This article describes the progress of work and the results of an interesting initiative carried out within the framework of the Integrated Qualification System project in Poland, which aims to support market qualifications in the education sector. This support is expected to lead to the inclusion of market qualifications for teachers in the System (IQS). The inclusion of such qualifications in the IQS is intended to provide an opportunity for teachers, those involved in teaching and education, to develop their skills, talents and achievements through their formal validation.
Origin and first steps
Supporting the development of market qualifications in the education sector is an important part of the current activities of the Educational Research Institute (IBE) under the IQS project. Market qualifications in education allow you to confirm the learning outcomes useful in the work of teachers, that is, additional skills that they acquire in the course of their work and while performing professional activities. They may contain similar learning outcomes to qualifications obtained during studies or postgraduate studies, but their scope is profiled, specialized, based on practical skills. The path to acquire these qualifications is also open to people employed outside of the education system if they gain the skills needed in the work of teachers and would like to confirm them.
In 2020-2021, expert work was underway to draft 15 market qualifications for teachers. Validation tools were planned to be developed and piloted for five selected qualifications.
The work on drafting market qualifications for teachers was a pilot in nature. So far, the entities interested in developing a market qualification and including it in the Integrated Qualifications Register (IQR) have been proposing the scope and content of the qualification based on their own observations and experiences. In the case of the 15 qualifications included in the project, their scope resulted from a demand analysis prepared by the Institute staff. This analysis was conducted on the basis of available studies and expert opinions of both national and international scope. Educational trends, training offer, provisions of legal and strategic documents were also analysed; altogether about one hundred documents were examined. The results of this work were consulted at eight regional workshops held across the country in early 2021. The meetings were addressed to teachers, representatives of teacher training centers, school superintendents, universities, training institutions and other institutions interested in teachers' skills in the context of opportunities offered by the IQS. Around 400 people took part in the consultation. Workshop participants shared their thoughts on the challenges facing education in the 21st century and their opinions on the skills which grow in importance in the sector.
Results of the work
The outcome of the analysis and consultations was the development of a list of preferred subject areas for the market qualifications:
Figure 1: Skills areas in teacher's work
Source: own research (IBE), 2021
Subsequently, as part of the initiative presented in this article, a call for actual proposals to specify the above-described topics and their selection - 15 market qualifications - were announced. The project was well received and generated interest among those involved in education. The number of proposals exceeded the number of planned qualifications. For this reason, a multifaceted evaluation of the submitted proposals was necessary. The choice was largely determined by the formal justification for the inclusion of the qualifications in the System and the preliminary outline of the learning outcomes that these qualifications contained.
The stages of the selection process for proposals of the 15 market qualifications is shown in the following diagram:
Figure 2. Stages of work on the selection of proposals for the content of the 15 market qualifications for teachers.
Source: own research (IBE), 2021
Subsequently, intensive work began on drafting selected qualifications. Representatives of the winning entities, the IBE experts specialising in describing qualifications, education and the Integrated Skills Strategy 2030, as well as external experts, including representatives of the relevant departments of the Ministry of Education and Science took part in the preparation work. By the end of 2021, nearly one hundred workshop meetings had been conducted, resulting in drafts of 15 market qualifications for teachers:
- Developing health-promoting behaviours in educational settings
- Teaching 3D modeling, printing and scanning
- Organizing an effective sectoral education process
- Acting as supervisor of students' pedagogical internships
- Delivery of the courses for children and adolescents in non-formal education using methods strengthening internal and external resources
- Coordinating anticipatory strategy in educational institutions
- Supporting parents and students through family tutoring
- Supporting gifted and talented children and youth
- Use of bibliotherapy in general development workshops for children and youth
- Using Witold Jakubek's method of technical projects in teaching technology
- Using information and communication technology (ICT) in education
- Coordinating projects carried out by children and young people
- Developing competencies of the future among children and youth through the implementation of activities with the use of didactic games including logic puzzles
- Supporting the social functioning of high functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders
- Coordinating inclusive education activities in the school
The above qualification names are provisional and are still subject to change. The projects are in the process of being submitted to the IQR and forwarded, for evaluation, to the Ministry of Education and Science and other ministries competent to include a given teacher market qualification in the IQR.
The importance of market qualifications for teachers
The above market qualifications in education were designed to support teachers in charting their professional development paths based on their resources, skills, and interests. They also allow them to get closer to the model of this profession that emerges from the provisions of the Integrated Skills Strategy 20301.
We believe that including these qualifications will not only strengthen the education sector and its offer, but, more importantly, the teachers and those involved in teaching and education. As they develop their skills and talents and gain new achievements, they will be able to confirm them, deriving more satisfaction from their accomplishments and expanding their career prospects. The qualifications will guide the professional workforce in the education sector, offering recognition for the rich array of knowledge and skills the teachers must have to successfully perform professional tasks in the 21st century.
Complementary to the development of the teacher qualifications is simultaneous development of digital badge qualifications for children and young people. At the end of 2021, the competition for ideas for children's and young people's qualifications was decided, and in the first quarter of 2022, a series of workshops and meetings for students and teachers were held during which the descriptions of these qualifications were refined. We will share the conclusions and results of our work on the 15 qualifications for children and youth soon.
1.We wrote about the Integrated Skills Strategy 2030 in the first issue of the Newsletter - Integrated Skills Strategy 2030