6.4 Validation of non-formal and informal learning
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Arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning
'Hungary does not yet have a nationwide validation system based on uniform principles and procedures. One of the main reasons for this is the strong separation of educational and economic sectors. There are some sector-specific regulated procedures but these have very limited scope in relation to practice.' (Cedefop, 2018)
The National Core Curriculum
The most important result of an EFOP project (EFOP-3.2.15-VEKOP-17) was that the planning of the new National Core Curriculum (Nemzeti Alaptanterv) has finished.
The latest 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 in line with the new National Core Curriculum, have also been completed and published on the Educational Authority (Oktatási Hivatal) sub-page. (Oktatási Hivatal, A 2020-as NAT-hoz illeszkedő tartalmi szabályozók)
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, among others, the methodological and professional establishment of the thematic informal and non-formal learning opportunities.
Wonder Deer School Community Program
In connection with the informal learning opportunities, an important result of this project was the establishment of the Wonder Deer School 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 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 (Derényi, Tóth, 2011).
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 of a certain university 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.
Information and guidance
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
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, and
- 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 million (about EUR 2.9 million) has been paid. According to the Ministry's 2022 data, HUF 7.8 billion (about EUR 19 million) is currently being used from the fund.
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.'