European Council approves measures to standardise micro-credentials
A European Commission recommendation adopted by the Council of the European Union (EU) on 16 June provides new building blocks to help make micro-credentials work across institutions, businesses, sectors and borders.
Micro-credentials certify the learning outcomes of short-term learning experiences, for example a short course or training. They offer a flexible, targeted way to help people develop the knowledge, skills and competences they need for their personal and professional development.
They form part of a culture of lifelong learning, which helps people thrive in society, the labour market and their personal lives.
Building trust and enhancing flexibility
The 'Recommendation on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability' provides building blocks including a definition, standard elements for describing micro-credentials, and principles for designing and issuing micro-credentials.
As a result, micro-credentials can be developed, used and compared in a coherent way among the EU Member States, stakeholders, and the different providers (from education and training institutions to private companies) across different sectors, fields and borders.
These common standards ensure quality, transparency, cross-border comparability, recognition and portability.
These changes will therefore ease uptake of high-quality, transparent micro-credentials across Europe, and instill greater trust in their use.
Another step towards the European Education Area
The Recommendation also outlines key areas for action on micro-credentials in education and training and in labour markets policies. This will enable people to learn new or additional skills in a tailored way, inclusive for all.
Creating a European approach to micro-credentials is a key flagship to achieving a European Education Area (EEA) by 2025.
The Recommendation is based on a proposal put forward by the Commission in December 2021, building on a wide consultation and evidence-gathering exercises.
The Recommendation was adopted alongside another proposal on individual learning accounts.
Both proposals were part of the twelve flagship actions announced in the European Skills Agenda (July 2020). Micro-credentials also feature in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan (March 2021) and the Commission Communication on achieving the European Education Area by 2025 (September 2020).
Shorter forms of learning opportunities than traditional qualifications such as micro-credentials are being developed rapidly across Europe and the world. These opportunities are made available by a wide variety of public and private providers in response to the demand for more flexible, learner-centred forms of education and training. They also have the potential to offer education and training opportunities to a wider range of learners includes disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
Commission support for micro-credential ecosystems
The Commission will support the implementation of the Recommendation by
- fostering dialogue on how to use and adapt the existing EU tools and services to support the development of micro-credentials by all types of providers
- supporting the sharing of information and promote best practices
- exploring how the Europass platform could support the technical implementation of the Recommendation
- providing Erasmus+ funding support
The Commission looks forward to working with Member States and stakeholders on the implementation of these Recommendations to deliver meaningful support and impact, in an inclusive way, that helps people get the skills and opportunities they need throughout life.