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Commission launches public consultation to support lifelong learning and employability

European Commission - 01/05/2021

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on an initiative to recognize short, targeted learning courses, so-called "micro-credentials".

Education and skills The consultation is open until 13 July and aims to collect ideas for a common definition of micro-credentials – recognition of short, targeted learning courses – and for the development of EU standards ensuring their quality and transparency.

This joint initiative led by European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel (Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth) and Nicolas Schmit (Jobs and Social Rights) will support the quality, transparency, recognition and portability across borders of short learning experiences leading to so-called micro-credentials. It will thus substantially improve learning opportunities, making lifelong learning a reality across the EU and making it easier for workers to find jobs.

Within Europe, a growing number of people need to update their knowledge, skills and competences to fill in the gap between their formal education and the needs of a fast-changing society and labour market.

The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and the green and digital transitions require people to upskill or reskill, to maintain and acquire the competences that enable them to participate fully in society, ensure their personal, social and professional empowerment.

Short learning courses and experiences are developing rapidly across Europe by a wide variety of public and private stakeholders, in response to the need for more flexible, learner-centred education and training. The potential role of and the interest in credentials that certify the outcomes of these short learning experiences is thus increasing.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: "In these unprecedented times, our learning opportunities need to adapt. They should be flexible, modular and accessible to anyone wanting to develop their competences. Our European approach to micro-credentials will facilitate the recognition and validation of these important short learning experiences. It will contribute to making lifelong learning a reality across the EU."

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: "As Member States strive to meet the target of 60% of adults in annual training set by the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, we need to make learning as user-centric as possible. Whether you take a short course in coding through a VET provider or learn a foreign language with a language school, your newly-acquired skills should be recognised throughout the European labour market. The public consultation that we have launched is an important step to put this flagship action from our European Skills Agenda into practice."

Public consultation on micro-credentials (deadline: 13 July)

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