Tuesday, 11 September 2012

European Commission recommendation for a council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning

The European Commission assesses that European countries are increasingly emphasising the need to recognise the full range of an individual’s knowledge, skills and competences – those acquired not only at school, university or other education and training institutions, but also outside the formal system.

According to the EC this requires new approaches to validate such learning experiences (i.e. identify, document, assess and/or certify), making them usable for further studies or advancement in work. Helping people in this way could also make a contribution to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This is why the Commission has on 5.9.2012 made a proposal for a Council Recommendation inviting EU governments to establish validation systems by 2015, linked to the European Qualifications Framework, including the possibility to obtain a full or partial qualification on the basis of non-formal or informal learning.

Important for the NGOS dealing with EDC/HRE is that according to the EC draft recommendation "Member States should, with a view to offering to all citizens26 the opportunity to prove what they have learned outside school and to use it for their career and further learning:
(4) Ensure the involvement of relevant stakeholders such as employers, trade unions, chambers of industry, commerce and skilled crafts, national entities involved in the process of recognition of professional qualifications, employment services, youth organisations, youth workers, education and training providers as well as civil society organisations, in the development and implementation of the components and mechanisms referred to in points 2 and 3, together with providing incentives:

– to employers, youth organisations and civil society organisations to promote and facilitate the identification and documentation of learning outcomes acquired at work or in voluntary activities, using relevant tools
(in particular the tools developed under the Europass framework);

– to education and training providers to facilitate access to formal education and training on the basis of learning outcomes acquired in nonformal and informal settings and, if appropriate, award exemptions
and/or credits for relevant learning outcomes acquired in non-formal and informal settings;     The European Commission should: " (1) Support Member States and stakeholders by: [...] – Facilitating effective peer-learning and exchange of experiences and good practices;
– Regularly updating the European Guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning summarised in Annex II."
(4) Assess and evaluate, in cooperation with the Member States and after consulting the stakeholders concerned, the action taken in response to this Recommendation, and report to the Council by 31 July 2017on the experience gained and implications for the future, including if necessary the possible
review and revision of this Recommendation."  
(Source COM(2012) 485 final 2012/0234 (NLE))  

It is difficult to draw at this time a conclusion on the effect the EC recommendation will have; It is important that the discussion in EDC/HRE on validation of non-formal and informal learning is being led and that especially non-formal educational providers are clear they can show the effect of their work.    

Find here the EC´s draft proposal for a council recommendation om the validation of non-formal and informal learning.

Find more underlying materials on validation on website of teh European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/informal_en.htm