Participation of adults in lifelong learning remains well below the EU average in Croatia. Only 5.1% of the Croatian adult population (aged 25-64) participated in education or training in the 4 weeks prior to a 2021 survey, compared to an EU average of 10.8%. Recently, the Croatian government committed to bridge this gap by 2030 in its National Development Strategy. Towards this goal, the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education has requested assistance via the Technical Support Instrument in establishing a new validation and recognition system for prior non-formal and informal learning. Introducing such a system would shorten upskilling pathways, by giving adults credit for skills already acquired, making participation in adult learning more accessible. It would also support adults who wish to enter or re-enter the labour market or gain access to better job opportunities.
The objective of this project is to support Croatia in their efforts to design a new validation system. The main outputs are:
The project is divided into three phases that will take place over 18 months. The first phase centres on engagement with key Croatian stakeholders and a review of European practices. The second phase is dedicated to the development of recommendations. The final phase is focused on implementation and will include the development of practical guidelines for adult learning practitioners to implement the new validation system, and a conference to disseminate the project findings to the wider public.
The project will benefit from the expertise of the OECD and DG REFORM in defining and implementing activities. Both in-depth desk research and discussions with formal and non-formal adult learning providers and other stakeholders are envisaged in the project framework. During peer-learning workshops, webinars and discussion groups, stakeholders will be invited to share their experiences of validation systems, and will be encouraged to participate in reflections on possible solutions to existing challenges.
The success of this project relies on active cooperation and engagement from Croatian stakeholders. An Advisory Committee made up of representatives from the Ministry of Science and Education and the Agency for VET and Adult Education will provide strategic direction.