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European societies are facing numerous challenges such as rising unemployment and inequalities. The 2013 PIAAC report highlights the fact that 20% of the EU adult population have low literacy and numeracy skills. If the correlation between education and employment and especially to quality employment as well as to poverty is well known, one’s qualification does not always correspond to one’s knowledge, skills and competences. The lack of strong validation systems that allow for individual’s knowledge, skills and competences which have been acquired through non-formal and informal learning to be validated, only makes it more difficult to tackle unemployment and poverty in the EU.
The 2012 Council Recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNIL) is a first step towards more satisfactory validation policy frameworks in the EU. It gave a political impulse for Member States to speed up the building of well-functioning validation systems in partnership with stakeholders. However, according to the CEDEFOP 2014 European Inventory on Validation, “most countries need to further develop their practical validation arrangements”.
The Lifelong Learning Platform proposes 5 key success factors for the implementation of VNIL:
1. Long-term and sustainable strategies for validation
2. Overcoming resistance: towards a cultural shift
3. Reaching out to disadvantaged group
4. Guidance, counseling and information
5. The EU’s role in a successful implementation of VNIL