Comments from the CEO: Certifying Skills

Comments from the CEO: Certifying Skills

For decades, the focus in defining the value an individual brings to their job, was primarily based on academic achievement and merit. Any other competencies were perceived to be acquired on the job and enhanced with experience.

Comments from the CEO: Certifying Skills

As the world of education and work has evolved, it became evident that acquired practical skills are equally as important as academic knowledge. The word “skills” has increasingly been used as the key word in defining someone’s ability to transform expertise into skilful practical application.

Considering that the Swiss dual-educational system is built on this logic, this is nothing new for us. However the rise of universities of applied sciences in Switzerland over the last two decades, which are academic institutions but with a much more practical approach shows that the trend towards enhanced focus on skills is progressing. The most recent example is perhaps the current KV reform. The principle of the reform is based on the focus of acquired and integrated skills, rather than only academic achievement in isolated subjects.

Take the example of the required skills for a career in commerce. There are skills that are more profession specific, however, there are also more universal skills that are key. Such as language skills, project management skills and critical thinking. Even internationally popular office application skills such as MS Office are indispensable. For these skills, internationally recognised certificates and qualifications significantly enhance the skills portfolio of a professional and consequently his/her market value and employability.

Language skills are just one of the skills that are required by young professionals working or being educated in various professions. The KV reform does not envision English language skills to be assessed as a final school leaving exam anymore (QV Qualifikationsverfahren). This enhances the importance of Cambridge English Exams as a school leaving qualification, because at the end of the day, it’s an internationally essential skill, which requires international accreditation, certification and recognition.

Pete Kaithan

CEO Swiss Exams

Sign up for our newsletter for teachers and schools

Get your free, 5-min-read monthly newsletter. Join our community of teachers to stay up to date on the latest exam information, product updates, upcoming events and exam resources.