Member States still have a long way to go to ensure that knowledge, skills and competences that people have acquired outside school or university are recognised, valued and accepted despite some good progress since 2010, according to a report released on 20 November 2014.
The 2014 European Inventory on Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning, which covered 33 European countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey), showed that a better design and implementation of effective tools to recognise those skills is needed so they can better contribute to tackling current bottlenecks within the EU labour market.
The sharp increase of structural unemployment in the EU has showed the existence of a massive skills mismatch within the EU labour market. To tackle structural bottlenecks in national labour markets, better skilled and knowledgeable workers are essential.
People gain knowledge and skills throughout their lives, often outside the formal education and training system. They should be able to demonstrate what they have learned. Yet information about how to identify, document, assess and certify such learning is, in most countries, not easily accessible.
Some of the major challenges identified by the report include:
- The low level of awareness regarding the possibilities and potential value of validation, especially amongst the general public.
- The social and labour market acceptance of validation, whilst growing, remains in many countries lower than the acceptance of formal education.
- The level of bureaucracy and costs involved in validation are still a significant barrier to its implementation in most countries.
- Few countries have comprehensive systems in place. Most systems are collections of initiatives, projects and procedures and there is a lack of coordination between stakeholders and across sectors. This creates challenges regarding scalability, and the possibility to adopt a long-term and general approach to validation.