Author: Anthony F. Camilleri

Micro-Credential Guidelines

The Micro-credentials guide aims to accelerate the flexibility and responsiveness of learning systems within the European Training Foundation’s partner countries, by providing guidance on the design, issue and recognition of micro-credentials. It has been prepared as part of ETF’s thematic support for the qualifications systems of ETF partner countries including Türkiye, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and countries in the Western Balkans, the Eastern Partnership, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, as well as Central Asia.

It is based on a wide consultation with stakeholders in ETF partner countries, the European Union and an in-depth analysis of selected international practices. The guide was prepared by a team at the Knowledge Innovation Centre, with Anthony F. Camilleri leading and supported by Martina Darmanin, Katja Kamšek and Jasmina Poličnik, following a participative process in which 140 experts and stakeholders were consulted. We are grateful for the input received via survey responses and expert panels. From ETF, Arjen Deij and Anatolii Garmash contributed to the guide and coordinated the project. Tailored recommendations have been co-created with practitioners and other experts, with the intention of being thus co-owned and finally endorsed by them as well as to facilitate their use beyond the ETF.

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Evolving Diversity: An overview of equitable access to Higher Education in Europe

The report gives a general overview of the access to Higher Education in Europe, including entry into Higher Education, equity as defined by socioeconomic background, income and expenditure of students in HE and the effect of work on studies.
The report also uses this data to make insights on perceptions of equity from European policymakers, consider the validity of different ways of measuring equity and the validity of current policy-initiatives.

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Realising the Scope of Open Education through Credentialisation

The goal of this paper is to conceptualise the effect of open education recognition on the overall higher education landscape by creating a future history i.e., the evolution from present conditions to one of several futures. These scenarios are the result of a combination of qualitative approaches including diligent desk research and outcomes from discussions during two expert workshops. The workshops focused on future foresight and scenario development exercises among experts and stakeholders from the field of education as well as educational technology from all across Europe. The results of this study are firstly, identification of key driving forces that affect the future of open education through credentialization and secondly, a forecast of five potential future scenarios, including predicting their probability, defining and projecting key measures that can have a great impact, and finally, mapping them to policy recommendations.

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Assuring the Quality of Credentials to support Learning Innovation

The credential-space is currently seeing significant innovation, driven by twin priorities, namely the unbundling of learning, and the drive to digitise credentials as prioritised by the Bologna Digital Agenda and the EU’s Digital Education Action Plan. While traditionally students could depend on recognition of widely understood signals of experience and expertise such as university degrees, the same cannot be said for the creatures of MOOCS such as ‘nanodegrees’ and ‘specialisations’.

While it is clear that degrees from accredited HEIs form the gold standard in terms of their recognition and portability, no clear set of comprehensive criteria exists to assess the quality of new forms of credentials, nor for standards and technologies which are applied to credentials. The authors therefore propose a framework for such analysis in the form of a set of quality characteristics for credentials, based on work conducted by the OEPass project.

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Effective Approaches to Enhancing the Social Dimension of Higher Education

Despite all intentions in the course of the Bologna Process and decades of investment into improving the social dimension, results in many national and international studies show that inequity remains stubbornly persistent, and that inequity based on socio-economic status, parental education, gender, country-of-origin, rural background and more continues to prevail in our Higher Education systems and at the labour market. While improvement has been shown, extrapolation of the gains of the last 40 years in the field show that it could take over 100 years for disadvantaged groups to catch up with their more advantaged peers, should the current rate of improvement be maintained.

Many of the traditional approaches to improving equity have also necessitated large-scale public investments, in the form of direct support to underrepresented groups. In an age of austerity, many countries in Europe are finding it necessary to revisit and scale down these policies, so as to accommodate other priorities, such as balanced budgets or dealing
with an aging population. An analysis of the current situation indicates that the time is ripe for disruptive innovations to mobilise the cause forward by leaps and bounds, instead of through
incrementalist approaches.

There is very little evidence as to the causal link between programmes, methodologies for their use and increases/improvements in equity in institutions. This creates a significant
information gap for institutions and public authorities seeking for indicators to allocate limited resources to equity improving initiatives, without adequate evidence of effectiveness. The publication aims at addressing and improving this information gap.

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