The article presents basic information on the validation of learning outcomes in Georgia, both in general and vocational education, highlighting the degree of development of the system in both forms of education. The validation system is regulated by law, and examinations are administered by the Ministry of Education and Science. In the article, challenges were also presented, such as low awareness of the validation system among the general public, absence of cost reimbursement and government grants, and the need to simplify the process of accrediting quality assurance institutions.
Validation of learning outcomes (VNFIL system) in Georgia allows for validation of skills, knowledge and social competences in the area of general and vocational education without the need to attend school institutions. The VNFIL system, in the form of extramural examinations, has an established position in general education, and is currently in the initial phase of implementation in vocational education.
Validation Of Learning Outcomes In General Education
Within general education extramural examinations, as a means of validation of learning outcomes, are quite popular in Georgia - learning outcomes are recognised for each subject at each level and in all three cycles of general education.
Legal foundations and organisational arrangements
The legal framework for VNFIL in the general education system is established by the Law of Georgia on General Education in 2005 and the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) Decree 15N of 2010 on Certification of Education Acquired through External Studies/Externship. The MoES directly administers the exams for full general education certification. The responsibility for conducting the written examination, as well as assessing, recognising, and validating the outcomes of the externship, lies with the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) or its regional offices, including Education Resource Centres and schools. Schools and resource centres have the permission to create the examination tools
Who makes use of validation?
The group most commonly engaged in the validation process are immigrants from Georgian families who wish to return and continue their education in Georgia, individuals who, for personal reasons, cannot access formal education, graduates of general education programs not formally recognised in Georgia who intend to pursue higher education. Interestingly, extramural exams seem to be increasingly used by students of Georgian general education schools to find an alternative to the need to attend school.
Validation Of Learning Outcomes In Vocational Education
As it was mentioned in the introduction, the VNFIL system in vocational education is rather at an early stage of implementation.
Development of the validation system
Georgia introduced the concept of validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes in the Vocational Education Act almost at the same time as in general education in 2007. However, the actual introduction of this process and its adoption by potential beneficiaries did not happen quickly and by 2021 not a single case of recognition of professional qualifications in the process of validation of learning outcomes outside the formal system was registered.
Several pilot projects on the validation of learning outcomes in vocational education were launched in Georgia from 2007, but after three years of implementation, the system was discontinued and new groups of experts were set up to re-examine the system and develop more detailed system specifications. The main reason was concerns that there were insufficient quality assurance measures in the system to prevent potential shortcomings in the validation of learning outcomes outside of formal education. Therefore, in 2010, another legal basis for the validation system was drawn up - the principle of recognition of non-formal education was issued, transferring the functions of certifying institutions to vocational institutions. The system saw the implementation of new legal solutions - in 2018, a new law on vocational education was passed in Georgia and a number of regulations on RNFE (recognition of non-formal learning) adopted in 2019. The legislative measures adopted in Georgia have introduced the current regulations concerning VNFIL. Currently, the RNFE system allows each candidate to confirm learning outcomes from non-formal education and informal learning and include them in any partial or full formal vocational qualification.
RNFE is implemented by validation institutions licensed by the National Center for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE). The National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement, also known as "the Center," is a Public Law Legal Entity (LEPL) that operates under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Science in Georgia. with the aim of improving the overall standard of education nationwide. In Georgia, only institutions with the right to award officially recognised professional qualifications are entitled to acquire the authorisation to validate learning outcomes in the fields covered by their current curricula (within current curricula). Until 2021, such an authorisation was granted to 4 institutions - LTD Community College - Nataly Academy; LTD Tegeta Academy, LTD Business and Technology Academy, LTD Georgian Business Academy.
The process of RNFE consists of four stages, specifically: identification, documentation, assessment, and validation. The phase of consultation and documentation is carried out by a consultant who has received training and certification from the NCEQE (National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement). The validation process aligns with the current education standards and modules. However, the NCEQE intends to broaden recognition possibilities by enabling validation based on occupational standards rather than formal education programs.
The validation process is overseen by a committee which includes representatives from relevant employers, educational institutions, and vocational teachers. The RNFE process incorporates automation to a certain extent, wherein applications, RNFE portfolios, and outcomes are recorded using a dedicated electronic system.
The RNFE in Georgia (under the process of gradual development) faces many challenges. Low recognition/knowledge of the system among the Georgian general public, no possibility to reimburse the costs of validation or subsidies from the government (also for the unemployed) are the main obstacles to the development of the system. The challenge is to simplify the process of authorising quality assurance institutions.
Prepared on the basis of:
National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement, https://eqe.ge/en/page/static/5/chven-shesakheb