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Non-formal education is an area that is equivalent but not equal to formal or interest education and is implemented in the context of specific activities addressed to specific target groups - in projects or programs.
Non-formal learning can be defined as a planned social and personal education program for young people with a view to raising their level of skills and competences beyond, as well as formal education programs. The development of a personality and the acquisition of personal experience are realized through action, participation in social processes and practical experience. Participation in these non-formal education programs is voluntary, programs run by trainers. The acquired knowledge can increase the competitiveness of young people in the labor market.
Non-formal education is carried out by various institutions, natural and legal persons, universities, NGOs, where one of the target audiences is young people.
The Education Development Guidelines for 2014 - 2020 set a high quality and inclusive education for personal development, human well-being and sustainable state development as a top priority for education development policy.
Tasks defined in the Youth Policy Implementation Plan 2016-2020:
• To develop a common model for the development and recognition of non-formal youth education at the national level, also promoting the use of non-formal education methods;
• Development of a unified definition of the program of non-formal education in the youth field and its incorporation into the regulatory enactments
Recommendation of the European Union on the recognition of non-formal and informal learning for the Member States, which stipulates that a measure for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning must be introduced no later than 2018.
The recognition of non-formal learning is just one issue from the tasks set out in the implementation plan. Nonetheless, recognition of non-formal learning is very important both for the development of non-formal education offerings and for those who engage in non-formal education and continue to increase their previous education.
Young people who are active in public organizations and have acquired organizational, presentation, collaborative, project development skills, speaking skills and experience in social and civic processes, and the acquired knowledge, skills and abilities will not be recognized. Thus, without gaining an advantage at the time of taking up a job (because the employer requires proof of experience) or at a university where the benefit is for socially active or creative students.
Failure to solve the problem of informal recognition is a risk that the quality of non-formal education may decrease over time, which may result in a decrease in the overall level of development of the company's competences
At the same time, unrecognized non-formal education causes dissatisfaction among young people, as well as a lack of trust between policy-makers and young people who want to be valued.
Tasks of the Youth Advisory Council Working Group on Uniform Modeling of Youth Non-formal Education (2015):
1. To develop a unified definition of youth non-formal education;
2. To develop a uniform definition of the youth non-formal education program;
3. To evaluate the possibilities of evaluating non-formal education;
4. To develop written recommendations for the implementation of non-formal education programs for young people in the Ministry of Education and Science in Latvia.
Work done so far:
1. A common definition of youth non-formal education was developed
A definition for non-formal education in work with young people has been established, which will complement the definition of existing non-formal education in the Youth Law. "Non-formal education in youth work is a process based on, based on, and guided by a young person, which promotes the development of competences and which can be implemented by any natural or legal person."
As in the Latvia at the moment does not have a formal skills recognition system, then usually are used two EU proposed tool's - Youthpass.
Short description and figures about situation in Latvia see below.
On 6 July, 2007, the commission of the program "Youth in Action" has approved Youthpass (Youth Passport) implementation. Youthpass is an initiative of SALTO Resource Centre, which main task is to develop a Europe-wide recognition of a document that facilitates the awareness and recognition of the skills and knowledge acquired within the EU's non-formal education program "Youth in Action".
Youthpass certificates are currently available for all the participants of the submitted projects of youth exchange and youth initiatives, as well as the participants of European Volunteering projects and training courses, under a condition that the project has been launched by 2007. The project implementers are obliged to inform the involved participants of the project about their rights to obtain Youthpass, as well as provide Youthpass issuance for each participant requesting it.
Youthpass projects may help young people to analyze their learning process and results. The National Agency for Youth implemented its various training provides information on Youthpass (the use of the learning process in the organization of projects, eight core competencies, Youthpass significance, etc.). Latvian young people's interest in obtaining this certification is increasing each year .
Latvian "Erasmus + : Youth in Action " ( 2014 to 2020 ) within the framework of so far issued 2,849 certificates Youthpass. The program " Youth in Action " ( 2007 to 2013 ) issued under the 8700 certificates. Information provided by National Agency for Youth.
Professional competence obtained outside the formal education system is evaluated by accredited educational institutions or accredited examination centres, to which the State Education Quality Service has delegated this task. In order to obtain a certificate of professional qualification, a professional qualification examination consisting of a theoretical and practical parts should be passed at a certain time. Representatives of employers of the respective occupation are included in the examination commission, and it evaluates the applicant’s compliance with the requirements set in the respective occupation standard and issues a document certifying professional qualification of the first, second or third level.