The validation challenge: how close is Europe to recognising all learning? coverThe European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning provides an unrivalled source of information detailing how validation of prior learning is developing across Europe (1). It shows that validation strategies and legislation, despite complexity of the task before them, have been developing slowly but steadily. However, there is room for improvement, especially concerning reliability of information on takeup and use of validation arrangements.
This fifth update of the inventory comprises a portfolio of more than 1 000 pages, providing an overview of validation across 33 European countries (2). It includes examples of good practice and a thematic analysis of issues relating to further development and implementation of validation...
Evidence from the inventory suggests that political commitment in creating comprehensive national validation strategies is increasing, with the number of countries so engaged rising from five to 13 since 2010. Of these, only Finland, France and Spain have put in place a comprehensive strategy involving all education subsystems (vocational, general and higher education).However, available data are generally not up to the task. For several countries – Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and all four UK systems – it is not possible to reach a safe estimate of the number of candidates.
From the data available, it is possible to surmise that, in most countries, demand for validation is growing. Exceptions are countries with long-standing validation systems, such as France and the Netherlands, where demand seems to have stabilised.
Most other countries (France is an exception) do not publish data on qualifications issued through validation of nonformal or informal learning, or the proportion of total qualifications these represent...
This finding was confirmed by the 2014 update. In some countries, such as France and Norway, validation of non-formal and informal learning is promoted mainly as an individual right. In France, validation is open to anyone who meets application criteria (three years of relevant experience), but the unemployed and low-qualified are considered priority groups. Main users of the procedure are low-qualified individuals (52% in 2012), while unemployed individuals only account for 30%.
. Download the Briefing note "The validation challenge: how close is Europe to recognising all learning?".