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Our view on micro-credentials

If there is one term that features high on current education policy hitlists, it certainly is ‘micro-credentials’. Especially at a time when a global pandemic exacerbated the need for flexible skills development and inclusive educational offers, short yet quality-assured formats seem to hold an almost magic allure.

Sophia Karner, Policy Officer at Una Europa, has recently worked with colleagues across Una’s partner universities to develop Una Europa’s contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation on ‘A European approach to micro-credentials’.

Sophia, why did Una Europa decide to contribute to this Consultation? And how did you bring in the experience of our Alliance?

In our Erasmus+ funded pilot project 1 Europe, colleagues have been working incredibly hard on a range of formats leading to micro-credentials. We felt it was important to share the experience gained so far in our pilot initiatives with the European Commission and ensure that the common definition and European standards being developed support what we are doing in Una Europa.

Micro-credentials have really gained in importance in recent years as a tool to make education more flexible, accessible and inclusive but, as always, quality is key for us. This is why we decided to focus on the important role of HEIs and the added value of European University Alliances in our input paper.

Which micro-credentials is Una Europa working on concretely?

One of the most advanced initiatives is the Micro Module in Sustainability, led by colleagues at the University of Helsinki. The Micro Module is based on independent (but related) MOOCs that learners can select to build flexible, individual learning paths, which will allow them to gain in-depth knowledge on global sustainability challenges and the UN SDGs. With ongoing challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency, the Una Europa Micro Module in Sustainability will be incredibly relevant for all sectors of society.

Why do you think universities have such an important role?

Universities have a really important role to play. As trusted providers of education, they have the right experience and knowledge to develop high-quality, research-based educational experiences leading to micro-credentials that are trusted, recognised and accepted – which is absolutely essential for the uptake of micro-credentials.

There already is a huge diversity of formats and approaches. Where do you see the added value of European University alliances?

It is true that there is already a huge offer out there, but I believe that short learning experiences based on Una Europa’s key pedagogical principles really stand out: they are inherently multilingual and multicultural, equipping learners with a unique experience and intercultural tools. By joining forces, our offer can be stronger, broader and more interdisciplinary. We are stronger together!



Interview by Inga Odenthal, Communications Manager, Una Europa