Austria traditionally places great emphasis on qualifications acquired in formal education: in school-based and dual programmes as well as at tertiary level. However, learning increasingly takes place outside the formal system, such as in the non-formal adult education context, at the work place, and in voluntary work. The dynamics of the labour market – triggered by technological changes and globalisation – require continued learning after completing formal education to extend and deepen knowledge and skills.
To underline the importance of competences acquired in all learning contexts and to foster lifelong learning, the ministries of education and science in cooperation with many stakeholders published in November 2017 the Strategy for the validation of non-formal and informal learning. This strategy is based on the Council’s Recommendation of 2012, in which the EU Member States are invited to develop nationally coordinated approaches and processes for the validation and increased visibility of competences.
In Austria many such approaches and processes exist already. For the first time, the national strategy offers a strategic framework for the development, coordination and network-building of these offers. It aims to promote quality and trust and to increase awareness and use of validation measures.
2018 and 2019 will be dedicated to the promotion, dissemination and implementation of the strategy. Four thematic working groups have already been established (on quality assurance, professionalisation, development of an online portal and system synergies) that should deliver results until the end of 2018. In 2019 the results should be put into practice before new working priorities are defined.