Research Research

"Continuing the Pathway towards Recognition" - Expert workshop on the recognition of non-formal learning in the youth field

This expert workshop took place from 9th to 11th June 2008 in Prague, concentrating on the issue of recognition of non-formal learning in the youth field and taking stock of developments since the endorsement of the White Paper "A new impetus for European youth" adopted by the Commission in November 2001. It brought together participants from various backgrounds: practitioners, researchers and policy-makers such as representatives of the European institutions and of national governments, youth organisations, universities, the National Agencies for the "Youth in Action" Programme, etc.

They discussed the current situations in their respective countries, examples of good practice in enhancing the recognition of non-formal learning in the youth field and possibilities and needs for future initiatives and partnerships among the stakeholders present. The workshop was jointly organised by the Youth Partnership, the SALTO Training and Co-operation Resource Centre, the National Agency for the Youth in Action programme of the Czech Republic and the Czech Ministry for Education, Youth and Sports.

The aim of the workshop was to continue discussions on the strategies to improve the social and official recognition of non-formal learning, education and training in youth work activities as published four years ago in the joint working paper by the youth departments of the European Commission and the Council of Europe and the CoE – EU Youth Partnership "Pathways towards Recognition".

The participants in the workshop comprehensively discussed developments over last few years in the field of recognition and validation of non-formal learning and suggested some future strategies and measures, particularly in the youth sector.  It was essential to develop a common understanding of the subject and to analyse the needs of different groups and stakeholders in the practical aspects of youth work. The participants stressed the vital importance of close links with other sectors, such as labour market and employment, education and training, and civil society when discussing any future agenda and strategy in youth policy, youth research and youth work practice.

Despite all the progress made in the last years, the workshop highlighted the outstanding need to improve the formal and social recognition of non-formal learning.  It also confirmed the enormous impact of the joint working paper "Pathways towards Recognition" in recent years and the need to update this paper from an institutional point of view. The workshop produced the material for such an update, which would result in an ambitious range of further initiatives for the coming years.