Despite progress since 2010, Member States still have a long way to go to ensure that knowledge, skills and competences that people acquire outside school are formally validated, according to a European Commission report compiled in partnership with Cedefop.

The 2014 European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning, which covers 33 European countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey), shows that countries need to carefully design validation arrangements, and implement effective tools. Recognising all learning through validation will help countries tackle  persisting skills mismatches.

People gain knowledge and skills throughout their lives, often outside the formal education and training system – at work, in informal courses, or in their private pursuits. They should be able to demonstrate what they have learned. Yet information about how to identify, document, assess and certify such learning is, in many countries, not easy to find.

Challenges identified by the report include:

  • Low awareness of potential value of validation;
  • Growing, but still low, social and labour market acceptance of validation;
  • High bureaucracy and inadequate cost-sharing arrangements;
  • Lack of coordination between stakeholders and across sectors.

The inventory details arrangements in all countries and across several themes.