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Education

 

Bildung“Learning is like rowing upstream. The minute you stop, you are pulled backwards”
Lao-Tse, Chinese philosopher and originator of Taoism in the 6th century BC.

 

The European Union and education

You can’t get anywhere nowadays without a good education. Regardless of profession, and whatever kind of job you’re looking for, it’s always the same: the better your education, the greater your chances of getting the job you want.

The European Union is therefore seeking to support the education of young people and so improve their qualifications and job prospects. Together with the Member States, it aims to achieve this via the following measures:

  • multinational education, vocational training and youth partnerships
  • exchange programmes and learning opportunities abroad
  • innovative projects in the field of teaching and learning
  • networks for academic and vocational knowledge
  • initiatives on cross-cutting issues such as new technology in education and the international recognition of qualifications

Non-formal and informal learning

Links for people with a thirst for knowledge

 

Non-formal and informal learning

However, education does not take place only in the classroom, the lecture hall or at the workbench. Education can take place anywhere and everywhere!

In general, we differentiate between three basic types of learning:

  • formal learning
  • non-formal learning
  • informal learning.

For the most part, “formal learning” is commonly understood as learning per se. In such cases, a curriculum (a learning plan) establishes exact targets, times and also the form of the learning. Upon completion, you will normally receive an official certificate or diploma. This kind of learning takes place in the “traditional” seats of learning: school, university or similar institutions.

Non-formal learning: learning which does not take place in education or vocational training establishments, and which does not usually lead to a certificate. Such learning can take place, for instance, at a seminar in a youth organisation on the subject of “how to run children’s groups”, during a weekend course at a club or association on a theme such as “Sponsoring and fundraising”, or suchlike. 

Informal learning: learning which takes place in everyday life, in the workplace, in the family, or during leisure activities. It is not structured in terms of learning targets, periods or requirements, and does not usually lead to any kind of formal qualification.

By the way: there are already many possibilities to get your qualifications recognised, whether they have been acquired through non-formal or informal learning. Take a closer look at the points “Comparability and recognition of qualifications” and “Links for people with a thirst for knowledge”.

Lifelong learning

And there’s something else which is extremely important: You can teach an old dog new tricks! It’s never too late to learn. This kind of education, regardless of age, is called “lifelong learning” or “learning for life”.

Surveys show that nine out of 10 Europeans regard lifelong learning as important. And can so many people be wrong? A special “Eurobarometer” survey collected the opinions of EU citizens on the subject of lifelong learning. It was, so they informed us, not just something for young people. Most people prefer to learn in informal contexts.

Comparability and recognition of qualifications

Since learning is so important, the right conditions for it must be created. The European Union has developed several instruments to promote the two aspects that are particularly important in this regard, namely lifelong learning and mobility. 

These “Instruments for facilitating the transfer of qualifications and skills for academic and vocational purposes” are

The diploma supplement for professional qualifications:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/rec_qual/recognition/diploma_en.html

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

The "European Credit Transfer System" for the recognition of study visits abroad:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/programmes/socrates/ects/index_en.html

The European model curriculum vitae aims to present simply and efficiently individual qualifications and skills:

http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/leg/en/cha/c11077.htm

The EUROPASS

It is a portfolio consisting of five different types of documents. It gives all European citizens a clear and standardised means of presenting the capabilities and skills they have acquired in school, at university or while studying or training abroad: http://www.europass.at/article/frontpage//?swlang=en

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Links for people with a thirst for knowledge

Various internet sites promote the EU's concerns in the field of education and thus offer direct support to people with a thirst for knowledge:

European Youth Portal

The European Youth Portal aims to provide as many young people as possible with rapid and simple access to youth-related information on Europe.

http://europa.eu.int/youth/index_en.html

Portal on Learning Opportunities throughout the European Space

The aim of PLOTEUS is to help pupils, students, job hunters, employees, parents, career advisors and teachers in their search for education and training opportunities in Europe.

http://europa.eu.int/ploteus/portal/home.jsp

General and vocational training/The ENIC Network (European Network of Information Centres) - The NARIC Network (National Academic Recognition Information Centres)

These portals offer information on recognition of education certificates in Europe, with information on the European credit transfer system for academic achievements.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/rec_qual/recognition/index_en.html

http://www.enic-naric.net

EuroEducation.net

EuroEducation.net is a guide to the education systems of European countries from Albania to Serbia and Montenegro. It is a comprehensive source of information intended to help students, before and after completing their studies, to choose from among a broad spectrum of scientific and vocational study courses.

http://www.euroeducation.net

YOUTH-Pass

The process for the recognition of non-formal learning is put into effect with the YOUTH PASS for the new YOUTH in Action programme (2007–2013). Young people who gain experience through the YOUTH in Action programme from 2007 onwards will be able to furnish proof of their “non-formal know-how".

http://www.salto-youth.net/youthpass/

Europass

The Europass is a new way of helping people to demonstrate and present their abilities, skills and qualifications in a manner that is clearly and easily understood throughout Europe (i.e. in Member States of the European Union, acceding countries and EFTA/EEA countries) so that they can move anywhere in Europe.

http://europass.cedefop.eu.int/

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Date: 06.06.2006