APEL.Q pathways to lifelong learning
Turkey has taken steps to develop validation procedures relating to various sectors of society. By strengthening its National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in line with the European Qualifications Framework, Turkey has set the basis for the development of a lifelong learning strategy and validation of non-formal and informal learning.
Turkey is experimenting with new methods for validating skills people have acquired in non-formal and informal settings. Many of these projects are funded by the European Commission within the framework of the Lifelong Learning Programme. The partners comprise a wide range of entities from NGOs to private and public organizations.
Procedures and processes
The following procedures and processes were initiated regarding the validation of competences in non-formal and informal settings.
In the context of the VITA project (Validation of service-oriented learning outcomes with an innovative IT-based assessment and evidencing system) an innovative ICT-based system was used to validate competences gained in different, more or less formalized learning contexts such as schools, higher education institutes, VET and workplaces, with links to formal certification based on the European Qualifications Framework. Evidence of social, personal and organizational competences (SPOC) acquired in non-formal and informal learning deemed essential in the service sector was assessed against level five of the National Qualifications Framework using Information and Technology (IT)-based assessment methods.
In another example, a mentoring kit for cultural managers and professionals in less stable jobs were developed to validate their non-formal and informal skills and competences and to foster their employability. The project ‘Creative Blended Mentoring for Cultural Managers’ (CREAM), funded by the EU between 2011 and 2013 was developed in three main phases: In the first phase, partners developed a new cultural curriculum for the training of professionals in the cultural labour market. In the second phase, partners designed and tested the training procedure based on blended mentoring method aimed at fostering creative thinking. Finally, partners developed a validation process for competences acquired after the testing phase, which was shared at the EU level.
The ‘Mobility in the Automotive Sector through European Credit Transfer in Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) initiative (2011-2013) aimed at promoting the mobility of learners and workers. It was funded by the European Commission and it targeted educational and VET-related institutions, students and employers. Furthermore, the project intended to enhance the transferability of occupational skills and standards through the validation and recognition of learning outcomes acquired by individuals in the formal, non-formal and informal learning contexts of different countries.
The ‘Validation of immigrants’ vocational skills and competencies in tourism and services’ (2010) was also funded by the European Commission and was implemented in the VET systems of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. The project aimed at developing a pilot methodology for the recognition and validation of competences acquired through non-formal and informal learning and vocational skills gained through work experience in the new member states or candidate countries of the European Union, as a means to foster the integration of immigrants and foreign workers, to enhance the flexibility of the education systems and the mobility of the foreign workers and to increase immigrant participation in the European labour market.
Outcomes and ways forward
From the examples given, we see that Turkey has taken some remarkable steps in promoting validation in relation to sectors in society with the potential for innovation, creativity and lifelong learning, such as the cultural sector that promotes the mobility of workers and learners and the transferability of skills.
Turkey aims to become an EU member by achieving sustainable development and transforming itself into a knowledge-based society with an internationally competitive economy. In actualizing these targets, lifelong learning and the validation of prior informal and non-formal learning can play a decisive role in giving individuals access to education and training opportunities and increasing their employability. To this end, factors of great importance are a more comprehensive NQF, a clearer action plan for the implementation of the lifelong learning strategy and a more effective cooperation between stakeholders from the public and private sectors and the labour market.
CEDEFOP. 2014. European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning 2014: Country report Turkey.http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/87078_TR.pdf
UIL, European Training Foundation(ETF) and CEDEFOP. 2015. Global inventory of regional and national qualifications frameworks, V. II: national and regional cases. Hamburg, UIL. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002351/235123e.pdf
Source: UNESCO UIL