A manual for validating knowledge, skills and competences acquired through informal and non-formal learning has been developed in Bulgaria. The manual was created in accordance with current legislation and regulated by the Vocational Education and Training Act’s requirements for acquiring a professional qualification in a vocation or part of a vocation. It is based on European policies, principles and best practices.

The main goal of the manual is to help create a system for validation of knowledge, skills and competences acquired through informal and non-formal learning. More specifically its purpose is to help regional and municipal administrations in identifying priorities.

Content includes:

  • an overview of European policies and practices on validation. Conclusions have been made about key factors which ensure successful validation;
  • analysis of the current situation on validation of vocational knowledge, skills and competences in Bulgaria, including political, regulatory and methodological frameworks and practices. The task is to specify the main points related to organisation, administration and funding of validation activities at regional and local levels, and to identify stakeholders and responsible institutions and partners;
  • a model for validating, at regional and local levels, knowledge, skills and competences acquired through informal and non-formal learning. The aim is to create a mechanism for effective administration of validation activities which will provide timely and adequate, information, consultation, help and support to all stakeholders and organisations.

The main activities described in the manual include publicity of validation issues; informing and registration of candidates; identifying results from informal and non-formal learning; vocational and career guidance for candidates; and evaluation, recognition and certification of the acquired knowledge, skills and competences.

The target groups include employed and unemployed people over 16, who would like to validate their informal and non-formal learning according to professions and specialties in the list of professions for vocational education and training.

The guiding principles of the system are: using and elaborating existing institutional capacity at regional and local levels; providing coherence and coordination of tasks, activities and efforts through uniform and effective management; establishing partnerships with the interested socioeconomic factors in the region. In addition, practical guidance for implementing the model and smooth functioning of the validation system (initial preparation, providing information and publicity, offering services, monitoring and control, yearly evaluation of the effect) is described. The manual also includes drafts of tools and sample documents providing common cooperation and responsibility of the institutions delivering validation services.

The manual was developed under the project ‘Regional strategies of learning and validation of education’ (ReSoLVE), funded by the lifelong learning programme, horizontal programme, key activity 1, measure ‘Support for European cooperation in education and training’ (ECET).