National Vocational Qualifications in England and Wales
Video Seminar, 15 May 2003.
International Labour Office Training Centre
Professor Peter Senker
It seems likely that some countries are seeking a “packaged solution” for the design of their Vocational Education and Training policies. Should they adopt something like the British NVQ system to meet this requirement?
My suggestion is that what they need to do instead is· to draw lessons from other countries in the world, and then develop their existing system, drawing on its strengths and trying to reduce its weaknesses.
But this is a demanding approach , and it is easy to see the false attractions of adopting a “packaged deal”.
2. The Structure of the Seminar
SLIDE 1 National Vocational Qualifications
First I outline the general aims of this seminar.
Second , I consider the history of the NVQ system, the defects perceived in the previous system, and the rationale for the NVQ system summarised from the history given by the British Education Ministry on its website. I give a broad description of the NVQ system. I will then try to analyse the extent to which the NVQ system has lived up to the high hopes invested in it by successive British Governments. To do this, I shall go through the British Government’s history of the NVQ system, this time critically reviewing its main points. I shall then point out some of the benefits of the system, and draw some general conclusions for discussion.
SLIDE 2 Aims of the session
Imagine, when you return home after this course, you receive a telephone call from a Minister in your Government who says
“Somebody from the Education Ministry in Britain has told my senior officials that the British NVQ system is very good and that we should adopt something like it in our country.
I have been told that you are an expert in this sort of thing, so could you please advise me whether we should think about adopting something similar in our country.”
The aim of this seminar is to help you towards providing a well thought out answer to such a question
It is generally agreed that a knowledgeable and appropriately highly skilled workforce can be a considerable asset to any economy fortunate enough to possess it. How to achieve this goal is far more controversial. What should be the role of qualifications? How should they be designed? How significant is the design of appropriate education and training courses and curricula?
This seminar attempts to provide some answers to these very difficult questions in the context of the National Vocational Qualification system in England and Wales.
In Britain we have moved from a situation thirty years ago in which training and qualifications were neglected to one in which too much is expected of both. In the early 1980s, – about twenty years ago – the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in Britain had shown in several studies that the superior training of German workers enables companies to move up market and produce high value products which would be difficult or even impossible to produce in Britain. In these reports, strong emphasis was given to the fact that the German workers had more and better QUALIFICATIONS. Throughout this seminar, I want to emphasise that qualifications do not necessarily enable people to produce higher quality products and services. People who are BETTER TRAINED AND EDUCATED can generally produce higher quality products and services. But more and higher qualifications are not necessarily the same thing as more and better education, training and learning.
3.: Why were NVQs needed? The rationale for the NVQ System
A. What was wrong with the previous system?
SLIDE 3. Defects of previous system
The best way of presenting the history of the NVQ system and why it was adopted is to draw on the statement by the British Government’s Education Ministry -the Department for Education and Skills on its current website, under the heading
Why did we need the NVQ system? A brief history ,
which I now summarise
Up till the late 1970s… there were millions who left school with few, if any qualifications, entering a world of work which would offer little or no training, no opportunity to develop themselves and no recognition for any competencies they did develop. The traditional apprenticeship system started to collapse. Young people failed to find training, skill shortages arose, businesses, the national economy and the UK’s competitiveness suffered. It was clear that something had to be done. In 1981 the Manpower Services Commission which had been established by the Government to oversee training on the Government’s behalf published as ‘A New Training Initiative’. Two of the main themes of that document were about occupational standards and young people. From that point, the UK started to develop occupational standards within each industry, Also in the early 1980s, unemployment amongst young people was becoming a serious issue. The existing programme for youth training, funded by the Government, had been expanded. But this did not offer trainees formal qualifications. So employers were unsure of what these young people were capable of doing The trainees could not convince employers about the depth, range and quality of what they had learned. In 1985 the Government set up a Working Group to review vocational qualifications in England and Wales. The Working Group, chaired by Oscar de Ville, reported its findings to the Government. One of its findings was that there was no effective national system of vocational qualifications; qualifications had evolved rather than been designed. While some industries had highly respected qualifications, others had none. SLIDE 4 Rationale for NVQsSo the Government concluded that a system was needed that would recognise the skills people already had, and that was consistent, reliable and well structured. It would allow the skills-base of the country and success in upskilling the whole of the national workforce to be measured. Qualifications needed to be realistic and accessible with scope for progression- and people needed to feel part of the process. The Government thought that any new system should have the full support of all involved, be voluntary and be done through partnership. In 1986 the Government established the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) – (now the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to set up a comprehensive framework of vocational qualifications covering all occupations and industries. Employers were central – they needed to be persuaded to agree common standards for all occupations within their industries. Also vital were the organisations that actually provided training and awarded certificates. In the mid-1980s, Training Providers and Awarding Bodies could set their own agendas with no regard for the needs of industry, the economy or the national skill needs. There was a “jungle” of disparate qualifications – bewildering, of inconsistent value and not geared to the changing needs of individuals, industry or the country. Qualifications needed to be flexible, widely recognised by industry, comprehensive, rigorously assessed, coherent and voluntary – so National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) were created.
