Higher Education
supporting Refugees
in Europe

C.A.P. – Centre for lifelong learning at University of Bari (IT)

The Centre for lifelong learning – C.A.P. – is a service of the University of Bari to promote lifelong learning and certification and accreditation of skills acquired in formal and informal contexts. It is open to all EU and non-EU citizens and its mission is the enhancement of the “cultural capital”, as a fundamental and strategic asset for humanity.

Main goals:

the recognition and certification of soft skills; the recognition of prior learning “on the job” and their translation into professional qualifications and/or credits towards a university course; the promotion of equivalence or recognition of credits. It also offers a service for the validation of the professional, formal and informal skills acquired through past work experiences, a free service of vocational guidance and financial support for refugee students and operates through networking with institutional and university representatives involved in the issues in question.

C.A.P. - Centre for lifelong learning at University of Bari Photo

Presentation of the research programme Work For You. © University of Bari

C.A.P. - Centre for lifelong learning at University of Bari Photo

Students using the services of C.A.P. © University of Bari

Through this, the C.A.P. enhances lifelong learning, including skills developed both during structured and legally recognised educational, learning and training activities (prior learning) or through informal and often unintentional learning experiences (experiential learning). Specifically, the certification of skills acquired in non-formal and informal learning contexts gives everyone the opportunity to provide proof of the skills acquired, regardless of the context where they were developed. This highlights the need for the full implementation of a model for the recognition of skills which is seen as a strategic solution to cope with the ever changing market demands but also a good practice for the construction of a European Area of lifelong learning.

There are many potential beneficiaries of the proposed services: not only refugees students and researchers but also the University of Bari and the society in general: the recognition and enhancement of the skills acquired in different contexts, constitute an important point of reference for social integration policies and a bridge between education/training systems and the labour market.

“UNIBA More inclusive with the C.A.P. – Antonio Felice URICCHI, Rector of University of Bari.” (Video in Italian language) © University of Bari
The initiative was launched in January 2016. In addition to the validation, recognition and guidance work of C.A.P. which has reached several hundred third country nationals, 10 refugee students are now enrolled at the University of Bari, and won a grant funded by the Conference of the Italian University Deans (CRUI), by the Italian Ministry for Inner Affairs, in collaboration with the Regional Agency for the Right to Study (ANDISU).
Strategy & Mission
The C.A.P. was established in 2015 to promote processes for permanent learning, certification and validation of the skills acquired both in formal and informal settings. Since February 2016 the C.A.P. addresses exclusively people coming from countries in war, who have received political asylum, subsidiary or humanitarian protection and asking for asylum.

The service of “finalised acknowledgement” of educational credits for the C.A.P. users was ratified by the academic senate of the University of Bari on 24 January 2017.
Practice tested
The C.A.P. is the agency of the University of Bari that has been developed within the research programme “Work for you” funded by the European Fund for the Integration of foreign citizens (2007-2013). This programme gave 400 third country nationals the opportunity to follow an individual and group career counselling path resulting in a “skills folder”, useful for active job search. The service has been developed at the Department of Education, Psychology and Communication of University of Bari.

Today, the service is well established and open to both EU and non-EU citizens, students and adults who would like to start a path of validation and certification of their skills and knowledge. For political refugees, the C.A.P. grants the service even in absence of original evidences and qualifications.
The C.A.P. collaborates with the CRUI, with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and with the ANDISU. This collaboration led to the establishment of 10 grants for refugees and asylum seekers, who are now enrolled at the University of Bari in the academic year 2016-2017.

Moreover, the C.A.P. collaborates with the network of CIMEA – Centre for Information on Mobility and Academic Equivalences, with the NARIC - National Academic Recognition Information Centres and the MERIC -Mediterranean Recognition Information Centres- regarding the recognition procedures of formal learning qualifications.

The C.A.P. collaborates with the Apulia Region as a career counselling service in charge of skills certification according to the national and regional framework of validation and certification of skills and professional expertise.

The C.A.P. participates in the research programme "Building the evidence base on the migrant and refugee crisis in the European Union", promoted by the World Bank Group. The project has engaged four foreign students, who are enrolled at the University of Bari in the Master programme “Immigration, rights and inclusion practices”.