02 SES 13 A, ValNIL - A Central Innovation for European VET Systems
ValNIL is short for validation of non-formal and informal learning. The definition of informal learning is a scientific challenge. It means learning which happens accidentally or incidentally and mostly outside of educational institutions, or at least is not intended by them. Nevertheless it can well be intended by the learners themselves.
For the European VET policy ValNIL is gaining increasing importance and is since the start of the Copenhagen process one of the four priorities. Important milestones for the strengthened European co-operation are the Common European Principles (2004), the framework for the Europass and the Youthpass since 2004, the adoption of the EQF (2008) and the European Guidelines for ValNIL (2009).
Particularly for low qualified and unemployed people positive stimuli are expected, especially for countries where the VET system is still expanding. There ValNIL should improve the functioning of the labour market because the ValNIL methods clarify the competences which the staff to be hired can use in the work process. This facilitates the matching of the needs regarding the labour force and the necessities for qualification.
ValNIL is thought of promoting the “Strategy Europe 2020” which has been put into action for ValNIL by the recommendation of the Council (of the European Union) from September 2012. These recommendations give a detailed foundation for the importance of ValNIL for the economic recovery and the fight against unemployment and the demographic changes in Europe.
The symposium will explore these foundations, also for personal development, inter alia by analyzing input and outcome approaches and societal functions of ValNIL. The presentations of the symposium will comprise the European perspective by including case studies of three countries, Germany, Portugal and the UK. In addition some of the most important theoretical issues will be dealt with at the same time.
The programme contains five presentations which are outlined below.
In order to contribute to the clarification of the concepts Peter Röben and Martin Fischer will analyse and discuss problems of recognition of informally acquired competences which arise from the fact that the concept of informal learning is used in different ways.
Eduardo Figueira will compare the methods of recognition and validation of professional competences acquired through experience in different European countries.
Karen Evans will discuss the case of ValNIL in the UK, starting with the fundamental question of the relative importance of integrative approaches of competence in comparison to those focusing primarily on the performance of work tasks.
Kerstin Huber and Eva Neumann will present a regional but rather large project "AIKO" (Recognition of informal competences) in the metal and electro-technics industry of the state of Baden-Württemberg, analysing possibilities of making competences visible.
Wiebke Petersen will analyse the societal functions of ValNIL as modernizing and – for highly structured systems – postmodernising of VET, using the concept of employment systems in which the societal “field” of VET is embedded in order to distinguish different pre-conditions.
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