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Tools: Africa Region Convention

Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in the African States

Adopted at Arusha, 5 December 1981 (UN Treaty Series No. 21522)

Text (HTML): English
Text (PDF): Arabic,English,French, Spanish,
List of Ratifying Member States
Secretariat of the Regional Committee

National Information Centres of Ratifying States


Outline of Convention
Preamble
I. Definitions
II. Aims
III. Undertakings for immediate application
IV. Machinery for implementation documentation
V. Documentation
VI. Co-operation with international organizations
VII. Institutions of higher education under the authority of a contracting State but situated outside it's territory
VIII. Ratification and accession and entry into force
   

Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates Diplomas, Degrees and other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in the African States

(Adopted at Arusha on 5 December 1981)

PREAMBLE

The African States, Parties to the present Convention,

Considering the close bonds of solidarity that history and geography have forged between them,

Reaffirming, in accordance with the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, their common resolve to strengthen understanding and co-operation among the African peoples in order to meet their aspirations towards greater brotherhood and increased solidarity in a larger unity transcending ethnic and national diversity,

Noting that the fulfilment of these aspirations, long thwarted by colonial domination and the consequent division of the African continent, calls for intensive co-operation among the African States, which alone is capable of safeguarding their hard-won independence and sovereignty, of preserving and strengthening the cultural identity and diversity of their peoples, of respecting the specific character of their educational systems, of increasing and improving their educational facilities and curricula, and of ensuring effective use in the best interests of the continent as a whole both of the training resources available in their respective territories and of the intellectuals, administrators, technologists, technicians and other high-level personnel which have been trained,

Desirous in particular of strengthening and increasing their co-operation in matters relating to education and the use of human resources with the aim, in particular, of encouraging the advancement of knowledge, of achieving a constant and gradual improvement in the quality of higher education and of promoting economic, social and cultural development in each of the African countries and in the continent as a whole,

Convinced that, as part of this co-operation, the recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other academic qualifications in higher education, which would ensure the greater mobility of students and persons engaged in an occupation throughout the African continent, is one of the conditions necessary for accelerating the development of the region, which implies that increasing numbers of scientists, technologists, technicians and specialists will be trained and their services fully utilized,

Convinced that, precisely on account of the diversity and complexity of programmes of study, the system of' equivalence of diplomas hitherto in use does not suffice to allow the best possible use to be made of their educational facilities, and that it is now becoming essential to adopt the concept of recognition of stages of training, taking into account not only the diplomas and degrees obtained but also the courses of study followed and the knowledge and experience acquired,

Desirous of taking the greatest possible account in their future collaboration of the requirements of development and of the need to encourage the democratization of education and the promotion of lifelong education, while at the same time ensuring the continuous improvement of the quality of instruction,

Resolved to organize and strengthen their co-operation in the field of recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other academic qualifications by means of a convention which would be the starting-point for concerted dynamic action carried out, in particular, through national, bilateral, subregional and regional bodies already in existence or set up for that purpose,

Expressing the hope that this Convention will be a step towards more wide-ranging action leading to an international convention between all the Member States of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,

HAVE AGREED as follows:

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I. DEFINITIONS
Article 1
Definition, for the purposes of this convention of the following terms: 'Recognition' of a foreign certificate, diploma, degree or other academic qualifications; "secondary education"; "higher education"; "partial studies"; and "stage of training".

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II. AIMS
Article 2
1. The Contracting States intend, through joint action concerning the recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees or other academic qualifications, to contribute to: (a) strengthening African unity and solidarity; (b) removing the constraints based on different past colonial experience which cut across the region's traditional historical and cultural links; and (c) promoting and strengthening the cultural identity of Africa and of its various countries.

2. The Contracting States solemnly declare their firm resolve to co-operate closely with a view to enabling the educational resources available to them to be used as effectively as possible in the interests of the Contracting Sates; constantly reviewing and harmonizing curricula and planning of higher education in the Contracting States; promote the widest and most effective use of human resources so as to contribute to the acceleration of the development of the countries concerned, while at the same time avoiding the "brain drain"; and promote interregional co-operation in the matter of the recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other academic qualifications.

3. The Contracting States agree to take all necessary steps at the national, bilateral and multilateral levels with a view to the progressive attainment of the goals defined in the present Article.

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III
. UNDERTAKINGS FOR IMMEDIATE APPLICATION
Article 3
The Contracting States recognize, under the same conditions as those of local academic qualifications, secondary-school leaving certificates issued in the other Contracting States, the possession of which qualifies the holders for admission to the subsequent stages of training in higher educational institutions situated in the territories of those Contracting States with certain provisions.

Article 4
The Contracting States agree to take all necessary steps at the national level to: Recognize academic qualifications obtained in a higher educational institution situated in the territory of another Contracting State where applicable; and define, the procedure applicable to the recognition, for the purpose of the pursuit of studies, of the partial studies pursued in higher educational institutions situated in the other Contracting States.

Article 5
The Contracting States agree to take the necessary steps to ensure that certificates, diplomas, degrees and other academic qualifications issued by the competent authorities of the other Contracting States are effectively recognized so far as possible for the purpose of practising a profession within the meaning of Article 1

Article 6
1. Any person of whatever nationality or political or legal status, who has followed such studies and obtained such certificates, diplomas, degrees or other academic qualifications shall be entitled to benefit from the provisions of Articles 3, 4 and 5.

