EU member states need to implement the Council recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning by 2018. In order to cooperate in this effort, representatives of member states regularly meet within the European Qualification Framework (EQF) advisory group and organise Peer Learning Activities. On 21-22 September about 90 people met in Lisbon for the Peer Learning Activity on “the role of non-governmental stakeholders in implementing the 2012 Recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning“.
Within this event, parallel workshops on the topic of the involvement of non-state actors in the validation processwere held. EFIL had the honour to facilitate the workshop on the NGOs/ Not-for-Profits perspective, and present the case study of the Intercultura Assessment Protocolwhich is now being developed thanks to the research work of the PhD fellow Mattia Baiutti from the University of Udine, sponsored by Fondazione Intercultura, Italy. This assessment tool is being developed to support teachers in the task of validating the academic year abroad spent by exchange students. In fact the Ministry of Education, suggest considering not only disciplinary competences but also transversal competences such as intercultural competence, when validating the year spent abroad.
Mattia Baiutti presented the assessment tool via conference call and answered the many questions coming from the persons attending the workshop, who were often interested in seeing how ICL can be assessed and converted into credits for a course, while assessing ICL is seen as researchers as a formative process which can hardly be converted into credits or marks. Participants were also surprised that in Italy the study period abroad is recognised, and wondered what the need to assess intercultural competence is if the academic year is anyway validated. There is still a long way to go to show to policy makers how the formative assessment of intercultural competence developed through a long-term individual school exchange, can be the main tool for the validation of the academic year abroad. In fact, in the few countries where the academic year abroad is being validated (Austria and Italy), this is because it is seen as a unique tool for personal development and intercultural learning. Now, an assessment tool such as the one developed by the University of Udine, can help collect evidence of the intercultural competence developed by the students.
This Peer Learning Activity has been a great opportunity for stakeholders from different fields to meet and start getting to know each other’s work. It was particularly interesting to see how differently “non-formal education” is seen by different actors, and that while in the youth sector non-formal education is any activity which is based on experiential learning methods, in the VET or other sectors, non-formal education is any type of learning taking place outside of the formal education system, such as language lessons organised by a private school.
We hope that this will only be the first of many occasions for meeting among different sectors and cooperate together for ensuring more possibilities for recognition of learning in all its forms, and thus fully promote lifelong learning.
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