• Posted 05-Jan-2021

A European approach to micro-credentials

The European Commission has published its final report 'A European approach to micro-credentials - output of the micro-credentials higher education consultation group'.

In spring 2020, the European Commission established an ad-hoc consultation group with experts on higher education from various European countries to propose a common definition and recommendations for a European approach to the development and uptake of micro-credentials in Europe. The group was composed of practitioners working at national authorities, in quality assurance agencies, higher education institutions and other relevant stakeholders from higher education. Guest speakers were invited to the different meetings to share their particular experience and input. This group held three virtual meetings between 26 May and 17 September 2020 and proposed a common European definition, common characteristics and a roadmap of actions.

As a result, the report suggests actions on establishing a common definition for micro-credentials, the common characteristics of a European micro-credentials framework and a roadmap of actions to ensure the take-up, validation and recognition of micro-courses. The roadmap focuses on the following actions around micro-credentials:

  • developing common European standards for quality and transparency, together with all stakeholders (the education and training community and labour market actors, social partners, youth organisations, civil society, chambers of commerce, and employers, involving all Member States and European Higher Education Area countries)
  • exploring their inclusion in national qualification frameworks, with possible reference to the European Qualifications Framework
  • developing a list of trusted providers and fostering quality assurance processes
  • exploring how the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) can be used in their context in educations sectors beyond higher education
  • working on guidelines for a quicker recognition process by adapting existing validation and recognition instruments, or developing new ones
  • making it easier for individuals to store and showcase their micro-credentials to employers through Europass and its Digital Credentials infrastructure, and the European Student Card initiative
  • using them to improve access to lifelong learning opportunities by ensuring better permeability between education and training sectors, and ensuring informed learner choice by expanding guidance services underpinned by real time labour market data
  • providing EU support through the Erasmus+ Programme and Structural Funds for higher education, VET and other education and training institutions and training providers in order to promote the uptake of micro-credentials.

These outputs will feed into wider consultations covering all sectors of education and training to prepare a Council Recommendation on micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability, by the end of 2021.

Source: European Commission | Education and Training (https://bit.ly/3rUOVT5)