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Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

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Sweden:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

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Sweden:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Sweden:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Sweden:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

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Sweden:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Sweden:National Reforms in Higher Education

Sweden:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Sweden:European Perspective

Sweden:Legislation

Sweden:Institutions

Sweden:Glossary

The Education Act (Skollagen, 2010) defines validation in the following way: “Validation is a process which involves a structured assessment, evaluation, documentation and recognition of knowledge and competences possessed by a person independently of how it is acquired”.  

Historically, the first Swedish initiative in the field of validating informal and non-formal learning was the 1997-2002 Adult Education Initiative (Kunskapslyftet), which included a number of pilot projects focusing on developing new forms of accreditation of prior learning and validation. Soon after, the Law on Adult Learning and the Future Development of Adult Education (Vuxnas lärande och utvecklingen av vuxenutbuldingen, 2000/2001) emphasised the fact that any resident in Sweden should be able to have his or her knowledge and competences validated within the framework of municipal adult education, and this validation should be documented. In 2003 the Swedish government appointed the Swedish National Commission on Validation (Valideringsdelegationen) for the period 2004-2007 to promote and further develop validation methods and enhance cooperation with other relevant bodies. The Commission’s final report ‘Towards a National Structure’ (Mot en nationell struktur) summarises the work of the Commission and provides a number of recommendations which are guiding the further development of validation in Sweden. The Education Act affirms the possibility of undertaking validation in all types of adult education, including Swedish for immigrants.

The implementation of validation is decentralised at regional and local level and embedded in the municipal adult education system and public employment services. The responsibility for validation is divided between different actors, e.g. public authorities within the field of education, the public employment service, adult education providers, competent bodies for regulated professions, the Swedish Council for Higher Education etc.

The government has announced its intention to implement the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), to create a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and to make necessary changes and take other measures to meet the requirements of the Commission’s recommendations. Since 1 July 2009, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education (Myndigheten för yrkeshögskolan) has been the National Coordination Point for EQF and has set up a portal on its website to spread information about EQF and NQF work in Sweden. 

The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education has been given the duty of coordinating Sweden's part in the EQF and being responsible for its national implementation. This is carried out in cooperation with other concerned authorities, such as the Swedish Higher Education Authority and the Swedish Council for Higher Education. The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education has been assigned five tasks by the government in order to prepare for the implementation of a NQF. The work is in progress, and the aim is to have the NQF in place by 2016. The implementation process and tasks set out by the government include:
  • Relating the National Qualifications Framework to the European Qualifications Framework.
  • Developing procedures to connect qualifications outside the public education system to the NQF.
  • Developing procedures on how the NQF levels will be made visible in qualification documents in the public education system.
  • Carrying out the implementation activities.
  • Publicising the NQF to different stakeholder groups through information activities.