The Norwegian concept of «realkompetanse» refers to all types of prior learning – formal, non-formal and informal. The importance of guaranteeing the right of the individual to such validation is reflected in key legislation and national strategies.
At a strategic level, there has been a development towards policies aimed at broad, differentiated opportunities for competence development. In the Strategy for Lifelong Learning 2007 (Ministry of Education and Research), validation of informal and non-formal learning was one of the main priorities. The Government’s initiative on Lifelong Learning 2009 states that the system for validating prior learning must be promoted and strengthened. The Norwegian validation system is based on shared principles in all sectors; among others that the validation process should be voluntary and beneficial for the individual. The opportunities, rights and benefits related to the validation process are promoted by various stakeholders locally and nationally. Skills Norway is one of the important national bodies in this work.
Validation in the Labour Market
The Basic Agreement for 2009–2013 between the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO) and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) confirms the importance of making prior learning visible, stating in § 16-4 Documentation of actual qualifications: «It is important that enterprises have a system to document the individuals’ experiences, courses and practice related to the employment relationship.»