On 14 June the kick-off meeting of a project to establish a new European RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) Network took place in Vienna, hosted by the Austrian Quality Assurance Agency (AQ Austria). This initiative is a part of the Austrian 3-IN-AT-PLUS project, which runs from March 2022 to December 2024 with funding from the 2021 Erasmus+ Bologna call.
EUA affiliate AQ Austria leads the project, which brings together existing and emerging national RPL networks from Austria, Croatia, Germany Iceland, Ireland and Sweden, as well as ENQA, EURASHE and EUA. The project aims to develop a sustainable European network for RPL, in order to exchange experience and peer-learning among the different national initiatives, and potentially also to contribute to policy making.
While RPL has been a longstanding commitment of European governments in the Bologna Process, it is also one of the reform areas where there is still room for progress. As stated in the 2018 Paris Communiqué: “Work is still needed to develop recognition of prior learning (RPL) and other alternative pathways to higher education across EHEA.” A bit more bluntly, the 2020 Bologna Process Implementation Report identified RP as “an area of particular concern”, as “despite being emphasised again as an important tool by the Yerevan Communiqué , no education system has taken concrete action to introduce a new top-level framework for the recognition of prior learning since the 2015 Ministerial Conference.”
The initiative builds on the successful RPL in Practice project, led by the Swedish Council of Higher Education, and the Sideral Project led by the European Student Union, and also overlaps with them in terms of consortium members. A European RPL network did previously exist, and contributed in two rounds (2009-2012 and 2012-2015) to the work of the Bologna Process.