Copenhagen Process

For vocational and professional education and training, the Copenhagen Process pursues similar goals to those pursued by the Bologna Process for tertiary level A institutions. Its purpose is to ensure the comparability, permeability and transparency of qualifications Europe-wide, thus guaranteeing mobility. The Copenhagen Process was launched in 2002. It is a job-market-oriented strategy which aims to raise the quality and appeal of vocational and professional education and training, to position vocational and professional education and training within Europe, to strengthen international cooperation, and to promote mobility within and outside national boundaries.

Implementation of the Copenhagen Process is voluntary. The goal is not an international harmonisation of the VET / PET systems. It is about providing instruments which allow different qualifications to be compared with each other. Such instruments are currently being developed by the EU Commission. They serve as aids at the European and national levels. They do not define the qualifications according to learning input (e.g. duration of the learning process or type of institution), but instead according to learning output (such as knowledge, skills and competences). This also facilitates the recognition of non-formal and informal learning.

The most important instruments of the Copenhagen Process include the following:

  • European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF)

    The EQF serves as a frame of reference, which enables the comparison and translation of national qualifications from different countries. Eight reference levels describe the knowledge, skills and competences which the employees/trainees have, regardless of where the qualifications were obtained. The EQF applies to general education, vocational and professional education and training, as well as academic education.

  • National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

    The NQF comprises several levels (the number of which differs from country to country) that correspond to clearly defined levels of learning. The national qualification system is mapped within the NQF. The various levels of the NQF can be assigned to the levels of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), which enables a country's national qualifications to be translated in the EQF and compared with another country's qualifications.

  • Competence profiles

  • European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET)

  • Europass

  • Validation of non-formal and informal learning

  • European Quality Assurance Reference in Vocational Education and Training (EQAVET)

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) pursues developments in the Copenhagen Process. SERI sees the elaboration of a Swiss National Qualifications Framework as a high-priority project. It will therefore elaborate a national qualification framework for examinations in vocational education (NQR-CH-BB), a model for diploma supplements on the level of Tertiary level B vocational education and a model for certificate supplements in vocational education. In addition, SERI is consolidating and expanding the cooperation between countries with a dual vocational and professional education and training system.

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Last update of this page: 11.12.2017