Principle 5: The role of stakeholders and their specific interests and positions

There is a common understanding that the involvement of stakeholders into the process of setting up and maintaining educational systems has a positive influence on the quality of training and education. Success stories, mostly dealing with the common activities of social partners, are sometimes considered to be useable as models which can be easily transferred to countries where comparable structures of collaboration in the field do not (yet) exist.

In this context, it should not be forgotten that success is always dependent on the specific content of the agreement which can be achieved among stakeholders, and that it cannot be taken for granted that this always fits to 100% the needs of all involved parties: Not only social partners (organisations of entrepreneurs and trade unions), but also individuals and single enterprises as well as public and private educational bodies can claim interests, and it is not clear from the very beginning that the result of negotiations between politically acting stakeholders will cover all needs: This works only if the basic common understanding can be achieved that, at least in the long run, the needs of all interested parties are covered if the interests of individuals - to be flexible to fulfil the requirements of various work places - , and the interests of enterprises - to get a workforce able to match their specific requirements as soon as possible – are integrated into an overarching model as it was suggested above.

This might be difficult if there is no rough idea how this “focal point” of common interest (as “profession” in central Europe) could look like. But even if there is some tradition of common understanding, the involvement of stakeholders always leads to some political comprise which is certainly not oriented to conceptual reflections, but to protection or extension of an acquired position. As results of interviews with stakeholders suggest, this does not only concern stakeholders representing different societal areas, but also those who come from different educational subsystems.

This attitude, of course, is not only typical for the behaviour of stakeholders within a national environment, it influences also their relationships to stakeholders abroad, in particular during the currently taking place NQF/SQF/EQF debates. There should be found ways how can be made sure that this kind of thinking does not threaten the whole EQF implementation process.


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