This statement was, of course, written on behalf of the current government – the New Labour Government. Since the Labour Party came into power six years ago, it has continued with policies in relation to NVQs which are on very similar lines to those originated by the previous Conservative Government.
SLIDE 5. What are NVQs? (Source DfES website)
NVQs are work-related, competence based qualifications:They are designed to reflect the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively. NVQs are supposed to represent national standards recognised by employers throughout the country.If you have a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) it should show that you can do the work for which it has been awarded to national standards. It should mean that you are competent in this kind of work. NVQs are qualifications for work and should show you can actually do a job.
They are made up of units which describe the skills and knowledge needed to do a job effectively.The central feature of NVQs is the National Occupational Standards (NOS) on which they are based. National Occupational Standards are statements of performance standards which describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. They should cover all the main aspects of an occupation, including current best practice, the ability to adapt to future requirements and the knowledge and understanding which underpins competent performance. The standards are developed by Standards Setting Bodies.
In 1997 the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) merged with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) to form the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). QCA is responsible for approving all NVQs.
SLIDE 6. NVQ Levels
According to the Education Ministry NVQs are organised into a coherent classification based on the competence levels required.
Levels Abbreviated Definitions Note
Level 1 Competence in routine work activities Very low level
Level 2 Competence in a significant range of varied work activities, performed in a variety of contexts. Most NVQs awarded are level 2.
Level 3 Competences in a broad range of varied complex work activities “Craft” level
Level 4 Competence in technical or professional work activities Technician or Supervisor level
Level 5 Competence which involves the application of a range of fundamental principles significant responsibility for the work of others and for the allocation of resources Professional levelVery few awarded so far
SLIDE 7 How the NVQ system works.
The NVQ system concentrates on assessment to standards as opposed to specifying training courses. This is to facilitate access, accreditation of prior learning and choice of learning pathways. These are worthy objectives.
Standards for various job functions are set by a Lead Body – such as the Engineering Training Authority or Construction Industry Training Board in the form of units are then combined into qualifications by accrediting and awarding bodies such as City and Guilds of London Institute and then submitted for approval by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).
NCVQ (QCA’s predecessor) imposed a universal methodology for designing qualifications and assessment to be applied to all occupations at all levels across the economy. A central feature of the system is that qualifications and standards are derived from top-down functional analysis. Before NVQs, systems of training and qualification were based on ‘bottom-up analyses’ of what people in individual occupations needed to learn. Functional analysis is concerned with eliciting information relating to effective performance from a group of occupational experts in a systematic way. It focuses on ‘whole work roles’ which promote a broad view of occupational competence. It embodies an ‘outcome’ approach, which identifies key purposes and functions, and is in essence a ‘top down’ method which starts from a clear functional statement of the entire occupational area, breaks this down into significant roles and derives the unit and element structure from this key statement. Performance criteria and other details are added to turn elements into standards acceptable to QCA.
As an example, I outline the process of developing construction NVQs by the Construction Industry Training Board:
First, the number of people working in the occupation is identified together with any relevant industry Federations, Associations and Manufacturers groups. A detailed questionnaire is then sent out randomly to a cross-section of relevant employers (small, medium and large) to establish the tasks undertaken by operatives in that sector.
