Experiencing transnational peer review through a fruitful mobility program

On the 13th and 14th of February 2018 at the Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering in Bratislava, a Transnational European Peer Review, involving Peers from Italy and Slovakia, for the first time has been held. It involved two EfVET members from the two countries: Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering in Braitslava and FORMA.Azione (IT).

Forma.Azione srl (Italy)

The European Peer Review is a quality assurance methodology based on a combination of self and external evaluation, and performed by peer colleagues who work in similar organizations in education and training. It aims at improving the quality of the VET providers implementing the continuous improvement approach and, by doing so, it contributes to increase the competences of the staff. Applied on a voluntary basis and able to support the internal quality evaluation process, it has proven to be an effective and an easy-to-use method to better develop self-evaluation and self-reflection competences of VET providers’ staff. The methodology has been defined and continuously improved through different EU funded projects (Leonardo da Vinci and Erasmus+ projects mainly, such as Peer Review in initial VET, Peer Review Extended I and II, PRALINE) and it has been included, among other Quality Assurance practices, in key activities planned by some of the EQAVET National Reference Points in Europe, such as the Finnish, the Italian, the Romanian and the Slovakian.

Thanks to a mobility program promoted by the Slovakian EQAVET NRP, the Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering in Bratislava had the opportunity to take part to a learning-by-doing activity aimed at developing Peers’ competences in order to conduct the European Peer Review as well as to implement self-evaluation practices.

After a first round of Peers’ training activity held in Perugia at FORMA.Azione srl venue last December 2017, where Chiara Palazzetti and Sylvia Liuti (both Peers’ trainers and Peers enrolled in the Italian EQAVET NRP Peers’ Register) have trained professionals from various Slovakian VET providers on the methodology, including Alžbeta Štofková and Eva Kubišová of the Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering in Bratislava – that than hosted a Peer Review.

The first implementation of the methodology in the country, as required by the PR Manual, has started with the production of the self-evaluation report, made by the internal quality experts of the school. In the meanwhile, thanks to the coordination of the NRP, the Peers team has been set up, involving Vladimír Hlinka of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, Štefánia Hrivňáková, Sylvia Liuti and Chiara Palazzetti from FORMA.Azione. The Peers have managed their job through Skype calls and exchange of opinions and comments on the self-evaluation report, in order to be ready for the Peers’ visit on the 13th and 14th of February 2018.

The visit has been a fruitful opportunity for all the staff involved both from the Peers Team and the VET provider, to mutual learn and raise awareness on the importance of self-assessment and of an evidence-based approach to better inform decision-makers and engage relevant stakeholders for the quality of the educational provision.

The experience of Transnational European Peer Review in the Secondary School of Mechanical Engineering in Bratislava has proven to be an effective QA methodology and learning process itself to:

  • concretely implement self-evaluation approaches, according to defined criteria and indicators (those provided by the European Peer Review methodology);
  • improve the knowledge about the different European education/school systems;
  • reinforce the soft skills required to act as Peers, such as interpersonal communication, group dynamics, problem solving, time management, etc.;
  • acquire information and data, for the first time in Slovakia, about how to implement effective and easy-to-use quality assurance instruments in VET.

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