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Glossary

This section contains a list of common terms and acronyms used in quality assurance and enhancement activities. This list can be useful to anyone that wants to get introduced to the language used in these activites.

EmployabilityEmployability is ability of a student to learn and acquire qualifications in the form of achieved learning outcomes, in three different domains: cognitive, psychomotor and affective, that makes graduates more likely to gain employment in their chosen field(s), being able to create/start new businesses, and being able to develop personally and be successful in their occupations.
SkillsA developed talent or ability
Soft skillsSkills that are acquired through practical learning and seen as interdisciplinary, such as team work, conflict management or communication skills.
Hard skillsSkills leading to a professional competence in the study subject area and to the relevant qualification for a specific job/career.
Transversal or general skillsSkills that can be applied in all academic subject areas, and in all educational, career, and civic settings throughout an individual’s life.These skills may have been acquired through non-work or leisure activities or through participation in education or training.
CompetenceThe state or quality of being adequately or well qualified; ability.
Internship, work placementA student or a recent graduate undergoing supervised practical training, which can be paid or unpaid. It may be a mandatory part of the study programme or take place upon the student’s choice. The lenght may vary from weeks to several months.
Multiple purposes of HEThe notion of higher education having several purposes in society. These include preparing students for active citizenship and their future careers, developing a broad and advanced knowledge base and critical thinking skills, stimulating research and innovation as well as the personal development of the individual.
ReformThe action or process of reforming, or trying to improve, an institution, practice or policy
Recognition of prior learning (RPL)RPL refers to a set of practices and procedures that can be used to assess the prior learning of the student and to approve that learning as part of the student's studies
Skills mismatchShortages, gaps and inbalances in the demand and offer of skills
OverqualificationOverqualification refers to one having acquired a higher level of skills than a specific job description requires
EU2020Europe 2020 is the EU’s ten-year growth and jobs strategy that was launched in 2010. It is about addressing the shortcomings of our growth model and creating the conditions for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in addition to overcoming the crisis.
CommodificationA situation when education markets are established through the instrumentalisation of education and the changing perception of education as purely an economic factor rather than a tool for social development. It is when the perception of higher education changes from being a public good and public responsibility to a private and limited commodity.
Modernisation of HE / modernisation agendaThe Europe 2020 strategy makes knowledge an essential cog in the wheel of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. According to the strategy, the EU needs more highly skilled, competent and innovative people in order to respond to global competition. Higher education institutions therefore have a crucial role to play.
European CommissionThe European Commission is the executive body of the European Union and represents and upholds the interests of the EU as a whole. It drafts proposals for new European laws. It manages the day-to-day business of implementing EU policies and spending EU funds (more on www.ec.europa.eu(external link))
Council of the European UnionThe Council of the EU is the institution representing the member states' governments. Also informally known as the EU Council, it is where national ministers from each EU country meet to adopt laws and coordinate policies (more on www.consilium.europa.eu(external link))
European CouncilThe European Council consists of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, together with its President and the President of the Commission. This body meets 4 times a year and defines the general political directions and priorities for the European Union (more on www.european-council.europa.eu(external link))
European ParliamentThe European Parliament is the only directly elected European Union institution. Its 751 members are there to represent the EU's 500 million citizens. They are elected once every five years by voters from across the 28 Member States (more on www.europarl.europa.eu(external link)(external link))