The invention of a new language of competence – a necessary tool for a lifelong learning policy

Bidragets oversatte titel: Udvikling af et nyt kompetencesprog - et nødvendigt værktøj for en livslang-læring-politik

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    The invention of a new language of competence – a necessary tool for a lifelong learning policy.
    In order to obtain the ambitions of a real lifelong learning it is a crucial challenge to develop a new language of competence which can make validation independent of traditional academic curricula and short term labour market skills requirements.
    Assessments at the individual level have been introduced in European countries under slightly different headings - competency assessment, recognition of prior learning, the Danish “realkompetencevurdering” (an assessment of competencies from all previous experience), the French “bilan de compétence”, etc. Assessment criteria are completely different. But generally we see two regimes of recognition; business and industry and the formal education system. Recognition by business and industry relies on an instrumental perspective and is thus subject to the structures and economic considerations of the labour market. It is also to a very great extent based on the perceived ability of the subject to function in the work situation, which staff selection procedures attempt to assess. Recognition by the educational system is based on documented completion of formal courses and description of course content. The basis here is thus partly a hierarchical ranking, and partly an educational structure, which directly or indirectly implicates an academic worldview that is one or two hundred years old. Of course there are examples of intermediate variants, but basically these two regimes of recognition are disjointed. Of interest here are not considerations of equality or legal-administrative factors that typify the question of access to education and various professions, but the operational aspect: how is people’s competence assessed?
    In the context of the issue of recognition, “competence” is supposed to serve as a “general equivalent” of human capability. Competence is primarily a counterpart to or replacement for the dominant system of diplomas and certificates linked to formal education. It is also a broader and more general alternative to the narrow and one-dimensional job-oriented view of work qualifications, such as is used in, for example, labour market statistics. Such a system is quite necessary to the realizing of lifelong learning, using the learning resources available both in formal education and in other areas of everyday life. But “competence” faces two quite fundamental challenges. First, a language must be found that is not trapped in one of the two regimes of recognition that dominate understanding of competencies in society. Second, the acknowledgement of the subjective nature of competencies means that their assessment must in principle be very individual - which is both impracticable and in opposition to the current place of prior learning assessment as a legal basis for access to education and work. These two factors are obviously interwoven, in so far as a language whose content is not limited to familiar societal practices and which must also be sensitive to subjective diversity could only be established through an imaginary organization of relevant modi and levels of experience - a proxy categorization of careers and experiential backgrounds.
    It is quite clear that such a categorization involves a contextualization of knowledge in relation to societal practice, which involves something more than abstract cognitive knowledge. However, it is more difficult to specify theoretically the “non-cognitive” psycho-social prerequisites - and perhaps it is also politically tricky because it is in part a question of active involvement in and acceptance of given practice contexts.
    Bidragets oversatte titelUdvikling af et nyt kompetencesprog - et nødvendigt værktøj for en livslang-læring-politik
    TitelLinkages of VPL : Validation of Prior Learning as a multi-targeted approach for maximising learning opportunities for all
    RedaktørerRuud Duvekot, Dae Joong Kang, Jane Murray
    Antal sider8
    Forlag EC-VPL
    ISBN (Trykt)978-90-812549-2-2
    StatusUdgivet - 2014
    NavnVPL Biennale

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