European System of Transfer and Accumulation of the Credits (ECTS)

Main lines
What is the credit system?

Credit system - a systematic way of the description of an educational program by means of awarding of  credits to its components. Identification of credits with reference to systems of the higher education can be based on various parameters, such as labor input of student's work, results of training and time of contact to teachers.

What is ECTS?
The European system of transfer and accumulation of the credits is concentrated to a student and based on labor input of the student's work demanded for achievement of the purposes of the program which are preferably specified in terms of the received results of training, knowledge and abilities (competences) which should be acquired.

How was ECTS developed?
ECTS was introduced in 1989 within the Erasmus program which has now become a part of the Socrates program. ECTS was the unique system of the credits which was successfully checked and used in all Europe. Originally ECTS was intended for transfer of the credits. The system facilitated recognition of the periods of training abroad and thus has increased the quality and the extent of student's mobility in Europe. Nowadays ECTS is developing in system of accumulation which will be realized on university, regional, national and European levels. It is one of the key purposes of  Bologna Declaration of June 1999.

Why is ECTS introduced?
ECTS does the program of training easy for reading and comparison for all students, national and foreign. ECTS facilitates mobility and the academic recognition. ECTS helps universities to organize and revise their programs of training. ECTS can be used in various programs and ways of providing educational services. ECTS does the European higher education more attractive to students of other continents.

What are main features of ECTS?
ECTS is based on the agreement that student (full time department)labor input (working loading)  within one academic year is measured with 60 credits. Student's working loading according to the program of day training in Europe in most cases totals 36-40 weeks in the year, in this case one credit makes 25-30 working hours. Working loading belongs to abstract time for which the average student can master demanded volumes of training.

The credit is also a way of identification of quantitative results of training. Results of training are the set of the competences meaning that the student will know, understand or is capable to make after completion of process of training (short or long). The credits in ECTS can be received only after completion of demanded work and the corresponding assessment of the reached results of training.
Distribution of the credits of ECTS is based on official duration of a cycle of the program of training. The general labor input of training for receiving degree of the bachelor which lasts officially three or four years, makes 180 or 240 credits respectively.

Student's working loading in the terms ECTS includes time spent on attending  of lectures, seminars, independent preparation, preparation for classes, passing credits  and examinations, etc.
The credits are put down on all educational components of the program of training (such as modules, disciplines and courses, work on the final dissertation, etc.) and reflect number of work on each component, the work demanded in relation to full quantity necessary for end of full year of training on the considered program of training.

Performance by the student of the program proves to be true national/local estimates that is good practice. Level of ECTS estimates of students is based on a statistical approach. Therefore, statistical data concerning performance by the student of the program of training are the precondition for application of ECTS-system of estimates. The estimates, put down to students by a mark "passed", the following:
А  excellent 10 %
B  next 25 %
C  next 30 %
D  next 25 %
E  next  10 %

Distinction is made between estimates of FX and F which are used for students – who don’t pass a course. FX means: "failure" - some work is still required to "pass" and F assessment: "failure – is required considerable further work". Inclusion of estimates "unsuccessfully" in the Transcript of Records document is an additional element.

What are main ECTS documents?
Periodically published Catalogue of courses of higher education institution which should be published in two languages (or only in English for programs, taught in English) in a network on the website and/or in paper option. The catalog of courses should contain points of the control list attached to this document, including information for the arrived students from abroad.

The contract on the training, containing list of courses which will be read and coordinated with the student and responsible academic body of higher education institution. In case of credit transfer, the Contract on training should be coordinated with the student and two interested higher education institutions even before departure of the student and is updated at once after there were some changes.

Interpretation of estimates documents performance by the student of the program, the list of the courses, the received credits, just as local estimates is provided in it and on - possibilities of ECTS of an assessment. In case of transfer of the credits, this document should be it is made by higher education institution, from where the student leaves directly ahead of departure, and higher education institution where the student arrives at the end of his period of training.

How to receive the ECTS brand?
The ECTS brand will be provided to higher education institutions which apply ECTS in the appropriate way to educational programs of all of the first and the second cycles. The brand will lift higher education institution level as the transparent and reliable partner in the European and international cooperation.

Criterion for receiving is existence of the Catalogue of courses (the Internet or paper versions) in two languages (or only in English for the programs which are teaching in English), use of the credits of ECTS, samples of Contracts on training, Systems of estimation of knowledge and the proof of the academic recognition.

The questionnaire should be exposed on the website SOCRATES, LEONARDO, YOUTH & TAO in June of 2003 (www.socleoyouth.be). Submission of questionnaires not later than November 1 2003 (and further annually). The brand remains within 3 academic years since 2004-2005 academic years. The list of the higher education institutions possessing brand, will be published on the website Europa.

What Annex to the diploma?
The annex to the diploma (the academic reference) is the document which is attaching to the diploma about the higher education which standardizes the description of character, level, the contents, a context and the training status that led to a successful conclusion of the program the graduate. The annex to the diploma provides transparency and facilitates the academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates etc.). Mark Annex to the diploma will be appropriated to higher education institutions which issue the Annex to the Diploma to all graduates of all first and second levels of training, according to structure and recommendations which can be found on the website http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/socrates/ects.html.

Where to find additional information on ECTS?
Big information on ECTS and the Annex to the diploma can be found on the website of the European Commission, including the list of advisers for ECTS/DS and some recommendations how to prepare the good Catalogue of courses.

FaLang translation system by Faboba