6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning
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'Hungary does not have a nationwide validation system based on uniform principles and procedures. The validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes appears in some policy documents as an important tool for lifelong learning, but there is no evidence of an explicit national strategy. No strategy has therefore been developed so far, and a comprehensive validation system which covers any education or training sector is also missing. There are some fragmented, specific methods and procedures, but these have very limited scope in relation to institutional practice.' (Cedefop, 2016)
'By 2018, Hungary has to meet EU requirements to enable adult learners to have their prior knowledge validated and recognised either for obtaining a qualification in adult training or shorten the length of their training.' (Eurydice, sub-chapter 8.5 Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning)
This was stated in the Government's 'Framework Strategy for Lifelong Learning Policy for 2014-2020' ('Az egész életen át tartó tanulás szakpolitikájának keretstratégiája a 2014/2020 közötti időszakra'). In Hungary, the main target groups of the validation process, based on Anett Kovács's study (tanulmány) are:
- the unemployed,
- the low-skilled, and
- the early school leavers.
EFOP - 3.2.15 project
To the support of non-formal / informal learning, there is a project called 'Creation and renewal of the measuring-evaluating and digital developments, innovative education management methods related to the framework of school education' (EFOP-3.2.15-VEKOP-17 A köznevelés keretrendszeréhez kapcsolódó mérési-értékelési és digitális fejlesztések, innovatív oktatásszervezési eljárások kialakítása, megújítása) is a relevant initiative. Its purpose is to
- renew education content controllers, measurement-evaluation and digital pedagogical developments; and to
- develop thematic informal and non-formal programs that enhance equal opportunities;
- to support convergence and, consequently, social cohesion; and
- to reduce early school leaving.
The most important result of the project is that the planning of the new National Core Curriculum (Nemzeti Alaptanterv) has finished.
The new National Core Curriculum (Nemzeti Alaptanterv) was announced in 2020 and it is implemented from the 2020/2021 academic year in an ascending system. In addition to content changes, the subject structure is also changed (e.g. the introduction of 'digital culture' instead of 'IT') as well as the number of school hours. New framework curriculums (kerettantervek), in line with the new National Core Curriculum, have also been completed and published on the Education Office (Oktatási Hivatal) sub-page.
According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2020, schools have reviewed and modified their pedagogical programme and their local curriculum. Institutions that do not follow the requirements of central content regulators in all their elements, could apply for permission to use an individual solution. A significant number of alternative schools in Hungary took advantage of this opportunity.
Some other measurements were launched under this EFOP project:
- in connection with the new National Core Curriculum, new frame curriculums (kerettantervek) have been set up;
- development of nationwide measurement of competencies;
- development of the system of the graduation exam;
- methodological and professional establishment of the thematic informal and non-formal learning opportunities. (According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2018)
In connection with the informal learning opportunities, an important result of this project was the establishment of the Wonder Deer Shool Community Program (Csodaszarvas Iskolai Közösségi Program). The aim of the Program is to develop and renew the methodology of informal and non-formal education, and to expand the tools of teachers for the informal and non-formal learning opportunities. The learning opportunities in the Program are non-traditional school lessons: they allow the free processing of topics that are close to students' interests. As a result, teachers can try new forms of training, and students can participate in experiential community events.
Establishing a validation system
A proposal has already been created in order to establish a validation system (validációs rendszermodell) for the recognition of skills acquired with non-formal and informal learning, which would base on three elements:
- a validation procedure regulated by the institutions of higher education,
- a knowledge centre to ensure the development of the system and a 'bridging element', which would enable the organisation of services and
- cooperation between the two previous elements.
Recognition of skills acquired with non-formal and informal learning in higher education
Section 49. (6) of the Act CCIV of 2011 on National Higher Education [2011. évi CCIV. törvény 49. § (6) bekezdése] states, that the Credit Transfer Committee (Kreditátviteli Bizottság) may recognise knowledge and work experience gained through non-formal or informal learning. The procedure and the number of credits are regulated at the institutional level in the given institution’s Study and Examination Rules.
There are no outlets/services/large-scale initiatives for disseminating information and offering guidance on the validation of non-formal and informal learning.
Development of Communication and Skill-development Programs (EFOP- 3.4.4-16)
There are no outlets/services/large-scale initiatives for disseminating information and offering guidance on validation of non-formal and informal learning.
The project called 'Development of Communication and Skill-development Programs to Support Entrance to Higher Education and Promotion of Courses in Mathematics, Sciences, Engineering and IT' (EFOP- 3.4.4-16 A felsőoktatásba való bekerülést elősegítő készségfejlesztő és kommunikációs programok megvalósítása, valamint az MTMI szakok népszerűsítése a felsőoktatásban) includes supported activities in which students are assisted to develop communication skills and competences to enter higher education. Supported activities should enable students to acquire professional skills and practical experiences and participate in non-formal preparation. Recruitment and deliberate preparation are needed in which higher education institutions should have an active role.
Besides, the project supports other activities, such as
- courses based on individual motivation and social needs without giving any formal qualifications,
- study groups,
- training for students in order to increase their chances to enter higher education.
From June 2017, 23 contracts have been signed between the Government and the institutions. 87% of the projects have reached the first milestone, 5 projects have reached the second milestone. Until June 18 2018, 12.1% of funds, HUF 957 645 047 (about EUR 2.9 million) has been paid. (According to the information provided by the Ministry in 2018)
The quality assurance of the arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal competencies is ensured in the Fundamental Law of Hungary (Alaptörvény) in Article X. and XI. According to Article X.
'(1) Hungary shall ensure the freedom of scientific research and artistic creation, the freedom of learning for the acquisition of the highest possible level of knowledge and, within the framework laid down in an Act, the freedom of teaching.
(2) The State shall have no right to decide on questions of scientific truth; only scientists shall have the right to evaluate scientific research.
(3) Hungary shall protect the scientific and artistic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian Academy of Arts. Higher education institutions shall be autonomous in terms of the content and the methods of research and teaching; their organisation shall be regulated by an Act. The Government shall, within the framework of an Act, lay down the rules governing the management of public institutes of higher education and shall supervise their management.'