European Commission report: European Approach to Micro-credentials

12 January 2021

The European Commission has published the European Approach to Micro-credentials report analysing how a European approach to micro-credentials will help widen learning opportunities and strengthen the role of higher education and vocational education and training institutions in lifelong learning.

A European approach is needed because:

  • European labour markets are transforming rapidly, especially influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the twin digital and environmental transitions. More flexible learning opportunities are needed at all stages of life and across disciplines and sectors.
  • it will help to substantially widen learning opportunities and further shape the lifelong learning dimension in higher education, as it offers more flexible, learner-centred forms of education and training
  • a larger take-up of micro-credentials will serve social, economic and pedagogical innovation
  • it will scale up flexible, modular learning in a comparable manner throughout Europe, while ensuring agreed quality standards. As a result, it will be easier for learners to get these types of course recognised.

Micro-credentials were announced in the European Skills Agenda, published on 1 July 2020, as one of its 12 flagship actions to support the quality, transparency and uptake of micro-credentials across the EU. They were included in the September 2020 Communication on achieving the European Education Area by 2025 to emphasise higher education’s key role in supporting lifelong learning and reaching out to a more diverse group of learners. They were also included in the September 2020 Digital Education Action Plan.

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