Paul Valéry on Diplomas and the Baccalaureate

Excerpt from Le bilan de l’intelligence (1935)

I never hesitate to declare that the diploma is the mortal enemy of culture. The more important diplomas have become in life (and this importance has only increased because of economic circumstances), the lower the performance of education has been. The more control was exercised and extended, the worse the results became.

Bad for its effects on the public mind and on the mind itself. Bad because it creates hopes, illusions of acquired rights. Bad by all the tricks and subterfuges it suggests; the recommendations, the strategic preparations, and, in short, the use of all expedients to cross the dreaded threshold. This, it must be confessed, is a strange and detestable initiation of intellectual and civic life.

Moreover, if I rely on experience alone and if I look at the effects of control in general, I find that control, in all matters, results in vitiating the action, in perverting it… I have already told you: as soon as an action is subjected to control, the deep purpose of the one who acts is no longer the action itself, but designing the forecast of the control, the defeat of the means of control. The control of studies is just a special instance and a striking demonstration of this very general observation. (more…)

Trust (recognition) can heal!

A teenager had spent many months in a young peoples psychiatric hospital. When he was about to leave a therapist asked him what was the most significant thing which helped him in his recovery. He responded that it was the moment when in and art group the therapist asked him […]

Making Informal Recognition Visible and Actionable (MIRVA)

24th October 2017 in Bologna will be launched a 3 years project sponsored by the European Commission: Making Informal Recognition Visible and Actionable (MIRVA).

Beyond the project’s current partnership, we are looking for Associate Partners interested in exploring with us how to make informal recognition visible and actionable.

MIRVA will be an active participant in the 15th ePIC conference where we will be starting to work on the definition of an Open Recognition Framework.

Project Summary


Recognising non-formal and informal learning is increasingly seen as a way of improving lifelong and lifewide learning, employability and citizenship. More European countries are emphasising the importance of making visible and valuing learning that takes place outside formal education and training institutions, for example at work, in leisure and social time activities and at home. Open Badges, the open standard for the recognition of learning achievements has proved the power of a simple, affordable, resilient and trustworthy technology to create an ecosystem supporting the recognition of informal learning working across countries, educational sectors, work, social environments and technologies. Yet, the current achievements have been limited to the ‘formal recognition of informal learning’; the opportunities offered by Open Badges to support the ‘informal recognition of informal learning’ have yet to be explored.

Such is the objective of MIRVA: Making Informal Recognition Visible and Actionable.

With the release of the new Open Badges 2.0 specification providing a support for ‘Open Endorsement’, the Open Badge initiative is entering into a new phase: we now have with ‘Open Endorsement’ a unique opportunity for exploring the potential of ‘informal recognition of informal learning’. As Open Badges can now be ‘endorsed’ by any person or institution to accredit informally their value and currency, we now have the potential to move back the centre of gravity of recognition towards the informal space’ providing individuals with greater agency in a recognition process currently dominated by institutions of formal education. Open Badges and Open Endorsements offers the possibility to create a continuum between formal and informal recognition.