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Glossary

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  • secondary school leaving certificate / baccalaureate

    Definition: 

    Examination administered at the end of upper secondary education to certify learning outcomes of learners following an assessment procedure.

    Comments: 
    • not all secondary school leaving certificates guarantee systematic access to higher education;
    • at national level, school leaving certificates bear different names, for example:

    Austria

    • Reifeprüfungszeugnis (general upper secondary, general access to higher education) or Reife- und Diplomprüfungszeugnis (vocational upper secondary, double qualification: general access to higher education and vocational qualifications)
    • Berufsreifeprüfungszeugnis (general access to higher education, includes validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired on the job)

    Germany

    • Abitur
    • Fachabitur

    Ireland

    • Leaving certificates

    France

    • Baccalauréat
      • baccalauréat général (general education)
      • baccalauréat technologique (general and technical education)
      • baccalauréat professionnel (vocational training leading to a specific occupation)

    Portugal

    • diploma do ensino secundário (general education)
    • diploma de qualificação (general and vocational education / double certification)

    United Kingdom

    • Academic levels
      • GCE A level (advanced general certificate of education)
      • GCE AS level (advanced subsidiary general certificate of education)
      • NQ advanced higher (national qualifications advanced higher level)
      • NQ higher (national qualifications higher level)
      • Scottish baccalaureate
      • Welsh baccalaureate
    • Vocational levels
      • GCE A levels in applied subjects (advanced general certificate of education in applied subjects)
      • GCE AS levels in applied subjects (advanced subsidiary general certificate of education in applied subjects)
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2004; Ministère de l’éducation nationale.
  • sector

    Definition: 

    Group of companies with the same main economic activity (such as chemicals);

    or

    Grouping of professional activities based on their main economic function, product, service or technology.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008; European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2008.
  • skill

    Definition: 

    Ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems.

    Source: 
    Cedefop; European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2008.
  • skill gap

    Definition: 

    Situation where an individual does not have the level of skills required to perform his or her job adequately.

    Comments: 
    • skill gaps can be analysed at individual level (using a skills audit), at company/sector level, or at regional, national or international levels;
    • skill gaps can be linked to an insufficient level of qualification; they may also refer to situations where the workforce has the right level of qualification but lacks specific types of skills (such as management skills) or experience required to perform a task or a job adequately.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2010.
  • skill mismatch

    Definition: 

    Situation of imbalance in which the level or type of skills available does not correspond to labour market needs.

    Comments: 
    • skills mismatch can be a surplus or a lack of knowledge, abilities and competences;
    • skill mismatch can be analysed at different levels (individual, enterprise, sectoral, economy);
    • experts distinguish between vertical mismatch (the level of education/skills is higher or lower than required) and horizontal mismatch (the level of education/skills matches job requirements, but the type of education/skills is inappropriate for the current job).
    Source: 
    Cedefop.
  • skill needs

    Definition: 

    Demand for particular types of knowledge and skills on the labour market (total demand within a country or region, economic sector, etc.).

    Comments: 
    • skills needs analysis (also referred to as identification of skills needs) aims at identifying skills gaps and shortages, anticipating skills needs, and assessing the capacity of qualification systems (education and training provision, funding schemes, etc.) to meet the needs of the economy;
    • anticipation of skills needs is the process of identifying skills the economy will require in a short, medium or longer term;
    • skills forecasting estimates the skill demand (jobs) and/or skill supply (labour force) that will be available on a short, medium or long term.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2010.
  • skill obsolescence

    Definition: 

    Situation in which knowledge and skills of individuals are out of date or out of use.

    Comments: 

    this term is also used in the literature to describe situations where physical or mental abilities and skills deteriorate due to atrophy or wear and tear.

    Source: 
    Cedefop; De Grip, A., van Loo, J. (2007).
  • skill shortage

    Definition: 

    Situation where skills supply (type of abilities and number of people available on the labour market) is not sufficient to meet labour market demand.

    Comments: 

    a skill shortage applies to all levels of qualification; it may result from factors such as:

    • insufficient education and training supply;
    • geographical imbalance in supply;
    • developments impacting the structure of the economy;
    • lack of attractiveness of specific occupations (difficult working conditions, low remuneration, insufficient social recognition).
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2010.
  • skills audit

    Definition: 

    Analysis of knowledge, skills and competences of individuals, including their aptitudes and motivations to define a career project and/or plan professional reorientation or a training project.

    Comments: 

    a skills audit aims to help individuals:

    • analyse their career backgrounds;
    • self-assess their position in the labour environment;
    • prepare themselves for validation of non-formal or informal learning outcomes;
    • plan career pathways.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008, based on Code du travail français, 2003.
  • social cohesion

    Definition: 

    Degree to which different groups in a society can live together and share common values.

    Comments: 
    • social cohesion requires low degrees of social exclusion, intra-community cooperation and solidarity across communities and social groups;
    • social cohesion goes beyond the level of economic homogeneity (rate of employment, salary scale, access to health and education, housing); it is also linked to the level of social inclusion;
    • Jenson (1998) identified five dimensions to social cohesion:
      • belonging – isolation: that means shared values, identity, feelings of commitment;
      • inclusion – exclusion (access to welfare);
      • participation – non-involvement (in civil society);
      • recognition – rejection of differences (in a pluralistic society);
      • legitimacy – illegitimacy (trust and respect to institutions).
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008; Jenson, 1998.
  • social dialogue

    Definition: 

    Process of exchange between social partners to promote consultation and collective bargaining.

    Comments: 
    • social dialogue can be bipartite (involving representatives of workers and employers) or tripartite (also involving public authorities and / or representatives of civil society, NGOs, etc.);
    • social dialogue can take place at various levels (company, sectoral / cross-sectoral and local/regional / national / transnational);
    • at international level, social dialogue can be bilateral, trilateral or multilateral, according to number of countries involved.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2004.
  • social inclusion

    Definition: 

    Integration of individuals – or groups of individuals – into society as citizens or as members of various public social networks. Social inclusion is fundamentally rooted in economic or labour market inclusion.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2004.
  • social partners

    Definition: 

    Employers’ associations and trade unions forming the two sides of social dialogue.

    Comments: 
    • the concept of ‘social partner’ originates in France and Germany and was subsequently taken up in EU circles;
    • tripartite social dialogue also involves public authorities and/or representatives of civil society, NGOs, etc.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.
  • special needs education

    Definition: 

    Educational activity and support designed to address specific needs of disabled children or children failing school for reasons known to impede optimal progress.

    Comments: 

    the term ‘special needs education’ is now preferred to the term ‘special education’. The older term was mainly understood to refer to education of children with disabilities, taking place in special schools or institutions distinct from, and outside the regular school and university system. In many countries today a large proportion of disabled children are in fact educated in institutions of the regular system.

    Source: 
    based on Unesco, 1997.
  • standard

    Definition: 

    Series of elements whose content is defined by concerned actors.

    Comments: 

    One can distinguish between several types of standards:

    • competence standard refers to knowledge, skills and/or competences linked to the practice of a job;
    • educational standard refers to statements of learning objectives, content of curricula, entry requirements as well as resources required to meet learning objectives;
    • occupational standard refers to the statements of the activities and tasks related to a specific job and to its practice;
    • assessment standard refers to statements of the learning outcomes to be assessed and the methodology used;
    • validation standard refers to statements of level of achievement to be reached by the person assessed, and the methodology used;
    • certification standard refers to statements of the rules applicable for obtaining a certificate or diploma as well as the rights conferred.

    According to the system, these standards can be defined separately or be part of one document.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008.