2. Any national of a Contracting State who has obtained in the territory of a non-Contracting State one or more certificates, diplomas, degrees or other qualifications similar to those defined in Articles 3, 4 and 5 may avail himself of those provisions which are applicable, on condition that his certificates, diplomas, degrees or qualifications have been recognized in his home country and in the country in which he wishes to continue his studies, without prejudice to the provisions of Article 20 of this Convention.

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IV. MACHINERY FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Article 7
The Contracting States shall endeavour to attain the goals defined in Article 2 and shall ensure that the undertakings set forth in Articles 3, 4 and 5 above are put into effect by means of:
(a) national bodies;
(b) the regional committee defined in Article 9 below;
(c) bilateral or subregional bodies.

Article 8
1. As the attainment of the goals and the execution defined in this Convention will require, at the national level, close co-operation and co-ordination of the efforts of a variety of national authorities, The State parties entrust the study of the problems involved in the application of this Convention to appropriate national bodies which will be empowered to propose appropriate solutions.

Article 9
l. A regional committee composed of representatives of all the Contracting States is hereby set up and its secretariat entrusted to the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The function of the regional committee shall be to promote the application of this Convention

Article 10
1. The regional committee shall elect its chairman and adopt its Rules of Procedure. It shall meet in ordinary session every two years The secretariat of the regional committee shall prepare the agenda for the meetings of the committee, in accordance with the instructions it receives from the committee and the provisions of the Rules of Procedure. It shall help national bodies to obtain the information needed by them in their activities.

Article 11
1. The Contracting States may entrust existing bilateral or subregional bodies or bodies set up for the purpose with the task of studying the problems involved at the bilateral or regional levels in the application of this Convention and contributing to their solution.The regional committee may likewise entrust appropriate African bodies with the task of studying and seeking solutions to the difficulties that present differences between the education systems and evaluation methods in use in the various subregions of the African continent entail for the harmonious and widespread application of the Convention.

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V. DOCUMENTATION
Article 12
1. The Contracting States shall periodically engage in wide exchanges of information and documentation pertaining to studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other qualifications in higher education.

2. They shall endeavour to promote the development of methods and machinery for collecting, processing, classifying and disseminating all the necessary information pertaining to the recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other qualifications in higher education, taking into account existing methods and machinery as well as information collected by national, regional and international bodies, in particular the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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VI. CO-OPERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Article 13
The regional committee shall make all the appropriate arrangements for associating the competent international governmental and non-governmental organizations with its efforts to ensure that this Convention is applied as fully as possible.

VII. INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF A CONTRACTING STATE BUT SITUATED OUTSIDE ITS TERRITORY
Article 14
The provisions of this Convention apply to studies pursued at, and to certificates, diplomas, degrees and other qualifications obtained from, any institution of higher education under the authority of a Contracting State, even when this institution is situated outside its territory, or is under the joint authority of more than one Contracting State.

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VIII. RATIFICATION, ACCESSION AND ENTRY INTO FORCE
Article 15
This Convention shall be open for signature and ratification by the African States which have been invited to take part in the diplomatic conference entrusted with the adoption of this Convention.

Article 16
1. Other States which are members of the United Nations, of one of the Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or which are Parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice may be authorized to accede to this Convention.

2. Any request to this effect shall be communicated to the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization who shall transmit it to the Contracting States at least three months before the meeting of the ad hoc committee referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article.

3. The Contracting States shall meet as an ad hoc committee comprising one representative for each Contracting State, with an express mandate from his government to consider such a request. In such cases, the decision of the committee shall require a two-thirds majority of the Contracting States.

4. This procedure shall apply only when the Convention has been ratified by at least fifteen of the States referred to in Article 15.

Article 17
Ratification of this Convention or accession to it shall be effected by depositing an instrument of ratification or accession with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Article 18
This Convention shall come into effect one month after the second instrument of ratification has been deposited, but solely with respect to the States which have deposited their instruments of ratification. For every other State which shall subsequently deposit its instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall come into effect one month thereafter.

Article 19
1. The present Convention may be amended in accordance with the principles and procedures set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

2. The Contracting States shall have the right to denounce this Convention.

3. The denunciation shall be signified by an instrument in writing deposited with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

4. The denunciation shall take effect 12 months after the instrument of denunciation has been received. It shall have no retroactive effects, nor shall it affect the recognition of studies, certificates, diplomas, degrees and other qualifications, which has taken place in accordance with the provisions of the Convention when the State denouncing the Convention was still bound thereby. Such recognition shall continue to have its full effect after the denunciation has become effective.

Article 20
This Convention shall not affect in any way the treaties and conventions already in force between the Contracting States or the national legislation adopted by them in so far as such treaties, conventions and legislation offer greater advantages than those provided for in the Convention.

Article 21
The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization shall inform the Contracting States and the other States mentioned in Articles 15 and 16 and also the United Nations of the deposit of all the instruments of ratification or accession referred to in Article 17 and the denunciations provided for in Article 19 of this Convention.

Article 22
In conformity with Article 102 of the United Nations Charter, this Convention shall be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations at the request of the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

IN FAITH WHEREOF the undersigned representatives, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Convention.

Done at Arusha, this fifth day of December 1981, in the Arabic, English, French and Spanish languages, the four texts being equally authoritative, in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. A certified copy shall be sent to all the States referred to in Articles 15 and 16 and to the United Nations.

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