The French Loi de Modernisation Sociale (Law of Social Modernization) of 17 January 2002 (and decree number 2002-590 dated 24 April, 2002) specifically authorized the granting of degrees based entirely on an assessment of the candidate’s work experience, through the process of VAE (validation des acquis de l’expérience).
The VAE has since been incorporated into the French Code of Education (Legislative Part, Third Part, Book VI, Title I, Chapter III, Section 2, Art. L613-3 to L613-6.) It is important to note that Art L613-4 states: “The validation produces the same effects as the knowledge or aptitude testing process that it replaces.” Moreover, the academic titles granted through VAE are identical to those gained by conventional study and any mention of VAE in those titles is considered discriminatory and is prohibited by law. All universities and other higher education institutions in France are legally required to apply the VAE if requested.
VAE has proved extremely popular in France. The candidate, who must have a minimum of three years of work experience, submits a portfolio of achievement which is then considered by a jury of professors, who meet either in person or electronically.
The wider French-speaking world has also embraced VAE. Those countries that are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie typically include educational institutions that operate according to the French education system. European-American University was initially established in a member state of the Francophonie, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and is currently registered as a private provider of higher education in France.
VAE is available from both state and private providers of education, and is now also often offered via distance learning, where in-person interviews are replaced by electronic processes. Where VAE is offered by private providers in France, the resulting awards are classified in the French system as certificats d’enseignement supérieur privés. These awards are distinct from titres ou grades universitaires (university titles or levels) which may only be awarded by French public, state universities, and in addition, French private providers are prohibited from using certain specific degree titles.
At European-American University, the VAE process is presently offered for all degrees conferred under the University’s various legal authorities from different countries (see Status for details). In practice, the degrees that are awarded by European-American University in all of its jurisdictions past and present may be validated through the VAE process. The VAE process is undertaken entirely via distance learning.
The University’s system of academic awards is adapted in each case to reflect the needs of the candidate. The majority of candidates prefer degree titles that are recognisable in the English-speaking world, giving them a greater international comprehension.
EAU degrees by VAE, like all EAU degrees, are covered by the UNESCO Conventions on the international recognition of credentials and may be designated as representing any postsecondary level of achievement and any degree title according to the University’s governing laws.
The degree certificate is accompanied by an explanatory Supplement in English according to guidelines developed by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES.
The University convenes a Jury of professors to examine each VAE assessment, which is composed of members of the University’s Fellowship and other academic experts as applicable.