Encouraging trust among HE systems with the adoption of the Global Convention on Recognition of Qualifications

The new Global Convention on Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education was adopted on 25 November 2019 by UNESCO’s Member States. The new convention establishes universal principles for recognition of studies and degrees in order to improve mobility for the more than 220 million students enrolled in higher education around the globe. It builds on quality assurance mechanisms and sharing of information about higher education institutions and systems, study programmes and degrees.

Although it still does not impose automatic recognition of foreign qualifications, the Global Convention will simplify recognition processes for students in different ways. Firstly, students will qualify for higher education studies in another country, unless access requirements are substantially different than in the country he/she studied before. Secondly, recognition authorities will now look for similarities between foreign and national qualifications rather than for differences. Thirdly, should recognition not be granted, it is recognition authorities’ responsibility to prove why qualifications should not be recognised.

In addition, the Global Convention presents new possibilities for the recognition of prior learning, partial studies, cross-border education and non-traditional learning modes (e.g. online or blended learning) and is promoting fair assessment of undocumented qualifications held by refugees (cf. UNESCO Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants).

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