After the completed questionnaires are analysed, a proposal is submitted to the Regulatory Bodies requesting approval and funding to develop NVQs for the sector. If the proposal is approved, the Construction Industry Training Board begins development work. This involves establishing an Occupational Working Group for the sector which will be responsible for overseeing and validating the development work. The Occupational Working Grou ‘s members are drawn from representatives from any relevant federation, industry association or manufacturers group, individual employers, trade union, Further Education, private-sector training providers. Typically an Occupational Working Group will have around 12 members.
A member of Construction Industry Training Board staff develops proposals based on the results of the survey mentioned previously and discussions with employer representatives. This includes producing detailed knowledge specifications. The proposals are then sent to Occupational Working Group members who then consult with their respective organisations This process continues until the Occupational Working Group agrees to formally approve the proposals.
The proposals are then taken for further consultation and validation through workshops held in each region. Local Construction Industry Training Board staff invite employers to attend and comment on the proposals. Following these events, staff will report any recommended changes back to the Occupational Working Group. At this point the proposals are formally validated and submitted for approval. This might involve a single NVQ at one level or several at different levels. All NVQs are formally reviewed every five years. The content and structure of an NVQ can be amended at any time. This often happens 12 months after their introduction as candidates begin providing useful feedback about their content. NVQs can comprise both core and optional units. CITB attempts to ensure that NVQs reflect current technology.
The British Government is allocating more than £8 billion (well over 10 billion euros or dollars) to its Learning and Skills Councils in 2003. This money is almost exclusively devoted to training aimed at the achievement of NVQs. Obviously, many employers adapt their training programmes to the achievement of NVQs so as to secure massive subsidies.
4. Critical Review.
I now review the main points in the British Education Ministry’s statement on its website.
SLIDE 8 is just a reminder of the defects of the previous system according to the British Education Ministry
“There were millions who left school with few, if any, qualifications, entering a world of work which would offer little or no training, no opportunity to develop themselves and no recognition for any competencies they did develop. ”
I agree : this is absolutely right.
According to the government:
“Young people failed to find training, skill shortages arose, businesses, the national economy and the UK’s competitiveness suffered. It was clear that something had to be done. ”
Yes I agree that something had to be done. But I contend that what should have been done was making substantial improvements to the traditional system which had existed before, not the introduction of a radically new system with serious defects.
Despite the introduction of the NVQ system, the less academically able young people have continued to be neglected. The provision of high quality work-based training for 16 to 19 year-olds will continue to be a priority for the foreseeable future. In contrast, youth training has often been seen as a necessary evil, to be minimised so far as possible. Partly as a result of its low status, it has suffered from continual change. Few initiatives survive long before they are radically overhauled or “rebranded”. Many went national before the lessons from pilots were absorbed, and have been dismissed as mistaken when replaced by a shiny new successor. Such schemes provide ‘training for other people’s children’ (Evans et al, 1997:48-49)
SLIDE 9 Strengths of “traditional” processes
Prior to the introduction of NVQs, the education, training and qualifications of toolmakers, carpenters or architects were based on traditional ‘bottom-up’ analysis according to the following general pattern: let us consider what knowledge and skills are required in each individual occupation; let us consider how the occupation is likely to change in the future – how the organisation of work is changing, the growing use of Information Technology, new materials, new production processes and so on; let us consider how people learn, and then let us decide how people can best be helped to learn. In my view, this process was
FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND, BUT VERY BADLY IMPLEMENTED.
SLIDE 10 Better quality control was needed
What was needed was much improved quality control over a fundamentally sound process. Before the introduction of NVQs, training syllabuses were not kept up-to-date; curricula and assessment methods often reflected the prejudices of trainers and educators rather than the requirements of the workforce for knowledge and skills to enable them to perform their work competently now and in the future. These problems needed to be addressed.
SLIDE 11 Destruction of apprenticeship
According to the government
“The traditional apprenticeship system started to collapse.”
At first, government neglect of apprenticeship in favor of NVQs ensured the destruction of basically sound traditional apprenticeships in industries such as engineering and construction. Later, the Government realised the advantage of apprenticeship, Instead of trying to revive, restore and expand traditional apprenticeships which were basically sound, the Government introduced the Modern Apprenticeship system based on NVQs which has not been very successful.
