Attitudes towards the inclusion of validation processes of previous learning to obtain a degree in the Bolivian university system

Imagotipo CRIEDO
Any: 2021

In Bolivia, the prior learning validation processes are still limited to the certification of labor competencies from non-formal and informal apprenticeships. However, linking this recognition with its inclusion in training itineraries that establish a functional and long-term relationship has not been proposed between the world of work and the academic world.

This research aims to identify the attitudes that actors in the academic world have regarding this possibility, specifically concerning undergraduate training itineraries in the three universities that belong to the Bolivian University System in La Paz City and the inclusion of people with empirical training in the degrees they offer.

Starting from the reality of higher education today, its characteristics and challenges in the world, in Latin America and Bolivia, it is possible to understand concepts such as lifelong learning as a fundamental right, the recognition of this learning, and the reality of several leading countries in the world on this issue, landing in the Bolivian context. Furthermore, the construct of attitudes is also addressed from the Theory of Planned Action of Ajzen and Fishbein, which has made it possible to identify the factors that should be worked on in the future to put Bolivia in tune with many other countries that have already introduced the possibility of recognizing, evaluating, and accrediting non-formal and informal learning. Additionally, such introduction links them to academic degrees, ensuring that these processes are developed with transparency and quality so that partial or total certifications are equivalent to those achieved through formal education processes.

The field study identifies a methodological proposal in terms of characteristics of the research and the research participants: university educational authorities as key informants, department directors, and professors of the selected programs whose academic degrees have been structured based on an approach of competency-based training. The instruments used are also considered: surveys, interviews, direct estimation questionnaire and triangulation matrices based on the categories of analysis and defined procedures. This has led to the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data presented, closing with the triangulation of the information collected.

The results show a significant ignorance of the validation processes of prior learning on the part of the majority of the participants. However, several programs have also been observed with an opening to introduce them as alternative forms of admission and consideration of non-traditional populations. The most relevant differences are observed in some technical and social and human sciences programs, especially in disciplines related to education and communication. It is concluded that accepting these processes could facilitate universities to open spaces to democratize higher education, recognizing the empirical experience of non-formal and informal learning.

Similarly, a proposal is presented to include the processes of Validation of Prior Learning in undergraduate degrees, starting from the defined international guidelines. These guidelines include all the curricular and institutional analysis before opening the possibility of this inclusion to prepare all the regulations, procedures, actors, and protocols necessary for this process. Thus, this process should guarantee transparency and quality, ensuring its validity, facilitating the inclusion of non-traditional populations in tertiary training, favoring personal development, democratizing higher education, and professionalizing human resources at even higher levels.

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