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Can you describe, shortly, a mapping of existing practices in Europe for the validation of non-formal and informal skills, particularly in reference to the projects already developed in Europe?

Both within the countries participating in the project and in the other countries, the situation is very diversified, presenting contexts already highly structured and running towards the systematization of the processes of recognition, validation and assessment (i.g. Estonia and the Scandinavian area), other contexts where there is a tendency to an excessive fragmentation of rules and practices (i.g. Italy and Germany), and other ones still in the phase of design and construction (i.g. Bulgaria).

Which good practices did you identify to use as a reference?

Generally those ones where instruments used are able to get the informal dimension, such as portfolio; and those ones in which a particular attention has been given to man as an entirety and to his "consciousness–raising". I really appreciated a Dutch project where a special care was devoted to questions such as “Who am I?”, “What am I good at?” and “What do I want to achieve?”. I think this is very important for a change of interpretation about the relationship between man and work.

Which key competences such as social, transversal, cultural, creative and entrepreneurship thinking skills are considered an added value to writing a good curriculum?

In addition to the competences already  pinpointed as European standards, the key skills consist of the people’s capacity of responding in a creative way to unpredictable situations, managing themselves, other people and the process itself. Furthermore relational skills. On the whole, the more advanced the career is,  the more importance is given to these competences rather than technical-professionals skills.

Can you describe, briefly, the Italian approach to the validation of non-formal and informal skills?

The Italian situation is rather fragmented: the certification is in the Regions’ jurisdiction, but each one of them carries out this task in complete autonomy. A more general approach is carried on by the Libretto Formativo del Cittadino (Citizen’s Training Book) and by the recent Decree... These macrolevels, however, have their weakness in burocracy, and therefore are not always useful for people.

Speaking about the methodology of this research, what kind of materials did you examine? And which critical aspect did you observe?

The research was conducted with quantitative and qualitative methods: questionnaires, non-standard interviews and focus groups. Furthermore, we have analyzed a bibliography about the topics of research: country reports, case studies and other references, both European and Italian. I think the most critical aspect concerns the terminology: not everyone has the same thing in mind when it comes to validation, recognition and assessment.

We are speaking in particular about the cultural sector, but did you identify specific aspects for the Third sector too?

There are two main specific aspects: firstly, there is a huge dynamism and attention to all subjective angles, related to individual stories and to the real personal growth. In the second place, there’s a complete lack of formalization of this richness. There’s the risk that this richness may be lost, and that the Third sector may become a place extremely rich in competences, but unable of communicating and transmitting them outwards.

Regarding the digital storytelling, do you think (on the basis of the results of these research activities) that there are any potentialities by applying this method in validating informal and non-formal adult learning?

I think so, because there is a general interest in it, even if not so much known. Personally, I think it could be useful with regard to the wholeness of the human experience as an aspect to take into account for a change of perspective on work, that should be a means and not the end of the human life.

Do you think that this kind of approach might help people in disadvantaged conditions?

Absolutely. No doubt: storytelling has the capability of transforming people and reality in a positive way, as it is a path into awareness, like all the narrative and orientation activities. The digital medium allows its portability and offers the opportunity of using new languages and gain innovative knowledge. This method has surely risen a huge interest and it’s been recognized as potentially valuable for the people who use it as well as for stakeholders, especially in the Third sector.

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