The minimum requirements for Modern Apprenticeship (now rebranded as Advanced Modern Apprenticeships) are: (i) a formal training programme compatible with the framework developed by the sectoral National Training Organisation (NTO);
(ii) training aimed at the acquisition of a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 3 NVQ or above, including acquisition of relevant key skills (numeracy, communication, etc.); and (iii) a formal training contract between the apprentice and the sponsoring employer. Unless the relevant framework stipulates off-the-job instruction, none is required. Most Modern Apprentices work under frameworks without such a requirement, and, although most do receive at least some off-the-job instruction, much appears to have little educational content
As in every other country, small and medium sized enterprises represent a high proportion of the British economy. Research has found that the barriers which restrained take-up and use of Modern Apprenticeships by SMEs were related to the business culture of SMEs and particular sectors. SMEs do not have the infrastructure and staff to introduce and manage training initiatives, including liaison with external bodies and related administration (Sims et al, 2000). In the engineering industry in particular, Group Training Schemes generally help small firms to deal with the excessive paperwork generated by the NVQ system. As the Confederation of Group Training Schemes points out ‘the time taken for Group Training Schemes to bid to gain, manage and administer … contracts is many times greater than the time they allocate to training’. (Letter to author, June 1998).
There are serious doubts whether apprenticeship can be revived in the unregulated environment of the UK training system. Doubts arise because of the low educational attainments of many potential apprentices, government encouragement for young people to stay in full-time schooling, and low employer demand for apprenticeship when it is regulated by market forces alone; dangers of employer free-riding on the training efforts of others, low quality in work-based training and under-training in the face of high payroll costs for apprentices (Ryan, 2000).
The government stated
“In 1981 the Manpower Services Commission made its first statement about competence-based standards and qualifications, published as ‘A New Training Initiative’. Two of the main themes of that document were about occupational standards and young people. From that point, the UK started to develop occupational standards within each industry, with each industry taking responsibility for itself. ”
SLIDE 12 Training for Young People
Despite the original concern about devising appropriate qualifications for less academically able members of the community, twenty years later the situation for them is not noticeably better.
The neglect of the need for reforming education and training processes in favour of developing occupational standards and qualifications began over twenty years ago. The British training system has been suffering from this ever since.
The government also said
“Also in the early 1980s, unemployment amongst young people was becoming a serious issue. The existing programme for youth training, funded by the Government, had been expanded but still could only offer uncertificated training which left employers unsure of what these potential employees could actually do, and the trainees often unable to convince employers about the depth, range and quality of what they had learned. ”
Here are the roots of a centralised methodology originally developed to assess low level skills which was subsequently applied to high level skills for which it is even less appropriate.
“In 1985 the Government published the White Paper ‘Education and Training for Young People’ announcing a Working Group to review vocational qualifications in England and Wales. The Working Group, chaired by Oscar de Ville, reported its findings to the Government. One of its findings was that there was no effective national system of vocational qualifications; qualifications had evolved rather than been designed. While some industries had highly respected qualifications, others had none. ”
SLIDE 13 Principal defects of NVQ system
The Review of Vocational Qualifications’ which initiated the design of the NVQ system in 1986 page 7) concentrated almost exclusively on qualifications and hardly considered education, training and learning processes at all.
It did quote a then recent government White Paper ‘Training for Jobs’ , which had reasonably said that’ Britain lives by the skill of its people. A well trained workforce is an essential condition of our economic survival’ (page 7) But the Review went on to quote a further passage ‘The wider aim must be to open up access to training and jobs through a coherent system of training standards and certificates of competence, covering achievement in vocational education and training, both initially and through working life’. The Review set out general and specific objectives for developing a clear coherent and comprehensive system of vocational qualifications, based on the assessment of competence directly relevant to the needs of employment and the individual.
The excessive concentration of British Government training policy on qualifications -as opposed to broader considerations of training courses and curricula, learning and skills lies at the heart of the problems we have experienced with the NVQ system.
According to the government
SLIDE 13 Measuring the skills base
“A system was needed that would recognise the skills people already had, and that was consistent, reliable and well structured. It would allow the skills-base of the country and success in upskilling the whole of the national workforce to be measured. ”
Measurement is a national obsession in Britain. The NVQ system is very attractive to British civil servants The NVQ system is lovely from the point of view of measurement. . It seems that all you have to do is to add up the numbers of NVQs achieved at levels 1,2,3,4 and 5 and you have a measure of the total skills and knowledge of the whole workforce But a very small proportion of learning is recognized by qualifications such as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), the vast majority of which are acquired near the beginning of working life. Most learning related to work occurs at the workplace itself -learning from experience, learning from colleagues, from fellow workers, and not least learning from mistakes.
The general conclusion that it is impossible to measure learning realistically is inescapable. But British politicians and civil servants reject this obvious fact. Any purported measurement of the level of learning or training in a particular country and how it changes from year to year is ridiculous nonsense.
SLIDE 15 Career progression
“Qualifications needed to be realistic and accessible with scope for progression”
There is evidence from the construction industry that, partly because of the neglect of the acquisition of basic knowledge and skills in the Modern Apprenticeship system – which I have discussed above – the NVQ system has NOT facilitated career progression. Indeed, it has made career progression more difficult. In the past, bricklayers used to carry out brick and block work, drainlaying, tiling, plastering and screeding. Carpenters and joiners needed to learn to carry out a large variety of processes, including , dry-lining, partitioning and roofing. The work of bricklayers and carpenters required them to learn to read drawings, understand a variety of materials and to interface with a variety of different processes.
The knowledge and skills they consequently acquired provided them with a basis for lifelong learning and career development. Craft trades were the starting point for careers of many site managers and other professionals. Bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and others could progress to become site engineers/supervisors, clerks of works etc. This was made easier by acquiring traditional “underpinning knowledge” together with apprenticeship experience tested by traditional methods and leading to traditional “Knowledge based” qualifications.
There is no well-defined route through which crafts people can progress beyond NVQ Level 3 to technical supervisory occupations. Recent research on the construction industry found a significant management and supervisory skills gap: only a few firms have developed formal progression routes for operatives to progress into supervisory and management positions. In a number of firms basic and key skill needs were identified as barriers to operatives and supervisors development.
The Government stated
“In the mid-1980s, Training Providers and Awarding Bodies could set their own agendas with no regard for the needs of industry, the economy or the national skill needs. ”
This is nonsense. Training Providers and Awarding Bodies would have disappeared if they had not met employers needs for designing curricula, training courses and meaningful qualifications.
SLIDE 16 “Qualifications Jungle”
“There was a jungle of disparate qualifications – bewildering, of inconsistent value and not geared to the changing needs of individuals, industry or the country. Qualifications needed to be flexible, widely recognised by industry, comprehensive, rigorously assessed, coherent and voluntary – so National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) were created.
.In 1986 the Government established the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) – (now the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) to set up a comprehensive framework of vocational qualifications covering all occupations and industries.”
It is in relation to the design of qualifications, testing of people ‘s competence to assess whether they are sufficiently competent to deserve them, and the establishment of a coherent framework of qualifications that the NVQ system has been most ambitious, and in which its failures have been very obvious.
SLIDE 16 Qualifications Jungle
The jungle of qualifications has become even more confusing since NVQs were introduced. We now have the traditional qualifications in addition to NVQs. Individuals and employers now face a wider array of qualifications than was the case before the introduction of NVQs and, as the traditional qualifications seem likely to retain a market share, this will remain the case’ (Robinson, 1996). There is no evidence that the qualifications jungle has become more coherent uniform or standardised.’ ( Matlay1999)
Qualifications design. Government policy called for standards to be set by Lead Bodies dominated by employers. Many National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are awarded on the basis of existing competence alone – i.e. they accredit candidates for what they can do already, rather than encourage or require them to improve: many are based on narrow, job-specific skills and lack any recognition of future capability.
Broader, more balanced qualifications might have been achieved if worker representatives and representatives of training providers had been more heavily involved in designing qualifications. The NVQ system tends to give undue weight to employers’ demands for qualifications which reflect their short-term needs for narrow skills.
QCA promotes the story that employers in each industry design qualifications standards and assessment methods. This is not true. QCA imposes methodologies on Lead Bodies and Awarding Bodies which are responsible for devising standards and qualifications.
In seeking to develop such a methodology, NCVQ set itself an impossible task and, inevitably failed. It was not that NCVQ chose or developed the wrong methodology. There is no single best way of setting standards, devising qualifications and assessment methods applicable to the vast variety of occupations. NVQs generally involve too much paperwork. The standard NVQ assessment methodology was designed to suit low level occupations, and does not meet the needs of low level occupations very well. It meets the needs of high level occupations even worse.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority have made continuous improvements to the system, but these cannot go far enough without breaking the standard rules which have been set, and which all qualifications and assessment processes must follow. For example, a good way of assessing a painter’s competence might be to get him or her to paint something and assess how well the piece was painted; or to get a carpenter to make something out of wood and see how good it was.But this sort of flexible approach to assessment -suiting the assessment methods to the requirements of the occupation, breaks the rules.
SLIDE 17 NVQ benefits
Undoubtedly, some training directed towards the attainment of NVQs is of a very high standard, and in numerous cases has contributed to workers’ development and to economic efficiency. (e.g. see QCA 1998, CBI 1997). But so far, the availability of NVQs has not generally had much effect on the training programmes of employers which are already committed to training. NVQs do offer some advantages – in particular, the wider availability of qualifications – and some firms have drawn significant benefits from them. Some employers with well-established training schemes have modified their procedures to comply with QCA requirements so as to get their share of the more than $10 billion the Government devotes to NVQ training via Learning and Skills councils. Those employers are now able to offer National Vocational Qualifications to employees who are deemed to have attained the standards approved by QCA. This recognition of skill attainments is often welcomed by employees and Trades Unions, as well as by employers.
Workers in countries such as France, Japan , Holland and Germany are relatively well trained because better, broader education is provided in those countries; and because companies and governments in those countries generally operate better training systems.
Taking account of the fact that, in effect, by releasing at least $10 billion a year to support training directed at attaining NVQs, the Government is ” bribing” employers to use NVQs, the numbers of people achieving NVQs is not very large.
There is no single best way of setting standards, devising qualifications and assessment methods applicable to the vast variety of occupations. It is far better to design curricula, training courses and assessment methods in the light of the needs of individual industries and groups of occupations. But if there is a centralised system, it gives important power and influence to the senior civil servants responsible for it. They are not likely to give up this power without a fight. And who has the strength to fight with them?
In the light of the sheer quantity of resources poured into the NVQ system , it would be astonishing if there were no success stories: there have, indeed, been numerous successes (e.g. see CBI, 1997; QCA, 1998; Rosenfeld, 1999). But this is not the central issue. The central issue is whether the overall system has been as effective and efficient as possible alternative systems.
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What are NVQs? (From DfES website)
The central feature of NVQs is the National Occupational Standards (NOS) on which they are based. NOS are statements of performance standards which describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. They cover all the main aspects of an occupation, including current best practice, the ability to adapt to future requirements and the knowledge and understanding which underpins competent performance.
QCA and SQA
On 1 October 1997 the National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ) merged with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) to form the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). QCA has a wider remit than any previous education or training body, including pre-school learning, the national curriculum for 5-16 year olds, national tests for 7, 11 and 14 year olds, GCSEs, A-levels, GNVQs, NVQs and higher level vocational qualifications.
QCA can co-ordinate education and training more effectively than was possible than in the past, allowing the UK, for the first time, to bring together academic and vocational qualifications of all kinds.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) was set up in April 1997 following the merger of the Scottish Vocational and Education Council (SCOTVEC) and the Scottish Examining Board (SEB). Unlike QCA, it has both accrediting and awarding body responsibilities
Note for file.
From some comments, it seemed likely that some developing countries were/are seeking a packaged solution for their VET policy and it seems that the British suggestion that they should adopt something like the NVQ system meets this need. No serious analyst would dispute my suggestion that what they need to do is to draw lessons from other places in the world and then develop their existing system, drawing on its strengths and trying to reduce its weaknesses. But this is a demanding approach , and it is easy to see the (false) attraction of adopting a packaged deal.
Cf Judith Sutz’s paper in Science, Technology and Human Values(2003) where she criticises importation of pollution control technology developed in advanced countries into developing countries