» A global convention on higher education in the works
22.02.2017 - Education Sector

A global convention on higher education in the works

© UNESCO/Pouya Sadeghvaziri

Last week, 13-15 February 2017, the Drafting Committee of the future Global Convention on Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications met for the third time at UNESCO-Headquarters in Paris to discuss the final sections that will compose the draft text of the Convention.

With the mission of preparing a preliminary draft, the Drafting Committee was established by UNESCO in cooperation with Member States. Taking into account a geographical and gender balance, the Drafting Committee´s Members were appointed for their outstanding experience and background on the recognition of higher education qualifications and related issues.

Less than one year after the initiation of their work (May 2016), the Drafting Committee is already approaching the finalization of the preliminary text to be submitted for discussion at the 202nd session of the Executive Board and the 39th General Conference in November 2017.

The future Global Convention on Recognition aims to create a framework for recognition of higher education qualifications at the global level. It is a formal acknowledgement by a competent authority of a country regarding the value of a foreign education qualification or a validated training.

The future Convention will not only facilitate the inter-regional mobility of students, teachers and researchers, but also respond to the current context of internationalization and new trends of higher education. The globally academic mobility is sharply on the increase with the overall population of mobile students doubling since 2002. This significant growth in mobile tertiary students calls for a global regulatory framework for the recognition of higher education qualifications.

“The need of increasingly interconnected societies and economies is of paramount importance,” said Ms Natasha Sawh and Mr Stig Arne Skjerven, Members of the Drafting Committee. “We believe that one important way to preserve this cultural diversity is to recognize the learning that occurs in higher education systems around the world. Fair recognition allows students to continue their studies or find meaningful work that benefit from their talents, knowledge, and skills.” (See Wide Angle)

Built on the Regional Revised Conventions on Recognition (Lisbon Convention, Tokyo Convention and Addis Convention), the future Convention also seeks to promote inclusive and equitable access to higher education in line with principles agreed by Member States in the 2015 Incheon Declaration. After all, the issue of recognition of higher education qualifications addresses to individuals.

The Drafting Committee will continue with its work in the upcoming months in order to accommodate some crucial points in the text before the conclusion of the preliminary draft during its foreseen fourth meeting this spring.

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