The importance to Europe of a skilled and knowledgeable citizenry extends beyond formal education to learning acquired in non-formal or informal ways. Citizens must be able to demonstrate what they have learned in order to use this learning in their career and for further education and training. To do so, they must have access to a system which identifies, documents, assesses and certifies (=validates) all forms of learning. This is what the EU has called upon Member States to put in place by 2018.
Countries need to establish systems that allow individuals to identify, document, assess and certify (=validate) all forms of learning in order to use this learning for advancing their career and for further education and training. This is what the Council Recommendation of December 2012 has called upon Member States to put in place by 2018.
In cooperation with the European Commission and Member States, Cedefop helps to develop validation systems by:
- updating and hosting the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning;
- disseminating and further developing European guidelines on validation;
- conducting case and thematic studies;
- assisting the Commission and countries in organising PLAs and workshops
The European Inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning
A regularly updated overview of validation practices across Europe, this inventory, compiled in cooperation with the European Commission, provides an overview of validation arrangements in European countries.
Recognising that society at large has a vested interest in using all available skills, national and regional authorities and sectoral bodies have introduced many arrangements for validation of non-formal and informal learning in the past ten years. Yet information about how such learning is identified, documented, assessed and certified is, in most countries, not easily accessible.
The European inventory aims to address this weakness by making information on current practices – including examples from selected sectors – available to everyone working in the field. The inventory covers all countries taking part in the EU 2020 cooperation process.
All material is publicly available and can be downloaded from this website.
The European Guidelines on validation
The European Guidelines identify main challenges facing policy-makers and practitioners – to a certain degree – pointing to possible ways to respond to those challenges. They are intended as a practical tool, providing expert advice to be applied on a purely voluntary basis. Their impact relies exclusively on their relevance and ability to add value at national or local level.
A second version of the European Guidelines is being prepared for publication. It is expected to be published by the end of 2015.
EU Policy background
Validation has been identified as a policy priority in many EU documents:
- 2013: Council Recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee.
- 2012: Council recommendation of 20 of December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning, which calls on Member States to put validation arrangements in place by 2018.
- 2012: Council conclusions towards a job-rich recovery and giving a better chance to Europe's youth.
- 2011: Council Resolution on a renewed European agenda for adult learning.
- 2008: Parliament and Council Recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning
- 2007: Launch of Youthpass certificate: tool for the recognition of youth work.
- 2006: Council Resolution on the recognition of the value of non-formal and informal learning within the European youth field;
- 2004: Council Conclusion on Common European principles for the identification and validation of non-formal and informal learning.
- 2002: The Copenhagen process: enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training: Bruges Communiqué 2010, Bordeaux Communiqué 2008, Helsinki Communiqué 2006, Maastricht Communiqué 2004, Copenhagen Declaration 2002.
- 2001: Communication from the Commission: Making a European area of Lifelong Learning a reality. COM (2001) 678, 21.11.2001.
- 1999: The Bologna process setting up the European Higher Education Area.