In Europe, we have been witnessing an increase of citizens in need of updating their skills and competences to bridge the gap between their formal education and the needs of society and the labor market. The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the digital transition process, creating new needs in people, particularly regarding their qualifications. By ensuring a continuous investment in the personal, social and professional development of citizens, we are contributing to a more active society and allowing to increase employability and socioeconomic innovation.
In order to respond to this goal, The European Commission developed the concept of micro-credentials. A micro-credential is a qualification that attests learning outcomes obtained through a short course or module that is transparently assessed. They can be obtained through courses given in person, online or in a blended format.
The flexible nature of these qualifications opens up learning opportunities for all citizens, which makes them a very flexible and inclusive form of learning, enabling the targeted acquisition of skills and competences.
Micro-credentials are provided by higher education and vocational training (VET) institutions, as well as by private organizations.
They can be particularly useful for people who want to:
- build on their knowledge without completing a full higher education programme
- upskill or reskill to meet labor market needs or to develop professionally after starting work.
This situation imposes the need to create common standards ensuring quality, transparency, cross-border comparability, recognition and portability. Based on this, the Commission considered it important to develop a common definition and European standards regarding this issue of micro-credentials by presenting a proposal for a Council Recommendation in 2021 to promote greater confidence in the validation of micro-credentials across Europe by 2025.
For now we wait, confident that new positive changes for lifelong learning will come along.
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