Glossary: the Europass from A-Z

The most important specialist terms and abbreviations relating to the topic of European mobility


Applicant = a person submitting an application for the issuing of the Europass Mobility. The regulation here is that individual persons, the actual beneficiaries, cannot apply for a Europass Mobility themselves. In Germany, applications for the issuing of a Europass Mobility may only be submitted by institutions (legal persons). Applicants are normally the home organisations sending people abroad or another institution involved in the mobility project.


Bilateral = two-sided. Bilateral programmes as defined in this context are programmes between two states financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). These include projects between Germany and the Netherlands (BAND), Germany and the United Kingdom (Training Bridge), Germany and Norway (Gjørdet), Germany and France, organised via the German-French Youth Office (DFJW), and the Franco-German Secretariat (DFS) vocational education and training exchange programmes.


Competence = according to Bernien (1997) constitutes the sum total of an individual's knowledge in conjunction with the ability to apply this knowledge. Competence comprises active and passive areas of knowledge which arise from visible and hidden abilities and skills which are therefore describable and indescribable. Within the context of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), competence is described in terms of the assumption of responsibility and autonomy.   


DQR = Deutscher Qualifikationsrahmen, or German Qualifications Framework. The aim is for each member state to take the European Qualifications Framework (see EQF) as a basis for establishing its own national qualifications system and to draw up its own national qualifications framework (NQR) in line with its respective legislature and practice. Each state's national qualifications framework may bear its own appropriate abbreviation. The objective of the DQR, which facilitates the hierarchical and competence oriented mapping and classification of learning outcomes (skills and qualifications), is to map the specific characteristics of the German educational system and present a reference levels structure which is compatible with the EQF. The overall goal is to create comparability between learning outcomes including those which have been acquired both nationally and internationally and thus render it possible to give credit for these learning outcomes.


ECTS = European Credit Transfer System – a credit points system for transferring qualifications achieved in the higher education sector


ECVET = European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training – a credit points system for the transfer, accumulation and recognition of qualifications achieved in the field of vocational education and training


EQF = European Qualifications Framework – is a reference system which extends across educational areas and uses knowledge skills and competences as a basis for the description of level dimensions taking learning outcomes as its main point of guidance. This enables it to act as a translation system between the national educational systems of the member states. Member states are called upon to enact the relevant measures to enable all new qualifications descriptions, diplomas and Europass documents to contain a clear reference to the appropriate level within the European Qualifications Framework by the year 2012.


ESCO = European Taxonomy of Skills, Competencies and Occupations – aims to bring together and match European labour market demand and work supply across all levels and all sectors at local, national and European level. The ESCO maintains a database listing the most important skills and competences for various occupations. This database is updated on an ongoing basis taking the requirements and developments of the labour market into account.


Home organisation (institution sending people abroad) = the organisation which sends a Europass recipient abroad, such as a vocational school or a company. The home organisation agrees the content of the period to be spent abroad together with the host organisation.


Host organisation (institution receiving people who are sent abroad) = the organisation abroad at which a Europass Mobility recipient either works or learns. The host organisation agrees the content of the period to be spent abroad together with the home organisation.


ISCED = International Standard Classification of Education – an international standard for the classification of types of school, school systems or courses of study. The ISCED differentiates between various levels, ranging from pre-school to primary education and extending to include tertiary level.


ISCO = International Standard for Classification of Occupations – classifies all activities/occupations into a clearly defined grouping based on the tasks and duties associated with the workplace in question. The ISCO forms a dictionary of occupations.


Learning: In the case of the different forms of learning, a differentiation is made between non-formal and informal learning (definition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF, 2002).

Learning, formal
= generally refers to scheduled, organised and socially recognised learning which takes place within a public education system clearly delineated from its remaining surrounding environment and encompasses such areas as learning at school and in-company learning leading to a qualification accredited by a Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Learning, non-formal = a collective term for all forms of learning which take place within the whole of the environment not comprising the formalised educational system. This refers to such areas as continuing training courses at an adult education centre which do not lead to a recognised qualification.

Learning, informal = according to Jens Bjørnåvold (CEDEFOP), "informal learning" is based on three criteria.

1. 1. Informal learning is learning which takes place in an environment outside formal educational establishments.

2. Informal learning is not accorded sufficient recognition by the public education system (no certification).

3. Informal learning usually develops within the context of other activities.


Learning outcomes = are defined in terms of knowledge, skills and competences. They form the central pillar of the EQF (European Qualifications Framework) and of ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training). Learning outcomes provide a meaningful statement of what learners know, understand and are in a position to do once they have concluded a learning process.


NQF = National Qualifications Framework – see DQR (German Qualifications Framework). An instrument for the classification of qualifications using a bundle of criteria to determine the respective level of learning which has been achieved. The aim of the NQF is the integration and coordination of national constituent qualification systems and the improvement of transparency, access, ongoing development and quality of qualifications in terms of the labour market and civil society.


PLL = Programme for Lifelong Learning – an EU educational programme to foster European exchange between learners and teaching staff of all age levels and promote cooperation between educational establishments in Europe. The PLL lends support to joint educational policymaking in Europe and brings together under a single umbrella a series of programmes previously run separately: COMENIUS, ERASMUS, LEONARDO DA VINCI and SOCRATES.


Procedures Type A, B, C = types of procedure relating to the application for the EuropassMobility in the German database. Type A – within the scope of a funded programme, e.g. LEONARDO DA VINCI Mobility; Type B – independent measure not involving a funding programme; Type C – individual funding via a programme.


Qualification = the formal result of an assessment and validation process during the course of which the respectively competent institution has ascertained that a person's individual learning outcomes comply with standards which have been stipulated.


Soft skills = as opposed to hard skills (professional competences). Soft skills primarily comprise social competences and basic skills important to the exercise of an occupation and dealing with people.


Social partners = the negotiating parties in collective wage agreements. Social partners may be both employers and employees and their respective representative associations.


Sponsor = within the context of the Europass and the Programme for Lifelong Learning, a sponsor is the institution which organises a period to be spent abroad and applies for and issues Europasses for the participants.