EU collaboration in speech and language therapy education : the NetQues project

Patterson, Aileen and Hansson, Kristina and Lowit, Anja and Stansfield, Jois and Trinite, Baiba (2015) EU collaboration in speech and language therapy education : the NetQues project. Perspectives on Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders, 5 (1). pp. 21-32. (

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As the number of countries joining the European Union (EU) has grown over recent decades, so also has the accompanying European legislation to encourage cross border mobility and recognition of professional qualifications. This has led to a need to be able to assess and compare professions and their education across the EU and beyond. Historically, in response to the challenge of addressing the needs of persons with difficulties with communication, the profession has developed differently across European countries influenced by linguistic, cultural and socio-political diversity and a range of approaches to medicine, health and education. The NetQues project was set up to establish agreements on areas of commonality in speech and language therapy (pathology) education across the EU and also to look at any differences. The article looks briefly at the history and diversity of the profession in Europe and describes how 65 partners from 31 countries across Europe recruited into a multilateral academic and professional network achieved the project’s goal to delineate the agreed common core competences which are both essential and desirable for a newly qualified speech-language practitioner to work safely and effectively. Employing ethnographic and survey research following EU Tuning principles seeking points of reference, convergence and common understanding, core elements of coherent professional education “fit for purpose” across Europe are identified and agreed EU Benchmark statements of core competences required are documented. Notably while differences and diversity present challenges, all countries involved in the project aspire to develop competent and caring professionals, able to practice safely and effectively with relevant up-to-date knowledge and skills upon admission to a clearly identifiable unique profession.