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Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes


The recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of non-formal and informal learning are a key lever in making lifelong learning a reality. They make visible and value the large amount of invisible knowledge, skills and competences that individuals have obtained in various means and in different phases of their lives. Increased visibility of these learning outcomes may significantly improve individuals’ self-esteem, motivate them to further learning and strengthen their labour market position. RVA may help to integrate broader sections of the population into the learning process, and help societies to make better use of their existing human resources.

At the national level, a system of RVA needs to embody the following principles:

- Ensure equity in access to learning opportunities and that all have a chance to achieve learning outcomes: Every individual should have the right to have his/her learning acquired in non-formal and informal learning settings made visible and valued.

- Equal valuing of learning outcomes from formal, non-formal and informal learning. Knowledge, skills and competences that every individual has accumulated through non-formal and informal learning should be treated at par with those that are obtained through formal learning. Non-formal and informal learning should be considered as a route to a certificate or qualification.

- Improve flexibility and openness of the education and training system. The rigidity of formal education and training systems can prevent learners from making full use of their potential and already acquired knowledge, skills and competences. Education and training systems must consider diverse learning and assessment forms, to a larger extent taking into account the needs and experiences of the learners.

- Establish quality assurance mechanisms for the entire RVA process. To ensure the reliability and validity of RVA, it is imperative that processes, procedures, standards and criteria for identifying and validating non-formal and informal learning are transparent and underpinned by quality assurance mechanisms.

- Strengthen collaboration among stakeholders and build partnerships in design, implementation and evaluation. It is important to emphasise shared responsibility for the entire RVA process, from design right through to evaluation.

Source: UNESCO Guidelines for the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of the Outcomes of Non-formal and Informal Learning. (Forthcoming)

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