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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:


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.

So far the inventory has been updated five times (2004, 20052008, 2010 and 2014).

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:

Project contacts

Ernesto Villalba Garcia

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