Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
Recognition of Prior Learning, A POLITICAL and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

In a brief released in June before about one hundred people in Montréal’s Centre Saint-Pierre, the Conseil supérieur de l'éducation called on the Québec government, labour market partners, professional associations, schools, colleges and universities to pool and gradually harmonize their respective systems for the recognition of prior learning.

The Conseil feels that recognition of prior learning must graduate from the status of an essentially technical issue to that of an important political, social and economic issue and constitute a key element in the continuing education policy that the government is preparing. Continuing education must be based on the credible recognition of an individual’s knowledge and skills acquired within or outside the school system, in Québec, in Canada or elsewhere in the world.


An individual’s right

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation believes that all persons are entitled to recognition of their prior learning in order to access studies or job duties. People should not have to relearn what they already know, regardless of where, when or how they learned it. However, they must supply proof of prior learning. Furthermore, the criteria underlying recognition of prior learning must be explicit and transparent.

These are the principles that the Conseil uses to analyze the means for recognizing prior learning currently in place in the education system. In applying them, it has found that not all establishments are equally willing to recognize prior learning, and has discovered major shortcomings in the organization of services. The education system, on the whole, is not particularly disposed to recognizing skills acquired on the job.

In addition to the obstacles confronting all adults, immigrants find themselves facing still others in applying for recognition of their studies outside of Québec or extracurricular learning, namely: lack of information on the conditions for exercising trades and occupations, lack of familiarity with equipment used, lack of proficiency in French or English.


A State responsibility

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation also notes the existence of parallel means for recognizing worker qualifications (programs of study, lists of professional standards), which it fears will become closed and exclusive.

Pointing out that it is not in the interest, or within the means, of Québec society to develop two parallel systems, the Conseil asks the government to ensure that the various government ministries(Éducation, Emploi-Québec, Relations avec les citoyens et Immigration), teaching establishments, and employers be able to recognize the credentials issued outside their respective jurisdictions. In this regard, it recommends that transferability exist between systems for recognizing prior learning and that a national skills directory be set up that would make coordination of the various existing frames of reference.

The Conseil recommends that the Minister of Education take the initiative in creating and updating this skills directory and in reaching an agreement with the Minister responsible for Emploi-Québec on the measures to be adopted in this regard.

Panorama • Volume 5, Number 3 • November 2000

Document complet - in French (PDF)


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