In Denmark, validation of non-formal and informal learning has been on the policy agenda for about 20 years. Basd on common principles, a legal framework for validation of prior learning in the adult education and training sector has been in place since 2007, regulating the validation of prior learning by law. Thereby, the implementation of the legislation is decentralised in Denmark.
VPL in Denmark has the aim to (i) enable access to formal education; (ii) tailor a study programme or award credits for certain classes up to Masters level; or (iii) award a ‘Competence certificate’ if the participant meets the requirements of part of an educational programme. Denmark has a comprehensive NQF covering all types and levels of qualifications that can be awarded by public authorities. This eight level framework was adopted in 2009 and referenced to the EQF in 2011.
VPL in Higher Education
Validation in higher education and training is provided in terms of: merit, dispensation and real competence assessment (RKV).
Is given on the basis of documented, completed learning and education being therefore narrower than a VPL process. Legislation concerning merit is founded in the orders for respectively Diploma program § 20 and for the Academy program, § 21.
Is given either due to access or due to the 6-year’s rule (outdated education). In terms of access, dispensation is based on a concrete assessment if the applicant possess the formal educational preconditions, equivalent with the formal requirement for access.
Legislation concerning dispensation for access is founded in the orders for respectively Diploma program, § 5.4 and the Academy program, § 5.5
Real Competence Assessment
Is based on assessment of the entire knowledge, skills and competences in relation to Academy and Diploma.
Validation in the Labour Market
Private enterprises in DK use resources for competence development to a large extent, e.g. large enterprises such as Post Denmark and Novo Nordisk Scandinavia. However, this is not common amongst small enterprises. Validation of prior learning is un use especially in cases of development of companies as well as in the downsizing and closing of enterprises. In the area of adult vocational education and training, there is a tradition of collaboration between enterprises and formal educational institutions concerning competence development of employees including validation. The social partners have an important role in strengthening this collaboration.
Validation in the third sector
The third-sector stakeholders, including actors in the field of non-formal education, fulfil two tasks related to validation of prior learning. They (1) provide information and guidance about the available options for validation of prior learning and they (2) support participants in clarifying, wording and documenting their prior learning.
Many institutions in the non-formal learning area, as folk high schools, independent vocational schools and continuation schools (efterskoler) focus on clarifying the students’ personal and social competences together with their professional profile. The evening schools and Folkeuniversitetet (adult education schools) see validation of prior learning as only relevant for a very limited number of participants, most of them, aged over 50.
Funding of VPL
Validation of non-formal and informal learning is financially supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Public funding covers assessment at educational institutions, but does not cover the information, or clarification in the process with documentation of the individual’s application.
Within higher education, user fees for skills assessment are only applicable for persons with higher education level up to and including upper secondary level. The education institution can charge a fee for persons with higher education level above upper secondary level.
References (All accessed on 19th of June 2017)
- Ministry of Education: The Danish Strategy for Lifelong Learning. Copenhagen 2007. http://pub.uvm.dk/2007/livslanglaering/livslang-laering.pdf.
- Aagaard, Kirsten: 2016 update to the European Inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning.
- The Knowledge Platform on validation in Higher Education sector in Denmark: www.nvr.nu/http://viden-om-realkompetence.via.dk/
- AllinHE – Access to lifelong learning in higher education, Erasmus European Project. www.allinhee.eu (2011-2012).