State of play (excerpt from the last annual National Report on validtion of Non-formal and informal learning)
The Competence Reform
Validation and valuation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes has been on the Norwegian adult learning policy agenda since 1999 as a part of the national life long learning strategy The Competence Reform. The Competence Reform was a result of the national wage negotiations between the state and the social partners and was based on acknowledgment of the fact that a well-educated population is the most important resource a country can have for the creation of new jobs, ensuring quality of life and preventing new class distinctions. The main objective of the reform has been to help meet the needs of individuals, society and the workplace in terms of skills and knowledge and give adult opportunities to acquire education and training to improve their qualifications.
The main elements of the reform were :
- To give all adults a statutory right to primary and secondary education, and to give an obligation on educational providers to design the training offered in accordance with the needs of adults
- To ensure the right for individual employees to obtain study leave of absence for further education and training
- To provide state grants and scholarship for adults on equal terms with younger students
- To establish a system for validation and formal recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes for people with low education
- To acknowledge the workplace as an important learning arena and a place for innovationÂ
The Validation Project
According to the Plan of Action for the Competence Reform, one of its principal objectives was to establish a national system for documenting and validating informal and non-formal learning outcomes. This includes learning attained through paid and unpaid work, organisational involvement, and organised training.
In order to accomplish this, the national Validation Project was formed in 1999. The priority areas for development in the project were as follows:
- Documentation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes in the workplace
- Documentation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes in the third sector
- Development of methods and tools for assessment and formal recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes, in respect of upper secondary education
- Development of arrangements of admission to universities and colleges for students who lack formal qualifications
- Adjustments and possible amendments of existing laws, regulations and agreements on the basis of experiences drawn from the project
The Ministry of Education and Research had the overall responsibility for the project. Vox, the Norwegian Institute for Adult learning, had the operational and professional responsibility in cooperation with the project board composed of members from the social partners, the educational system and the civil society.
50 local development projects were funded by the national validation project. Different methods and tools for validation of non-formal and informal learning were developed in three sectors; educational, working life and third sector. Based on qualitative and quantitative data from these development projects and other surveys a new legalisation framework related to the individual rights for validation and accreditation in respect to upper secondary and higher education was set.
On policy level validation is included in the further strategy for LLL, this is described in the report âstrategy for Lifelong Learning in Norwayâ: http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/KD/LifeLongLearningNY.pdf