In the period 27 February – 03 March 2017 a training event “How to build the organizational excellence in schools” was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. This training event was organized by ZAT in the framework of the project “Change management forwarding to excellence in vocational educational institutions”.
The main objective of the project is to improve quality management approaches in VET institutions through promotion of self-evaluation and bench-marking, as well as implementation of change management thus ensuring sustainable and continuous growth and results among VET institutions.
The project aims:
- To examine and research existing approaches for quality assurance in Vocational education and training sector in participating countries;
- To carry out self-assessment based on EFQM and EQAVET principles to identify both strengths and weaknesses of organizations from the partner countries;
- To share and validate identified tools and approaches and learn from each other;
- To implement change management in the organizations involved from the partner countries, based on exchange of effective practices;
- To develop a Guide of recommendations of effective practices and support their practical implementation in VET institutions.
The project is focused on both experience exchange among VET institutions and practical implementation of identified change management. It emphasizes continuous growth and improvements at organizational level in a long-term vision, identifying not only effective ways to be shared, but also weakest approaches to be changed and improved by learning form each other practices.
The training aimed to present to participating organizations the excellence approach, the European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training (EQUAVET), and the excellence model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM). The training event involved participants (administrative staff – headmasters, people involved in quality assurance, project coordinators, human resources development staff, student workers and teachers) from professional high schools as well as people from VET institutions in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia. 28 people took part in the training. It was led by trainers from Biedriba Eurofortis, Latvia – an organization experienced in bringing quality and excellence in the work of educational institutions.
The training was organized for 5 days, which included theoretical training about what is the approach of excellence, how excellence can be achieved in the work of professional schools and training institutions and what are the methods and instruments for quality assurance. The theoretical part was combined with practical teamwork activities – motivation for excellence in schools, exchange of experience with other schools practising, discussions, practical exercises with case studies and a simulation with the GOA-WorkBench® online self-assessment tool, which is available in several European languages.
During their visit in Bulgaria the participating organizations from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia visited two professional high schools to get to know more about the Bulgarian system of quality assurance in professional education and to see the actual work these schools have done with regard to quality assurance in their fields.
The first visit was at Sofia Professional High School of Electronics “John Atanasov”. The headmaster of the school presented to the participants their system of quality assurance and the legal framework they follow with this regard. The participants also had the chance to visit the premises of the schools, the working labs, which are used from students. A presentation of the activities of the “Robotics” club gave the guests a close look at how students perceive their professional education and what they do with their knowledge and skills in programming, robotics development, chip development, etc.
The second visit was at the National professional high school in precision engineering and optics “M.V.Lomonosov”. This high school is the only school in the country where precision optics and techniques are studied. The headmaster of the school presented to the guest the school experience in quality assurance – the work with teachers, students and parents with this regard. The school has their own developed system for quality assurance and all the teachers, who participated also in the training shared that it will be of great help to improve their work. The guests from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia had the chance to have a look at the educational process too – classrooms, labs, methods of teaching in the school. Some of the teachers from the National professional high school in precision engineering and optics “M.V.Lomonosov” shared their experiences before and after the quality assurance system was adopted in the school, which was valuable information of how staff in such organizations would accept and work for the change and improvement of quality.
The training event “How to build the organizational excellence in schools” was a great opportunity for people to make the first step in adopting the excellence approach in their work and share their concerns, hopes, believes and aims with regard to the quality of education.