APEL.Q Case studiesGreece APEL.Q case study in education

Certification of adult trainers in non-formal learning


Following the enactment of law 4115/2013, adult trainers for publically funded non-formal learning programmes must have their educational knowledge, skills and competences certified.

In the past, the National Accreditation Centre for Lifelong Learning Providers (EKEPIS) trained, certified and registered adult trainers. This centre operated from 2001 until 2011. However, the National Centre for the Certification of Lifelong Learning Providers (EKEPIS), the National Organization for Qualification Certification (EOPP) and the National Centre for Vocational Guidance (EKEP) merged into a single statutory body in 2011, known as the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications and Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP). In 2012, a new certification system for adult trainers of non-formal learning was established with contributions from the General Secretariat of Lifelong Learning and EOPPEP as the main authority managing the system (Ministerial Decision no. ΓΠ/20082/ΦΕΚ Β’ 2844/23-10-2012).

Procedures and processes

According to EOPPEP[1], development and implementation of a comprehensive and innovative accreditation system for teaching qualifications gained by adult trainers in non-formal learning settings should respond to the following new social, economic and educational needs:

  • the education system should be geared to learning outcomes;
  • education curricula should be linked to the labour market and should enhance social partners’ involvement in human resources development;
  • trainers’ activities in non-formal education should be expanded, including adult education; and
  • knowledge, skills and competences of adult trainers should be updated.

EOPPEP has taken the following steps to implement the new certification process for certifying adult trainers fully, taking their prior learning into account. The organization:

  • developed an e-application;
  • created an inventory of certification examination centres;
  • introduced a pool of questions for the theoretical part of the examination process to be published on the organization’s website; and
  • transferred all relevant applications and e-portfolio data from nearly 25,000 trainers of non-formal learning into a new database.

The certification process is only open to candidates from three categories:

  1. those who meet certain criteria such as faculty membership in higher education institutions with the grade of professor, associate professor or assistant professor in the field of lifelong learning, adult education, or continuing education and training. These candidates are exempt from the assessment process and are certified directly;
  2. those who have specific educational qualifications or a minimum of 150 hours of relevant adult training experience. These candidates are eligible to sit for the certification examination; and
  3. those who have neither relevant professional or teaching experience nor a qualification applicable to the field of adult learning but have successfully completed a training-the-trainers program. These candidates are eligible to sit for the certification examination.

The examination procedure consists of a theoretical part (written tests) and a practical part (a ‘microteaching’ – i.e. 20 minutes of teaching on a specific subject chosen by the candidate – and a short interview with the candidate regarding the presentation. The theoretical and applied knowledge, skills and competences are tested against specific occupational standards. According to these standards, the candidates are examined in subjects such as educational policy, principles of lifelong learning, educational methods and techniques, learning materials, self-evaluation and continuous development. The examination is conducted in examination centres certified by EOPPEP.

Outcomes and ways forward

In October 2014, the examination procedure was conducted on a pilot basis and was accessible by candidates who were officially entered in the EKEPIS register of non-formal trainers.

Since June 2015, EOPPEP has conducted examinations for the certification of adult trainers of non-formal education. According to EOPPEP[2], 3,800 out of 4,034 applicants were eligible to enrol in the certificate examinations. From the 2,774 candidates who sat for the examination, 2,338 passed[3]. The successful candidates acquired a teaching qualification permitting them to teach in publically funded non-formal adult education programmes pursuant to Law 3879, Article 19.3 (GOG 163/A/21.09.2010) on the Development of Lifelong Learning. EOPPEP announced that an examination procedure will be carried out in the next phase, in which more candidates can participate.

Already-certified adult trainers are now included in a register specifically for training in non-formal contexts. Each certified trainer formulates and maintains his/her own electronic qualifications portfolio (e-portfolio), which includes trainers’ education and training, professional experience and the competences, skills, and knowledge accumulated.


CEDEFOP. 2014. European Inventory on Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning: Country report Greece.  http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/87059_EL.pdf (Accessed 18 January 2016).

CEDEFOP. 2016. 2016 Update to the European Inventory on Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning: Draft Country report Greece. (The draft country report awaits quality assurance and content validation).


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