Recognition of non-formal and informal learning (in the field of youth)

Non-formal and informal learning activities constitute a special aspect of education and training because they complement formal learning. Greater recognition should be given to their importance in the field of youth because of the skills and qualifications with which they provide young people and the part they play in the learning process. For this reason, comparability and transparency are essential.


Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on the recognition of the value of non-formal and informal learning within the European youth field [Official Journal C 168, 20.7.2006].


The value and visibility of non-formal and informal learning for young people should be enhanced by recognising the work and achievements of young people and those active in youth work and youth organisations. They should therefore be given due consideration by employers, formal education and civil society in general.

These kinds of learning are important because they:

The field of youth is important because of the economic and social impact of public and private investment in this field at local, regional, national and European levels. Non-formal and informal learning activities can therefore provide significant added value for society, the economy and young people themselves.

Non-formal and informal learning are important elements in the learning process and are effective instruments for making learning attractive, developing lifelong learning and promoting the social integration of young people. They encourage the participation, active citizenship and social inclusion of young people, and are of practical relevance to the labour market by helping to acquire knowledge, qualifications and other key skills.

The Youth in Action programme for the period 2007-2013 and its predecessor, the Youth Programme make an important contribution to their European dimension.

The Council therefore calls on the Member States and the Commission to:


Recognising the value of non-formal and informal learning in the field of youth helps to achieve the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and the European area of lifelong learning. As such, this follows on from the 2002 work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe, which aimed to make education and training systems a point of reference of a world-class standard.

This is one of the concerns about cooperation and the validation of learning outcomes, following the example of the 2002 Resolution on lifelong learning, the 2005 European Youth Pact or the 2006 report entitled " Modernising education and training ". It will complement the work of the Council of Europe in this field by means of the European Portfolio for Youth Leaders and Youth Workers.

On the whole, we need to create reference frameworks in order to assess the skills acquired and promote mobility by building bridges between formal, non-formal and informal learning, as highlighted by the 2001 White Paper entitled " A new impetus for European youth ".

Last updated: 14.02.2007