In the youth work field and, therefore, in the context of Youthpass, we speak about the recognition of non-formal and informal learning in the youth field, and about the recognition of youth work (as educational practice). In terms of non-formal and informal learning, Youthpass seeks to enhance the recognition of both the learning process as well as the learning outcomes: the competences developed in youth work.
To understand the topic better, it is useful to distinguish between the four dimensions of recognition that define the various purposes and actors of recognition:
Self-recognition or individual recognition includes personal awareness and assessment of learning outcomes, and the ability to use these learning outcomes in other fields. It also refers to the awareness within the youth sector about the value of youth work. Self-recognition is an important basis for the other forms of recognition and for developing the quality of our work.
Social recognition means that various actors in society – for example parents, the school, employers – understand and acknowledge the value of youth work and of the competences acquired in non-formal learning settings.
Formal recognition is often associated with the validation of learning outcomes and with the certification of a learning process and/or its outcomes. Through this process, the learning achievements are mostly compared to the qualifications acquired in formal education. It could also mean aquiring other types or aspects of an official status, for example accreditation of learning programmes, licencing of youth workers, etc.
Political recognition is for instance manifested through the policies and legislations concerned with youth work or non-formal education. It could mean the extent to which the non-formal learning and its providers are included in political strategies on the various levels.