ECIU University strongly supports the Council Recommendation on micro-credentials announced in December 2021 along with this week’s European Strategy for Universities and proposal for a Council Recommendation on building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation. These developments lay the foundation for even stronger collaboration across European universities and the opportunity to extend the co-design and co-delivery of micro-credentials to promote employability and lifelong learning.
ECIU urges Member States to agree on the ambitions as laid out in the recommendation on micro-credentials, such as a common definition; standard elements for their description; and key principles for their design and issuance, as already stated last year in our ECIU Micro-credentials paper. European coordination and cooperation is crucial to bringing the micro-credentials movement further in a coherent manner.
Furthermore, ECIU University is committed to working with industry and societal partners to develop, co-construct and co-deliver micro-credentials in developing a comprehensive micro-credential ecosystem (see page 16 of the recommendation).
ECIU University supports the move to mobilise micro-credentials as a vehicle by which research is translated into learning opportunities. We will explore how micro-credentials within our alliance can achieve this through our unique focus on challenge based research (page 17 of the recommendation).
The European Strategy for Universities will support the micro-credentials movement in several ways. The need for a micro-credentials ecosystem is (partly) why ECIU also welcomes the plans to work towards a legal statute for European University Alliances to allow them to pool resources, capacities and their strengths.
Similarly, we welcome plans to scale-up the European Student Card initiative and support new skills-intelligence’ systems to analyse labour market needs and demographic changes. This is a key and foundational aspect to developing strategically focused and responsive micro-credentials in key areas for the benefit of society and to address skill shortages and areas of growth.
Support for lifelong learners, e.g. via individual learning accounts as described in the Council Recommendations on individual learning accounts can also count on the support of ECIU University as lifelong learning and the up- and reskilling of citizens and workforce is at the heart of our education vision. Putting the individual directly at the centre of skills development and modulate funding according to individuals' needs for training is needed. There must be strong links between the Council Recommendation on individual learning accounts, micro-credentials and European Strategy for Universities.
ECIU University urges Member States to support the ambitions mentioned in the Recommendation on Micro-credentials and to embrace a new European Strategy for Universities that promotes stronger collaboration. Micro-credentials provide tangible opportunities for collaboration as the ECIU University demonstrates and play an increasingly important role in the creation of flexible pathways in education and lifelong learning, and support ownership of the learner for its skills and competence development.