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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning


8.Adult education and training

8.5Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Last update: 27 November 2023

Qualifications and training outcomes linked to the levels of HuQF:

The recognition of learning outcomes achieved through non-formal and informal learning is based on the establishment of the National Qualifications Framework and its alignment with the European system. The implementation of the qualifications framework is still ongoing.

In spring 2008, a recommendation was released by the Council and the European Parliament on the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The EQF is a so-called meta-framework that allows comparability of national frameworks and the matching of the qualifications structure of different levels of trainings organized by different Member States.

The EQF is a single set of criteria that recognizes learning outcomes regardless of the country and type of training (formal, non-formal or informal) in which they have acquired. The EQF provides eight hierarchical qualification levels (called reference levels) based on the learning outcomes of formal and non-formal qualifications of the entire education and training system, regardless of their specific content. This approach allows the qualifications of national education and training systems to be compared to the EQF.

Since qualification systems in different countries may be structured differently (for example they may set levels or classify learning outcomes differently), EQF works as a translator between distinct countries’ qualifications frameworks. Each level of the national frameworks is mapped to EQF levels by common criteria. In this way, qualifications obtained in different countries can be compared through the EQF as a reference system.

In June 2008, following the recommendation of the European Council and Parliament, Hungary took a decision to join the EQF and to establish a national qualifications framework (Government Resolution of 2069/2008). By 2011, the eight levels of the Hungarian Qualifications Framework (HuQF) and the level descriptors have been developed, which are specified in the Annex of the 1229/2012. (VII.6) Government Resolution. The Hungarian Qualifications Framework, linked to the European Qualifications Framework, is Hungary's own qualifications framework, in which national qualifications are included from primary and secondary education to higher education, including adult education, doctoral education and vocational higher education. The HuQF, following the structure of the EQF, has eight levels. It is a uniform description that defines and integrates all qualifications at national level for the whole or part of the education and training system in an internationally understandable and coherent way and determines the relationship between qualifications obtainable in the given system.


  • to support the realization of lifelong learning
  • to make European qualifications comparable
  • to support the mobility of labour force

Each of these levels has requirements in the form of learning outcomes. The eight levels are defined by a set of characteristics (so-called descriptors): knowledge, skills, attitudes, and autonomy-responsibility. While the EQF defines the levels in 3 descriptors, the HuQF uses 4 descriptors, the attitude is a separate characteristic. These characteristics were formulated to make a clear distinction between the levels and to clearly show improvement compared to previous levels. The description of the levels is hierarchical. The higher the level, the increasing level of organizational level of competency appears. Each level is based on the previous level and includes its competencies.

The HuQF benefits the student, the training institution and the workplace too, as it classifies domestic qualifications in a transparent, flexible, easy-to-understand system regardless of whether it is available in public education, vocational training, adult training or higher education. At the same time, HuQF makes it easier to compare qualifications by systematizing them based on the learning outcomes. The transparency of the acquired knowledge, ability, attitudes, autonomy and responsibility will facilitate individual and professional development and prosperity in the world of work.

The Hungarian Qualifications Framework had a significant milestone in the development process of nearly ten years on 3 February 2015, when the Referencing report of the implementation of the Hungarian Qualifications Framework was accepted in Brussels.

HuQF levels of state-recognized vocational qualifications were first included in the NVQR and was in effect since 4 March 2016. NVQR vocational qualifications were classified from level 2 to level 6. Adult training qualifications were classified from level 2 to level 7 based on the vocational programme requirements.

The new Register of Vocational Occupations (Szakmajegyzék) includes HuQF classification based on Annex 1 of Government Decree 12/2020 (II.07). In general, vocational school qualifications corresponds to HuQF level 4, and technicum qualifications to HuQF level 5. The Register of Vocational Occupations also indicates the Digital Competence Framework level, thus, with vocational school qualification level 5, and with technicum level 6 can be reached.

Taking into consideration the obtainable qualifications in the in the vocational and adult education system during the transition period and the qualifications of the trainings started in the new system, the HuQF classifications are as follows:

EQF/HuQF level

Type of Qualification


completed 6th grade


completed 8th grade

lower secondary partial vocational qualification

partial qualification

qualification after completing a second chance programme


completed 10th grade

lower secondary partial qualification, vocational qualification, vocational qualification add-on

partial vocational qualification


upper secondary school leaving certificate

upper secondary vocational qualification, vocational qualification add-on,

professional qualification


advanced-level vocational qualification, vocational qualification add-on

technician vocational qualification

higher education short-cycle qualification


BA/BSc degree in higher education

post-graduate specialisation (with a prerequisite bachelor or higher education degree)


MA/MSc degree in higher education

post-graduate specialisation (with a prerequisite master degree


Doctoral degree (PhD/DLA)


Recognition of prior learning

Preparation for a profession, getting general and specific skills necessary for long-term success in the labour market, becoming a better expert requires more and more learning at different levels of the school system and the adult education system. The VET 4.0 strategy also addresses the issue of the recognition of prior knowledge: special professional knowledge and knowledge related to new technologies should be acquired in the adult training system by acknowledging prior learning. The aim is for those who have obtained a technician qualification to have a direct path from the vocational training institutions to the higher education, acknowledging their previously acquired professional knowledge and recognising the results of their professional examination.

