET providers’ level. For different phases of the CQAF model, different tools and methods are used. Peer Review as one of these tools has a tight connection especially with the holistic and systemic approach to quality management which includes evaluation, continuous learning, improvement, and innovation. Peer Review is to be used in the evaluation and assessment phase.Graph: Evaluation and assessment: An example of the recommendation

VET providers interested in Peer Review

There are many VET providers in Finland who consider using Peer Review as a method of quality development in the future. Only 2% of the VET providers participating in a survey conducted by FNBE have no plans to use Peer Review at all. 

Adaptation to Finnish VET and pilot Peer Reviews

In 2008 and 2009, a project was carried out in Finland in which the European Peer Review procedure and criteria were tailored to Finnish initial and continuing VET. Furthermore, pilot Peer Reviews were conducted on a national level in initial VET and a structure for the support of Peer Reviews is about to be set up.

Peer Review seems to fit in very well with the quality management of VET providers in Finland; it is a good complement to other quality management methods used.

Peer Training and extension to continuing VET

In spring 2009, two face-to-face Peer Trainings were conducted by FNBE. The trainings consisted of three training days, with an exercise phase in advance and practical exercises between two training periods. Additionally, there has been one day of training for VET providers.


Leena Koski
Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE)