Interview with Rozemarijn van Toly (CINOP)

We were really glad to have Rozemarijn van Toly (CINOP) onboard for our third project meeting in Groningen, Netherlands (September 2018). After her thorough presentation, we felt we should have interview with her about the execution of the EQAVET program on the national level in Netherlands and how is used the student and alumni data for quality assurance.

Hello, could you briefly introduce yourself and your organisation?

My name is Rozemarijn van Toly, I am researcher/consultant at CINOP, and in the Netherlands we are carrying out the NRP EQAVET-programme, funded by the Ministry of Education. EQAVET stands for European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training. CINOP is creating learning solutions for VET-schools and systems in the Netherlands as well as globally and combines research and consultancy.

At the moment, you are writing a report about collecting and using data from students and alumni to improve quality assurance. Can you tell us a bit more about your report? 

I am writing this report for the NRP EQAVET in the Netherlands because the use of data for quality assurance and improvement is of great importance. The report will address policy frameworks like the EQAVET-framework, the Dutch Inspectorate of Education framework and their relation with this topic. The report also includes information about how schools in the Netherlands already use alumni and student data in their quality assurance.

VET Graduate Tracking is a hot topic in the Netherlands. Why is it becoming more important? 

This is becoming increasingly important because it is an important part of the quality of the education that students can find a job in their professional field after their education. The Inspectorate also considers this important and this is part of the quality standards in their framework at system- and school level. When graduates are followed we can discover how they look back on their education and their views to improve education. Also, when alumni relations are strong, the alumnus is more likely to be an ambassador for the school. The alumnus can supervise new students for trainee positions in the company where the alumnus works and gives guest lectures. This helps the school and teachers to keep in touch with the work field of the education that they offer. Lastly, it is important to know what alumni would want for their future education, in the case of lifelong learning.

How do schools in the Netherlands collect data of their alumni?

That depends, there are many differences between VET schools. Methods can be quantitative, by surveys, but also panel discussions are carried out. Then it is not so much about collecting data, but it is about understanding alumni and their opinions and needs.

What are problems that schools can experience when they try to collect data from their alumni?

The new privacy law is one of the problems that schools will experience. It is important to overcome these issues by creating a dataset and informing students about what their data, such as their email addresses, are being used for. Sector councils (e.g. in the Netherlands MBO Raad) can inform and help schools.

How do schools in the Netherlands use data of their alumni?

New research about alumni is being carried out. This research is providing VET schools information at school and team level. At school level, the results included in quality assurance cycles and are reported to boards. At team level, the results do not seem to be integrated that well yet.

Could you elaborate on the use of tracking alumni for the use of Lifelong Learning?

If students have finished school, they will be starting professionals in their profession. Now jobs are changing faster, it is important to keep on learning: either formal and informal learning. The schools these alumni once joined can offer training to become better in a certain skill or method. By tracking students schools know what the needs and wishes of alumni in professional field are.

Thank you for attending our project meeting in Groningen. What would you like to see in the future of TRACKTION?

What I am interested in is how your products will help teachers and schools to strengthen relationships with alumni.

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