Process towards 2015
The development of a Quality Assurance Framework will be a long term process that will take several years. The network aims to have the framework fully functioning by 2015 for youth organisations and to possibly extend it to non-formal education providers outside the youth field or to develop into a Quality Assurance Framework for lifelong learning.
By 2015 this process should culminate in the realisation of an non-formal education field for youth organisations in which:
Youth organisations providing non-formal education are widely recognised as quality education providers.
The conditions necessary for non-formal education providers to provide quality non-formal education are fulfilled.
All relevant stakeholders have clear roles and responsibilities.
All stakeholders are comfortable with their defined roles.
External actors such as potential learners - can easily access information on the QA framework.
To achieve this the Network works on three strands:
A political strand:
All relevant stakeholders (EU institutions, Member States, civil society and the social partners, along with other international institutions such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the World Bank) should start a structured discussion based on an equal partnership between non-formal education providers and institutions, culminating in a Quality Assurance Charter for Non-Formal Education by 2015.
The European Youth Forum has started the political process by organising several dialogue meetings on non-formal education at which the development of a Quality Assurance Framework was discussed. The Pilot Project was accompanied by an advisory board, which was composed of representatives of other Educational fields, academic experts and institutions.
In 2011, the European Youth Forum organised a conference on Quality Assurance in Life Long Learning to start the development of this network together with its members and stakeholders. The Symposium on recognition of Youth work and non-formal education, organised by the European Commission and the Council of Europe in November 2011will further discuss quality of non-formal education and its recognition.
The European Youth Forum aims to have an agreement at the end of 2012 on the Framework with institutions and stakeholders and will organise several development meetings to finalise this process.
Expertise building strand:
Quality assurance is a new concept for those youth organisations providing non-formal education, and this concept, although developed by the field, will need to be extensively tested and refined. The European Youth Forum therefore, launched the pilot project in 2009 to test the day to day practical implications of the concepts developed. The Pilot Project showed that the concepts were sound and that the quality assurance scheme worked but needed to be further refined. This was carried out and the policy paper was updated at the European Youth Forum's Council of Members in May 2011.
The report of the Pilot Project can be found here.
Furthermore the European Youth Forum has linked this process to the development of quality assurance in other fields and presented the project at the European Quality Assurance Forum in 2010. The European Youth Forum has set up a small research grant for young researchers to develop research in the field of quality assurance of non-formal education.
The network will further aim to be a knowledge centre on quality assurance of non-formal education by gathering info on practices and policies in different organisations and countries.
Capacity building strand:
The outcomes of the pilot projects and the expertise gained, should be distributed as quickly, and as efficiently as possible, among the different organisations and participating states.
The Pilot Project in 2009 served next to expertise building as well as a capacity building exercise for European Youth Forum Member Organisations. After the Policy Paper was updated the European Youth Forum increased its efforts on capacity building by organising two rounds of the quality assurance cycle in 2011 and by publishing a manual on quality assurance in non-formal education.
The Working Group non-formal education of the European Youth Forum will support the development of the Network with expertise and the Pool of Trainers of the European Youth Forum will be involved in the first quality assurance cycle to train several trainers so that they can lead further quality assurance cycles.
The Network will also work together with national educational authorities on the development of national frameworks for quality assurance of non-formal education.