You are more than a diploma

Have you ever watched the TED Talk Do schools kill creativity? by Sir Ken Robinson? In this entertaining lecture – one of the most popular TED Talks of all time – Robinson filleted the contemporary education system with a large and vicious sense of humor. His thesis is that once children end up in school, only their heads are addressed – and then only one part of the brain – as if the only and highest goal for children is to become all professors.

With this, we ignore a large part of the inexhaustible, versatile potential of people. Creativity is rather polished at school rather than refined. As children stay longer at school, creativity has to give way to a limited arsenal of predominantly cognitive skills that ultimately lead to a diploma in a tight straitjacket of tests and performance scores. But it is precisely the open-minded creativity of children that enables them to approach the world openly and solution-oriented. We certainly need this creativity in this time, now that the future is confronting us with ever-increasing and more complicated uncertainties. This does not call for diplomas but for people who dare to think and work flexibly and unorthodox.

Our education trains according to a pattern that was meaningful in a very different time than we are living in now. Not only does the current time require different skills, but also the ability to flexibly apply and adapt these skills.

A ‘diploma’ says little in such a context. It is no more than a frozen snapshot of your development, in which you have also been tested on a limited range of skills. In addition – and that is precisiley the beauty of this time – there are countless resources available today to tackle that education (and employers!) are ‘flip thinking’. And I do not mean that every child should be taught on an iPad, or that we are there when they can all program.

What matters here is that there is a huge reservoir of knowledge and skills available to everyone that is still insufficiently tapped and made accessible. We have all become our own node in a large network of knowledge and relationships. Why don’t we use that reservoir in a much smarter way and work on this ‘flip thinking’  in this network and make all recognition visible and actionable?

Make Visible

With the MIRVA initiative the Open Recognition Alliance (ORA) is untapping their great reservoir of knowledge and skills to make informal recognition visible. This through the exploitation of Open Endorsements, the new feature now available thanks to the 2.0 Open Badge Specification. And with this it creates a new way to work, instead of only formal education being the gatekeeper to employment.

Make Actionable

Another MIRVA partner, Open Knowledge Belgium started to make informal recognition actionable by working on a proof of concept for Open Endorsements, called bSkilled.

With bSkilled you can get acknowledged for your skills by letting your connections endorse and verify your qualities with Open Badges in an easy, reliable and standardised way.

Greater agency in recognition

Through the Exe-Leren Foundation, Gear Up joined this open source project to bridge the gap between informal and formal recognition of learning and achievements in the region of Breda, the Netherlands. By utilising bSkilled, individuals in the ComPas project will have greater agency in the process of recognition.

This Competence Passport enables people with a distance to the labor market (young, old, migrants etc.) to recognise the other, informal paths that they have followed or are going to follow on their way to work. ComPas starts with enabling the recognition of transversal skills and aligns with the new European ESCO framework.

Users can claim their skills they have developed at a participating organisation and have it endorsed. Users can share their profile with employers in the ComPas WorkFit Passport.

In this way employers can make a better match with a candidate, not only using a diploma as the way to work. Around 18 organisations in the social domain cooperate in ComPas with the municipality of Breda and employers. And by doing this we work on a regional network of informal recognition of skills. And at the same time empower the users in taking the leadership role in the recognition process.

MIRVA gives Gear Up a great opportunity to simultaneously work on this regional recognition hub and also utilise the untapped ORA reservoir and make that available for all (regional and national) stakeholders. With bSkilled and ComPas MIRVA is intertwining the dissemination and use of the project’s results. At the ePIC in Paris during the Open Recognition week Gear Up will be sharing the preliminary results of ComPas.

Categories: Partner news

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