Since validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) arrangements are still not broadly developed in all European countries, the AVA consortium wonders whether the value of VNFIL is actually acknowledged by key stakeholders in the EU. This article provides some evidences that VNFIL enables one step up in professional and educational lives of individuals and thus calls for a quicker and more effective planning and implementation of the validation systems in the EU. In each Member State (MS), VNFIL differs in term of participation, costs, structure as well as involvement of stakeholders. EU-wide initiatives provide guidelines and recommendations on key issues, but national policy-making remains essential in integrating these into specific contexts and in developing a coherent long-term strategy. VNFIL at national level is often dependent to political priorities and thus easily subjected to governmental changes. While some MSs are sensitive to results of international assessments of learning outcomes and comparative studies of learner performance and thus tend to be open to progresses towards validation, others are still a bit resistant to the idea of comparing qualifications obtained from different educational systems. This concern can be overcome by putting the individual at the centre of the process and by involving the educational community into the planning and implementation process in order to develop a holistic and coherent approach to the issue.
The validation process offers increasing opportunities for all people in terms of both career and personal growth. Obtaining certifications that attest the professional skills enables the beneficiaries to increase their relevance on the labour market, have more job opportunities, receive better paid salaries and even change their professional route towards a better, more stable career which lead to a better standard of living. Furthermore, people are not required to spend financial resources and time in vocational training courses. This also offers participants the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of informal and non-formal learning as well as provides them with a higher level of self-esteem and confidence.
The study’s chapters will introduce the current Romanian situation of VNFIL, but also will focus on the individual benefits of the validation process.
This study was elaborated within AVA – 'Action plan for validation and non-formal adult education' project 2014-1-BE02-KA204-000426 which contributes to reducing the fragmentation of validation systems on different levels, namely policy and practice, by analysing tools and methodologies in different European countries and proposing solutions from the civil society perspective.