At the beginning of May, the third edition of the international VPL (Validation of Prior Learning) Biennale was held in Berlin. At the meeting of the European Qualifications Framework Advisory Group, which was organised on the occasion of the Biennale, Iwona Gmaj representing IBE and Maciej Lasota, an Advisory Group member from the Ministry of National Education, presented a report on the validation solutions used in Poland. The presentation aroused considerable interest due to the comprehensiveness of the solutions developed in our country.
The VPL Biennale is the largest conference in Europe on the validation of non-formal and informal learning. It took place this year on May 7 and 8 in the German capital. During the two-day event, 33 experts from around the world shared their experiences and good practices in validating previously acquired knowledge. The Global Prize for VPL was also awarded at the conference. Among 32 entries from 20 countries and 4 continents, the jury chose the following winners: in the category of products – a method of describing a branch-wide competence model to describe skills acquired in the workplace; in the category of procedures – applying validation in the refugee integration process, and in the category of policy – developing a common standard among validation practitioners based on a pilot VPL project.
The Berlin Declaration
During the Biennale, the Berlin Declaration on the Validation of Prior Learning was also adopted. It is intended as a document defining the direction of policy development in the field of validation. Many experts, stakeholders, politicians and representatives of the public sector from 40 countries were involved in its development. The outcome of their work was to set standards in six areas relating to validation: organisational arrangements, financing, procedures and instruments, support structures, post-validation pathways, and legal foundations. The Declaration is available from the organiser's website (vplbiennale.org).
An enthusiastic reception for Polish experts
A meeting of the European Qualifications Framework Advisory Group was held the day before the Biennale, on Monday, May 6. The group supports the European Commission in implementing qualifications frameworks as a policy instrument for lifelong learning. IBE representatives presented a report to this international body on the implementation of solutions in Poland for the validation of non-formal and informal learning. The report – developed by the Institute's validation experts: Iwona Gmaj, Joanna Grzeszczak, Karolina Kwiatosz and Sylwia Walicka – discussed the Integrated Qualifications System and presented the effects of Poland’s education reforms, which provide new opportunities for confirming learning outcomes. The presentation was preceded by a review process prepared by Katarzyna Trawińska-Konador, a member of the EQF Advisory Group from IBE. The presentation by the Polish team was received with much enthusiasm and was widely commented on by the international group of experts.