6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning
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For the recognition of non-formal and informal education, VÕTA system, which takes into account earlier studies and work experience, has been developed in Estonia. Its objective is to make visible and value any knowledge and skills regardless of where these were acquired.
VÕTA allows recognising:
- earlier formal education acquired within the adult education system;
- knowledge obtained during further training or individually;
- knowledge and skills obtained from working experience.
Recognising the learning and working experience requires that the educational institutions opened up to a new approach, agreed on procedures and rules and were ready to address every person individually. Please see chapter 3.5. for a more detailed description of VÕTA system in Estonia.
Procedures for the validation
The learning gained through a work-related, hobby or other daily life activities is proved by reference to or presentation of completed works, a portfolio of samples, a copy of a professional certificate, employment contract, certificate of appointment or any other documentary evidence.
Young people can also describe their knowledge, skills and practical experience acquired through youth work using a designated online tool Teeviit (formerly known as Stardiplats). There is a growing number of registered users of the portal, which was launched in 2010 by the Estonian Youth Work Centre (since 01.08.2020 Education and Youth Board) in order to facilitate the recognition of knowledge and skills acquired through youth work. The tool is based on self-assessment and provides young people the opportunity to generate CV based on the descriptions.
Procedures for obtaining formal education qualifications
In Estonia, the qualifications acquired in general, vocational and higher education are described on the basis of learning outcomes (competencies). The principles of the recognition of non-formal and informal learning have been defined by legislation.
Qualification awarding bodies, including educational institutions and awarding bodies of vocational qualifications, prepare their procedures for the recognition of prior learning and work experience (VÕTA procedures) following these principles.
Currently, a person can have his or her prior learning and work experience (including apprenticeship and traineeship) evaluated and recognized by the designated body (VÕTA commission) of the educational institution. Educational institutions may recognize prior learning and work experience both on the completion of the curriculum and when awarding qualifications recognizing the prior learning and work experience as an ECTS and ECVET ie it is possible to obtain credits on the bases of prior learning, traineeships, and apprenticeships. Educational institutions must inform students about the conditions of and procedure for the recognition of prior learning and work experience, including the terms and cost of assessment as well as the conditions of contesting the results, and ensure that all applicants have access to the necessary information, guidance and counselling.
Fur further information please consult section Validation of Non-Formal and Informal learning in Eurydice.
There is no specific target group(s) within the youth population defined in Estonia for which the validation of competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning is specifically supported.
There is no specific program for the development of the professional competences of staff involved in the validation process, but different educational institutions train their staff themselves.
Educational institutions must inform students about the conditions of and procedure for the recognition of prior learning and work experience, including the terms and cost of assessment as well as the conditions of contesting the results, and ensure that all applicants have access to the necessary information, guidance and counselling
Department of Youth Programs of the Agency of Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps of the Education and Youth Board (until 31.12.2020 the Youth Agency of Foundation Archimedes) manages and develops the portal Mitteformaalne aimed at promoting non-formal and informal learning of youth, raising awareness of its value and opportunities for recognition, including Youthpass. The portal is widely known among youth workers in Estonia.
No system of quality assurance of the procedures and/or the criteria/indicators/standards used to assess for the validation of non-formal and informal competences exists in Estonia.