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Linking recognition practices to qualifications frameworks: North-South collaborative research

International Meeting (UIL, Hamburg, 11–12 March 2010)

During the last few years, policies and the practice of recognition, validation and accreditation of non-formal and informal learning (RVA) have been developed in a number of countries. Adults and young people increasingly wish for the knowledge, skills and competences acquired in the course of their life experiences to be made visible, evaluated and accorded recognition within different contexts. Such recognition is expected to improve people’s ability to cope with current and future challenges and integrate broader sections of populations into the learning process, thus promoting lifelong learning for all.


UNESCO’s General Conference in 2004-2005 entrusted UIL with conducting and disseminating research and practice on RVA. The Institute, in partnership with the French National Commission for UNESCO, held two international seminars on this issue, one on the ”Recognition of experiential learning: An international analysis” (2005), and the other on “Prospects for development in African countries” (2007). UIL’s synthesis report on recognition, validation and accreditation of non-formal and informal learning comprises 41 countries. The Belém Framework for Action adopted at the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI), held in Brazil in December 2009, affirmed the importance of lifelong learning and recommended developing and improving structures and mechanisms for the recognition of all forms of learning.


Building on this process, UIL, in partnership with the Centre for Lifelong Learning Strategies (ECI) of INHolland University in the Netherlands, and with the French National Commission for UNESCO, is organizing an International Meeting on “Linking recognition practices to qualifications frameworks: North-South collaborative research”, to be held on 11 and 12 March 2010. The aim of this meeting is to arrive at a better understanding of issues on policy and practice surrounding RVA, and how they are linked to qualifications frameworks in different national contexts. A research network will be established and a research programme developed. The research programme will promote and strengthen research and institutional capacities by facilitating collaborative North-South exchanges between countries with an RVA system already established and embedded in overarching lifelong learning strategies and the countries that have an interest in developing recognition practices and mechanisms, and linkages with national qualifications frameworks (NQFs).


On the first day of the meeting, different perspectives on RVA-NQF linkages will be explored, covering national and regional perspectives as well as different themes such as the implementation and impact of NQFs on skills development and the different approaches to the recognition of non-formal and informal learning outcomes. The value of RVA for the European Qualifications Framework will also be discussed. On the second day, there will be discussion and debate on the design and implementation of the research programme, including the benchmarking of national lifelong learning systems on recognition practices and qualifications frameworks.


The 30 participants at the meeting will include experts and officials from UNESCO Member States from all world regions, as well as experts from UIL’s Interagency Advisory Group, comprising the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), the European Union (EU), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the Norwegian Institute for Adult Learning (VOX), the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), and the French National Commission for UNESCO.

Contact: Ms Madhu Singh (m.singh(at)unesco.org)