This section draws partly on input from: Kristensen, S. (2019) European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning 2018 update; Sweden.
Sweden has made significant progress towards fulfilling the objectives of the 2012 recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning, particularly related to assessing and recognising immigrants' prior learning.
Validation activities have generally increased since the 1990s and standards and guidelines have been developed for many areas. However, validation is practiced and defined in different ways, both within the different forms of education and in the area of employment. Views of what validation is and what elements it should include may vary. Although intentions and incentives are included in laws and regulations both in the education sector and the employment service, there is no uniform legal framework to regulate validation and recognition of non-formal and informal learning in the sense of defining the responsibilities and tasks of the providers and rights of the individual. The National Delegation for Validation set up by the government in 2015 ( The National Delegation for Validation: http://www.valideringsdelegation.se/in-english/national-strategy-validation/) to develop and promote a national policy for validation has delivered its final report Validation – for skills supply and lifelong learning (SOU 2019:69) ( Validation–for skills supply and lifelong learning (SOU 2019:69): https://www.regeringen.se/48db64/contentassets/dfe0be15844c46f38630f6a2fb847a4f/summary-in-english-validation--for-skills-supply-and-lifelong-learning). In this report, the delegation submits its proposals for measures for a coherent, national and permanent system for validation, so that more people can have their knowledge and skills identified, assessed and recognised. The Delegation's work to develop these proposals was conducted in broad cooperation with relevant stakeholders at national and regional level. Representatives of national authorities, regions, industries, the social partners, education sector actors and others have participated in this work.
The National Delegation for Validation proposes to change the definition of validation in the Education Act to underline that validation should be defined as a structured process for in-depth identification, assessment and recognition of knowledge and skills that a person has, regardless of how they were acquired. Further proposals are to work out a coherent strategy for skills supply and lifelong learning, in which validation is an important component, and set up a council with overall responsibility for validation as part of this strategy. To support sector validation, the delegation proposed to establish a government grant regulated to develop validation of vocational skills. This has now been established through the Ordinance (2020:268) ( Ordinance (2020:268): http://rkrattsbaser.gov.se/sfst?bet=2020:268 (in Swedish).). From 2020 the new State grant is available for social partners who, in collaboration, want to develop new or adapt existing qualifications and validation models.
Several stakeholders have signalled their interest in using SeQF as a reference for their work; one example is the Property Promotion Branch Association that formulates standards for qualifications within its sphere of influence to develop validation procedures that will assist in recruitment and improve competence training programmes for staff. Other examples are the construction sector, where the framework is being used to indicate alternative progression routes for those wanting to qualify as construction site managers, and the financial sector, where the framework is seen as an opportunity to highlight the training activities taking place within the sector.
NAHVE has the task of following and supporting the development work on validation nationally and regionally. The agency is also required to support the economic sectors with developing, and quality assuring, models for validation ( MYH (2017). Standard och riktlinjer för branschvalidering avyrkeskompetens [Standards and guidelines for sectoral validation of vocational competence] . https://www.myh.se/Documents/Publikationer/Informationsmaterial/standard_branschvalidering.pdf). Given that MYH is also responsible for implementing the SeQF, a close link between the national qualifications framework and validation has been established.
To support the further development of sectoral validation, the National Agency for Higher Education has run an ESF-funded project since 2018 called BOSS (operational and strategic collaboration in sectoral validation) to help about 20 sectors to develop and quality assure their models in a network where they can all learn from each other. The starting point for the project's activities is the SeQF, and Standard and guidelines for sectoral validation. When the sectors formulate qualifications in accordance with the SeQF, the learning outcomes for a specific qualification become clear and can be validated and recognised via sectoral models. There are important synergies between these tools. The project has been successful and has recently been granted support for two more years (European Commission and Cedefop, 2020).
Starting in October 2020, NAHVE and partners from Finland and Iceland will carry out an Erasmus+ funded project related to both the non-formal qualifications and validation arrangements in the Nordic countries. The main focus of the project will be to examine how non-formal qualifications are levelled in national qualifications frameworks and if those qualifications can be awarded through validation procedures. The foreseen output of the project is both policy recommendations and support tools aimed at stakeholders designing non-formal qualifications and validation procedures ( https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/projects/eplus-project-details/#project/2020-1-SE01-KA202-077983).