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Accreditation of Prior Learning for Adult Immigrants to Europe

The European Basic Skills Network is happy to welcome you to a new online discussion on EPALE. The theme of this discussion, set up in the framework of the network's Capacity Building Series, is the accreditation of prior learning for adult immigrants to Europe.

The discussion is scheduled to start on April 24th, 2019 10:00 (CET) and will be moderated until April 25th, 2019 17:00 (CET). Its results will contribute to the EBSN's forthcoming open education resource (OER) on the theme of migrant education.


Unesco’s Global Education Monitoring Report Team presented in December of 2018 a report entitled “What a waste”.  According to the report, one in eight immigrants to Europe said that not having qualifications recognized is the biggest challenge they face, placed well above inadequate language skills, discrimination, or visa restrictions.

Please read the report and the Unesco blog that summarizes its findings, reflect upon the situation in your own country, and join us to answer these questions:

  • What is your country’s policy for the accreditation of prior learning of newly arrived adult immigrants?
  • Do you know of any example of good practice similar to the ones mentioned in the Unesco blog, either in your own country or beyond?
  • What are the main challenges for the implementation of coherent national plans for accreditation?
  • How is this target group’s transition between basic language courses, recognition of prior learning, validation of qualifications and introduction to working life managed in your country?


The Capacity Building Series of EBSN provides free open educational resources (OERs) and massive online courses (MOOCs) through EPALE, to help the implementation of the European Commission recommendations on Upskilling pathways in EU Member States. EPALE is funded by the Erasmus+ programme, as part the European Commission’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of adult learning provision in Europe. The project is implemented with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
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Seguramente ya sabéis que la responsabilidad en Educación, en España, es de cada una de las Comunidades Autónomas. Aquí se diferencia entre la alfabetización de las personas inmigrantes y el aprendizaje del castellano o catalán como idioma. En Catalunya, la alfabetización se lleva a cabo desde el Departamento de Educación, del de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales y entidades sin ánimo de lucro, muchas veces, sin control de calidad. El aprendizaje del catalán y castellano como idioma, para personas alfabetizadas, se lleva a cabo desde el Departamento de Educación (Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas y Centros de Formación de Adultos), desde el Departamento de Cultura hay oferta para el aprendizaje del catalán (Dirección General de Política Lingüística) y en Centros privados (academias) con o sin ánimo de lucro. Pensamos que un Instituto de Formación Continua o un Consorcio de Educación Continua, con los 3 Departamentos implicados, ayudaría a optimizar recursos, mejor control de calidad y mayor información y orientación.
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... even though it arrives a tiny bit late. I am sure readers will be able to understand your posting with the help of Google.
Considering language and literacy learning as two different issues is actually not a bad idea at all - because they are. But when this entails a separation of the areas of responsibility, I can see it can hinder a cohesive approach. The idea you suggest, of an entity that can relate to the three policy departments involved, seems excellent. 
As you know, the EBSN is very interested in gathering documentation about examples of cohesive policy. Do keep us informed about the results of your proposal!
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There was a wake-up call in Finland in 2015, as there were thousands upon thousands of immigrants and refugees, who entered the country. New actions needed to be taken in terms of validating individuals' skills and competences in order to integrate people either to working life or to a study path.
A test center was established in the South of Finland by three large secondary education providers, which helped to determine the path forward to the right level of education and/or training. 
Secondly, HEIs started to develop validation and guidance services for newly arrived. Now the network covers practically the whole country from the South to the North. 
Finnish VET centers and some AE centers offer language and integration training, in which mapping of existing skills of newly arrived is included. According to the mapping, they may proceed to VET programmes, in which they already have relevant experience and can have their existing skills and competences validated. This may concern an entire qualification (rare, due to language deficiencies and differences in work cultures) or a part qualification.
However, there are still little validation practices in the non-formal AE sector due to lack of legislation or policies regarding validation. It would be of utmost importance to develop sustainable validation procedures to the non-formal sector as they have a vast number of immigrants as students. 
Now there is a new ministerial working group, which is looking into the possibilities of introducing some validation procedures and/or learning outcome based systems into the non-formal AE. The field is eagerly waiting for some tangible results from that working group.
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The Finnish example is indeed very interesting, especially because it seems you have managed to put together a good system in a considerably short period of time.
As you know, we at the EBSN are especially interested in the basic skills field, which for this target groups involves both literacy, numeracy, digital competence, and 2nd language acquisition. Now, for adult immigrants the issues of literacy and language get often mixed-up. How do you check the general literacy level of newcomers, independently of their knowledge of the Finnish language?
Warm greetings,
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Good morning, everybody, and welcome to this new online discussion. It is a very concrete theme we are dealing with today and tomorrow, and one of great relevance in many European countries at the moment. 
The OECD published in 2017 a very interesting study on this issue called "Making Integration Work: Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications".
We are now eager to start to get some answers to the questions posed in our introduction above. 
Let's start with the first one: What is your country’s policy for the accreditation of prior learning of newly arrived adult immigrants? 
Please first introduce yourself and tell us where you work and what your experience is related to this issue.
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