6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning
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The Croatian Qualifications Framework Act (Zakon o Hrvatskom kvalifikacijskom okviru, NN 22/13, 41/16, 64/18, 47/20, 20/21) was adopted in 2013, with the last amendments adopted in 2021. The Act defines non-formal and informal learning and envisions the development of a system to recognize and evaluate non-formal and informal learning. Furthermore, article 15 of the Act states that “Application procedure, recognition and validation of previously acquired units of learning outcomes shall be stipulated in detail by an Ordinance on recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning and shall be conducted according to corresponding programmes for validation of units of learning outcomes from the Register”.
From the adoption of the Act to this day the national Ordinance on recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning, which was supposed to regulate its implementation, has not been adopted. Some Ordinances have been adopted at the level of some universities and polytechnics (Požega, Šibenik, Rijeka, Split, etc.).
The Agency for Science and Higher Education has published ‘Guidelines and procedures for recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning’ (Smjernice i postupci za priznavanje i vrednovanje neformalnog i informalnog učenje (RPL), istraživanja potreba tržišta rada te razvoj i vrednovanje ishoda učenja u visokom obrazovanju) that describes the procedure for recognition (although there is not yet an official procedure or the Ordinance prescribing it). It provides that the application should be submitted to the office for lifelong learning or the office for recognition of previously acquired learning. A self-evaluation form is to be filled along with evidence of previous learning. There are two possible approaches – a summarising approach which includes examinations to validate acquired learning as well as an evidence-based approach aimed at previous learning and proof of that learning.
Quality assurance is included in the Croatian Qualification Framework Act. It provided for the founding of the Croatian Qualifications Framework Register, where information on learning outcomes, occupational standards, qualification standards, programmes for acquiring and validating learning outcomes and programmes for acquiring qualifications. The application for the register is filled with the ministry in charge of education and science, and the application for the occupational standards sub-register with the ministry in charge of labour. The decision is made based on the professional opinion of the relevant sector council which ascertains that all formal and professional requirements have been met.