Principle 2: A holistic view on the work process as the starting point for EQF application

The common EQF orientation of educational key elements is based on a common objective which has existed long ago before the EQF was invented: Training and education is no end in itself, but serves goals of the individuals which, as a rule, are situated beyond learning. Occupational standards reflect that it is work and employability for which learning processes shall enable, but there are, of course, other issues which play a role in this context: scientific interests, citizenship, ethical questions, and all issues which can be considered moments of individual development.

These “soft” objectives are sometimes understood to contradict to fitness for the labour market as a goal of training and education, but this is not necessarily the case: Within work, individual development is not excluded, but takes place, taking in account ethical issues and citizenship’s requirements, and might even refer to science which is also a kind of work.

A holistic view on the work process should therefore be the starting point for designing educational key elements and determining the reference to the EQF. This should not be understood as a plea for some overall approach which does not clearly determine what in detail is considered; it should deliver a systematic view on the work process as a set of actions carried out by individuals in a context structured according to the expected results of work. This includes and does not prevent a functional view on work, and at the same it prevents a “freezing” of partial work processes from which sets of learning outcomes are derived that have to be replaced at short notice due to technical progress: According to the function of partial work processes in relationship to the goals of work they will be not described in an empirical, but conceptual way.

It is obvious that national educational systems do not value all these aspects of training and education to the same degree, this was also confirmed by the results of the interviews with stakeholders undertaken in the framework of the project EQF Predict and other projects. However, it makes sense to demand that proper EQF assignment should keep the perspective of considering the mentioned aspects under the umbrella of an integrative concept; this does commit nobody, but it prevents a-priori-reductions.


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