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Skills and recognition: Why validation matters

Thematic Area: ; VET system assessment; Qualifications Systems
Year/Date: 02/03/2016

Delegates in Ankara

Languages, ICT, sporting pursuits, childcare – we gain all sorts of skills throughout our lives outside formal school settings.

Known as informal and non-formal learning, these types of skills can be acquired through work experience, in-company training, caring and volunteering.

How do you formally recognise and validate these skills? How do you make qualifications transparent and transferable? How do you engage employers so skills meet labour market demands?

These questions were posed at a high-level international meeting of policy makers, business leaders, VET teachers, union bodies and international experts in Ankara, Turkey.

With a focus on the vocational education and training (VET) sector, the three-day workshop was an opportunity for SEET countries (Southern and Eastern Europe and Turkey) to share updates, challenges and priorities in developing their validation systems for informal and non-formal learning.

Turkey, which is hosting the workshop with support of the European Commission's assistance instrument (TAIEX), is aligning its national validation system to its National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Şennur Çetin from Turkey’s Ministry of National Education says when you learn a skill it does not matter where or when.

“It (learning) has to be functional for the person. In today’s competitive environment, those skills and competencies are critical for individual, the welfare of society and the economy. Skills should be validated!”

Candidate EU countries, like Turkey, are required to develop easily-accessible validation systems that allow people to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and competencies, and obtain full or partial qualifications.

These systems should ideally be integrated with a national qualification framework, which in turn should align with the European and international standards. Compared to other candidate countries, Turkey is relatively advanced in this accession requirement.

Turkey will share its experiences, policies and tools with participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Macedonia and Serbia, who will also present their country updates.

Participants will take part in a study tour to see first-hand how the validation of qualifications is undertaken and get to hear more about the European experience from France, Estonia and The Netherlands.

The European Training Foundation works with 29 partner countries, including candidate and pre-candidate countries, to reform vocational education and qualification systems.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence- in the rest of the website ‘Kosovo'.

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