Evaluation of the quality management systems of vocational education and training providers, 2015

Vocational education

The evaluation produces information about the status of the quality management systems of vocational education training providers. The evaluation is used to also support and encourage education and training providers in the continuous development of their quality management endeavours.

The development of quality management in vocational education and training in Finland is based on VET Act, national policy outlines and the underlying policy outlines of the European Union. The aim set in Finland is that all vocational education and training providers should have a well functioning system supporting quality management and the continuous improvement of quality.

First evaluation of the quality management systems of VET providers took place 2015. The evaluation was based on self-evaluation reports (n = 168) from education providers, and evaluation visits (n = 35) that were carried out in order to assess the reliability of the evaluation and receive additional information.

According to the criteria used in the evaluation, a large proportion of education providers (71 %) had a well-functioning quality management system in place. However, there were differences between the education providers based on the type of ownership and education institution, as well as on how long systematic quality management had been in place. The factor most explaining the differences was how long development of quality management system had been carried out. According to the results, the providers who had developed their quality management for 6–10 years had statistically better quality management systems than those who had developed their systems for a shorter period of time.

The central strengths in the quality management systems were:

  • The strengths in strategic management and operations management were related to the command of the strategy process and the involvement of staff in that process as well as the integration of quality management in strategic management and operations management. The significance of the management’s commitment to the long-term promotion of quality management was emphasised.
  • The strengths in the evaluation area of improvement were related to the utilisation of follow-up, evaluation and result data in decision making and development activities, to project activities and network collaboration as well as to the practices of learning from others.
  • The strengths in the quality management of development, guidance and support tasks in special needs education were a customer-oriented approach and making use of diverse information in the continuous improvement of operation.

The most central development needs in the quality management systems were:

  • The development needs in the area of quality culture and the quality management system were related to documentation of the quality management system, creation of an electronic version of that system and use of information systems, harmonisation of procedures in the different operational units and operations, and involving the different parties such as staff, students, working life partners and stakeholder groups in the quality management and its continuous development. Other central development areas that also emerged were related to ensuring the competence on quality management and evaluation.
  • In the development needs related to the quality management of the core duties as a whole, there was an emphasis on policies related to the basic missions, harmonisation of operating and quality management practices (e.g. strategic and pedagogical policy outlines, processes and indicators, the common part of the curriculum) and ensuring their implementation (e.g. different operational units and operations) as well as on considerations on making use of development projects. More development needs related to the above emerged in the evaluation area related to apprenticeship training and support services than in other areas.
  • The central development targets in the area of evaluation and use of results were related to creating well-functioning evaluation procedures and communicating of evaluation results, as well as to ensuring evaluation competence. In addition, it was discovered that procedures for the evaluation of quality management systems need to be created.

According to the evaluation, it is justified to create a permanent procedure of external evaluation for the quality management systems of vocational education providers and to further develop the evaluation criteria.

Evaluation report in English (the link will be updated)

Second evaluation of the quality management systems of VET providers will take place 2021–2022. Read more here.

More information:

Tarja Frisk.

Tarja Frisk

Counsellor of Evaluation
Vocational education
+358 29 533 5504 Helsinki