6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning
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According to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the quality of non-formal education and its recognition was first dealt with on the state level in the Czech Republic by the National Institute of Children and Youth in the year 2009 through the national project ‘Keys for Life’.
During the four years of its running (until 2013), within the scope of the key action ‘Recognition of non-formal education’, the ‘Memorandum on the Support of Recognition of Results of Non-formal Education in Work with Children and Youth’ was created besides other things.
The memorandum was signed by the first signers at the ‘Conference on the Recognition of Non-formal Education’, which took place in Prague from 2nd to 3rd November 2011. Currently, the Memorandum has been signed by 41 representatives from the ranks of important employers and educators, and no further dissemination is publicly visible. The Memorandum opens up new possibilities for more intensified negotiations about future intentions, starting with the recognition of non-formal education and thus supporting the inner motivation for life-long learning in the people themselves.
The practical outcome of the project 'Keys for Life' in regard to recognition and validation of Non-Formal and informal learning outcomes is the 'Personal Competence Portfolio' (Osobní Kompetenční Portfólio, OKP).
OKP enabled young people to gather their competencies gained during life and non-formal education (as well as professional qualifications and formal education) online and thus build a more appropriate CV. It helped young people describe their competencies and skills by providing basic model competence portfolios according to the basic positions, roles and activities within children's and youth organisations and youth work.
The OKP is however not anymore publically available and further discussions on how to link formal and non-formal education are one of the goals of the new Education Strategy 2030+. No clear systems or frameworks are however available as of 2022. The discussion behind the official state policy also lean on the modularization of further/non-formal education and thus easily facilitate the recognition of their outcomes.
National Pedagogy Institute of the Czech Republic realized also the project Linking formal and non-formal education, including Leisure-based education. As outcomes of the project were created Methodic for the linking of formal and non-formal and several dozens of educational programmes for further inspiration and application.
However, still, there is currently no unified system of recognition of results of non-formal education as such. But, there is a system of recognition of further education, in the scope of which it is possible to use knowledge and skills gained in non-formal education.
Further education of the individual is possible according to the Act no. 179/2006 Sb. based on the National Register of Qualifications, which defines what skills are necessary for given professions and who will carry out testing and in which way, which is a necessary prerequisite for the recognition of previous learning.
Altogether it is a system whereby an individual has the possibility to acquire either comprehensive or partial qualifications required for the execution of a certain profession. These qualifications are specified for each profession separately, as are the conditions for their acquisition (testing) and the authorities which are commissioned to execute the examination in this regard.
There are no specific target groups with regard to young people, though gradually it was possible to successfully push through professions connected with youth work into the National Register of Qualifications; see details in the chapter 10.6)
Connection to formal education and certification
Official statement: 'Within the National Register of Qualifications (NSK), it is primarily possible to acquire a so-called vocational qualification (VQ). That is the qualification that makes the applicant employable in the given profession, or alternatively to acquire the trade certificate (depending on the requirements of the specific profession). For example, the craftsmanship trades require the passing of the whole comprehensive vocational qualification, whereas the vocational qualification is enough for the free trades.
The applicant, who acquires the VQ, will be employable in that given discipline. If he/she would like to acquire an apprenticeship certificate, it is possible only in such case that a corresponding educational discipline exists, and the applicant acquires the VQs necessary for him/her to pass the final examination from the educational discipline in a school which teaches the discipline. If such information is not stated directly by the qualification, then this VQ is not part of any group of standards leading to a comprehensive vocational qualification.
Until 2015, qualifications corresponding to the school-leaving examination level were addressed by the project NSK2. Also, for this level it should be possible to acquire a certificate of school-leaving examination, but probably not for all disciplines.
The project NSK2 states that after submitting a certificate of professional qualifications, 'the interested person will be allowed to carry out the prescribed examination (e.g. the final examination in disciplines with apprenticeship certificate), without the need to attend school education.'
Currently it is thus possible to also acquire certification of formal education, however, firstly the candidate needs to pass all partial examinations required for some of the professional qualifications and subsequently pass the final examination itself.
The total number of examinations passed was rising in the past by roughly 2000 examinations per month.
By the approval process of each sub-qualification, there was a specific role of the 'Sectoral Council' composed of representatives of employers, authorising authorities, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
Further investigation on how qualifications gained through non-formal education can be integrated in the national qualification frameworks is being undertaken by NUV and its partners within the Strategic Partnership in VET Erasmus+ Projekt NQF-in.
Information on the National Register of Qualifications can be found on the website with the instructuive web address www.narodnikvalifikace.cz (national qualifications).
The National Institute for Education also provides a web portal on Education and Work (www.vzdelaniaprace.cz) to inform and motivate people to use the methods for requalification or recognition and validation of qualification. Individuals and employers can also be linked and supported in a direct job search or ways to reach the necessary qualification by validation.
No agencies or campaigns for raising awareness can be found at this time, however, it is assumed that both portals are being used as support measures by careers services and counselling in schools and employment offices.
Learn more about quality assurance in the validation of non-formal and informal learning in youth work in chapter 10.6.
Assurance for validation and recognition of Further Education:
One of the quality assurance tools is the National Board for Qualifications, whose tasks also include 'monitoring of the labour market and demands of employers', as well as 'proposing the projection of changes in the content of qualifications into the content of educational disciplines.'
Another quality assurance mechanism is the system granting authorisations to legal and physical persons in order to organise testing. The authorisation is being executed by a body of the respective ministry, however it is enough to fill out the application correctly, fulfil the given criteria and all proper attachments; the question remains about the quality of persons thus authorised.
No further quality assurance mechanisms currently exist.
No monitoring system currently exists.