ECVET and ECTS credit equivalency in higher education – A bridge too far?

Cathal Ryan, Michael Bergin, Sylvia Titze, Wolfgang Ruf, Stefan Kunz, John S.G. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The implementation within Europe of a credit system for vocational education and training known as ECVET is a European Commission priority. The potential for permeability between the ECVET and European Credit Transfer and accumulation System (ECTS) was foreseen in the Recommendation to establish ECVET in 2009, while the Bruges Communique of 2010 called for the promotion of flexible links between vocational and higher education and increased coherence between ECVET and ECTS. To this end a significant number of EU-funded projects were undertaken to explore compatibility between ECVET and ECTS. This article reviews the findings of these projects and reflects on their success in terms of achieving this policy goal. These bridging projects identified several points of compatibility between the two credit systems and produced valuable tools and frameworks to facilitate such permeability. Achieving credit equivalency between ECVET and ECTS does not appear feasible, rather the evidence points to using a learning outcomes-based equivalency framework. However, this article calls into question the sustainability of these project results with regard to the lack of success in translating these findings into practice and the lack of co-ordinated efforts to implement these findings at a national or pan European level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-610
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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