The growth of knowledge and skills acquired outside the school system and the increasing value of time require education and training providers to recognize the previously acquired knowledge and skills in their training programmes. The VET 4.0 strategy also states that more flexible learning pathways should be provided; prior knowledge should be recognised even if the applicant cannot attest it with a certificate because it is based on practical work experience. One of the intervention measures focuses on this aim; to support short-cycle in-company trainings that respond to the needs of the Industry 4.0 strategy, to reduce training time in adult education and training by recognising prior qualifications or practical knowledge.

Although the regulation of Hungarian adult training makes the recognition of prior knowledge possible and reducing the training time based on this, in practice this appears to be rare, the training providers do not use this opportunity, even if the 2001 CI. Act on Adult Education has already allowed the evaluation and recognition of non-formal and informal learning results in training programmes. The 2013 LXXVII. Act on Adult Education has also provided this right for students:  The Adult Education Act authorized the Minister responsible for Vocational and Adult Education to establish rules for measuring and making allowance for prior knowledge. This provision has not been published, so adult education institutions were regulated only as described in the Adult Education Act.

According to the amended Adult Education Act, effective from 1 January 2020, measuring competences aims to assess the existence of the required competences to start and complete the training (in the absence of a certificate). Measurement of knowledge assesses whether the applicant is able to meet the requirements of the training based on their prior studies without supporting documents or with practical experience gained. If they are, they can be exempted from the relevant part of the training. The legislation does not identify the documentation, extent and measuring tools of the knowledge and ability assessment.

The implementing decree of the act complements the definition of ‘recognition of prior learning’ with that the applicant may be exempted from the training part if their studies, which are certified by a document, prove to be adequate. Thus, documented knowledge remains at the discretion of the training institution/organization.

The Act on VET, effective from 1 January 2020, regulates the recognition of previous studies and practical experiences. ‘As defined in the professional program of the vocational training institution, the previous studies, acquired knowledge and experience of the student or the person participating in the training shall be recognised in the fulfilment of the requirements of the same content prescribed for the given vocational education or vocational training. Based on recognition, the student or the person participating in the training can fulfil the study requirements in a shorter time’

As stated in the implementing regulation, the head of the training institution “decides on the exemption of the student or the person participating in the training from attending the activity, on the exemption from certain subjects and their assessments, and on the recognition of prior knowledge or practice”. Students also have the right to request their exemption from participation, or the recognition of their prior studies.

By defining the legislative background and the guidelines of VET 4.0 strategy, a significant change is expected.  A specific guideline in the strategy is that a formally verifiable qualification must be recognised during the training and also during the final examination. Prior professional knowledge acquired in practice in a similar field of work must be recognised during the training, but at the same time the opportunity to take an examination based on their prior knowledge in accordance with the given form of adult education must be provided to applicants.

The Act on Public Education states that studies commenced, however, not finished in a foreign country may be continued in the Hungarian public education system. The head of the school shall decide on the recognition of them. The practice of this is to classify students based on the foreign curriculum and certificate; or to conduct the supplementary examination. In public education, it is about ensuring interoperability of formal systems, there is no mention of possible validation of non school-based prior knowledge or practice.

The law does not regulate the recognition and validation of competences acquired in non-formal and informal learning in case of higher education. In the Act on Higher Education, adopted in 2005, the possibility of taking work experience into account (as credits or as the performance of an academic requirement) explicitly and permissively appeared for the first time, which was also transferred to the Act of 2011 on Higher Education. An important element is that it limits the maximum amount of credit that can be accredited, one third of all credits shall be obtained at the HE institution issuing the degree. No decree or enforcement has been prepared for the referenced point of the law, thus universities can formulate the details in their own regulation system.

An important question for adults is what competences they need for their planned career, what support the education and training system provides for this and how they can achieve their new learning path as flexibly, cost-effectively and time-saving as possible. Improving validation, assessing and recognizing prior knowledge is the fundamental interest of all education and training actors.