Validation of non-formal and informal learning is not a high political priority in Liechtenstein, however, within the National Educational Strategy 2020, Liechtenstein aims, within further education and lifelong learning, to promote validation of prior learning. Validation has been developed in the VET as well as HE sectors and due to small size of the country the validation is oriented mainly towards the approach in Switzerland. Validation at HE level is currently mainly used for access and admission to higher education programmes and for gaining credits on the basis of prior learning or work experience.
A notable development in last years has been the elaboration of the National Qualifications Framework, referencing the EQF, which integrates the qualification framework for HE sector (NQF-HS). This framework currently only encompasses formal qualifications, but there are plans and possibilities to include the outcomes of non-formal and informal learning in the future. Other developments include discussions with HE institutions on improvement of portfolio-based validation procedure and on finding synergies with neighbouring countries (e.g. to redirect validation candidates to neighbouring countries to take exams for validating competences and have them recognised in Liechtenstein).
There are no specific policies, projects or initiatives in Liechtenstein directed towards validation of prior learning of specific vulnerable groups, such as immigrants and refugees, but educational institutions, also at HE level, do take into account the special situation of refugees within the process of validation.
VPL in Higher Education
The development of the national qualifications framework for higher education (NQFL-HS) in 2011 brought opportunities for validation of prior learning achieved outside HE system.
Validation of prior learning in higher education is used mainly for granting admission to higher education studies without a Matura examination (admission sur dossier), for allowing permeability from higher vocational education to further education study programmes and for recognition of programme achievements resulting in awarding of ECTS points. Up to one-sixth of total workload expressed in credit points can be recognised through validation. At HE level, validation cannot be used to obtain a full qualification/diploma.
HE institutions are required to give prospective students the opportunity to get access to HE programmes through validation of prior learning. HE institutions are free to choose adequate approaches towards the validation of prior learning, as long as the approaches are fair and undiscriminating. Admission to HE programmes without Matura is based on a portfolio, where the applicants showcase the courses they attended and their professional competences in line with the curricula of a given programme.