Standards touch nearly every aspect of our daily life through all the products that we use and consume each day (for example, mobile phones, vehicles, cleaning products, personal protection equipment, toys, and others). When they are produced or introduced on the market, products are checked for their conformity with relevant standards to ensure that they are safe for consumers and in line with the country’s public interests.
The assessment of products against standards is increasingly becoming an essential link in the global supply chain. Unfortunately, awareness among the majority of stakeholders is currently limited. For example, many university or secondary school graduates who enter the workforce in international trade receive no training on standards and quality infrastructure. They only discover it when there is a problem and need to quickly learn about it.
Having access to introductory courses in university curricula to sensitize students to the subject and provide the basic understanding of the different roles and uses of quality infrastructure could result in benefits for workers, companies and consumers alike.
The Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP.6) has developed a model curriculum with over 15 modules that educational institutes can use to introduce this subject to their students. WP.6 has further developed e-learning modules to widen the access to this information.
In an effort to improve dissemination of this information and assist academic experts to use this material, WP.6 has established a focal point network of experts on education on standardization.
This initiative aims to further develop the model curriculum, the e-learning modules and provide guidance to professors on how best they can integrate standardization and quality infrastructure into students’ training. This initiative addresses all major areas that touch upon the international supply chain (import/export, logistics, customs, banking, financing, insurance, regulatory, among others).
The launch of the Focal Point Network of experts on education on standardization is planned for 1 March 2023 as a fully virtual meeting open to all interested parties. The meeting will be an opportunity to present the material that already exists, provide feedback on experience from universities that have already integrated this material into their training, and discuss how the network and the existing material could be used in the best way.