Institute of Education

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Global Education Leaders Discuss Best Practices in Vocational Assessment at WorldSkills Kazan 2019

Between August 22 and 27, Kazan, Russia is hosting the 45th WorldSkills international vocational championship that brings together over 1,300 young mid-skilled blue- and white-collar professionals from 63 countries who compete in 56 specializations. As part of WorldSkills Kazan 2019, a global Ministers of Education Summit was held last week where agency heads and top executives at the system level from more than 40 participant nations exchanged perspectives on key challenges and opportunities in deploying more robust frameworks for vocational monitoring and testing.           

A Summit presentation by the Russian Minister of Secondary Education, Olga Vasilieva aimed to provide a recap of the latest experience and best practices in vocational evaluation in Russia alongside a series of proposals by Russian experts for establishing a uniform system for benchmarking learning outcomes and competencies across the global realm of vocational education and training.

In his talk, Head of IOE, Dr. Isak Froumin introduced the delegates to evidence-based foundations of the said proposals by giving a comprehensive account of a massive study conducted jointly by IOE’s leading scholars in vocational education and WorldSkills experts from Russia, Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands. As the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Tatiana Golikova pointed out earlier at the opening session of the WorldSkills Kazan 2019 Ministers Summit, advancing global cooperation across stakeholder domains to develop and implement up-to-date and more representative international tools for vocational assessment, so that all-round and fair judgement would become possible about how well young professionals are prepared to join the modern labor market, is among top priorities on the cross-border policy agenda for the sector of vocational training.      

Future-proofing tools and systems for testing how vocational students progress in their competencies still remains a pivotal yet very complex and demanding task that has involved a range of challenges of intellectual and political nature. In this regard, it is important to emphasize that WorldSkills as a global initiative that has by now accumulated massive experience in various dimensions of vocational education across nations could possibly come to act as a source of best-practice expertise that individual counties could draw upon when seeking to better align their vocational curricula and testing tools with modern labor requirements and employer expectations. 

Isak Froumin 
Head of the HSE Institute of Education

Spotlighting best practices in the domain of vocational evaluation from a number of nations, the whitepaper, ‘WorldSkills as Window of Opportunity for Global Benchmarking of Vocational Outcomes,’ which Dr. Isak Froumin was presenting during his Summit talk, sets out a comprehensive roadmap for how monitoring and testing systems in vocational education can be effectively upgraded so that they serve to render more robust and intelligible evidence about what entry-level professional are capable of once they complete their vocational training. As the pace of digitization and transdisciplinary innovation has surged in recent years, this has been actively reshaping the nature and composition of demand for qualifications in the modern-day economy while specifically foregrounding the 21st-century skills framework, which is one of the key focus areas of the whitepaper.        

While presenting at the Summit, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Tatiana Golikova also came up with a proposal for a ‘Kazan Declaration’ to be adopted, which would provide a basic regulatory framework to advance more focused and meaningful international liaison and expertise exchange in the realm of vocational assessment, while also factoring in the relevant experience of WorldSkills, so that best practices and latest developments in this field would become available to a far wider range of nations and stakeholders. Recognizing that an initiative like this, which would draw on huge evidence from cross-country comparisons, could provide important groundwork to better inform policy about which approaches and practices have worked best in helping better align national systems of vocational education with modern labor needs both locally and at a global scale, the Summit delegates from 39 nations pledged to join the declaration going forward.          

“We believe that WorldSkills will in future come to play a major part in creating a uniform tool for objectively assessing professional competencies in vocational students that could be applied both at the national and international levels,” WorldSkills Vice President for Strategy, Jos de Goey comments.