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Access to trustworthy information identified as key to improved student mobility

© UNESCO/H.Schmid

10.06.2013

Last month (21-23 May) a three-day, high-level meeting and workshop on the recognition of foreign qualifications wrapped up in Bangkok with participants pledging greater commitment to information sharing on higher education systems to support student mobility.

The 12th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education and the subsequent Workshop on the Recognition of Foreign Qualifications brought together representatives from 25 Member States as well as resource persons from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The meeting aimed to assist Member States in moving forward in the ratification process of the Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education. The Convention is seen as a crucial tool in facilitating cross-border student mobility and improving the quality and transparency of higher education in the region.

At the meeting, participants got a chance to discuss and learn more about National Information Centres (NICs), which are central to the successful implementation of the Convention. NICs can take many forms, but their fundamental role is to provide students and stakeholders with up-to-date, accurate and trustworthy information on the country’s higher education systems and programmes, recognition processes and qualifications frameworks.

Some countries in the region have already established NICs, but many are still in the process of doing so and there is a lack of trustworthy and detailed information on other countries’ institutions, programs, degree content, etc., which is making qualifications assessment very difficult. This has severe implications for students and employers alike. Participants therefore agreed to make the establishment of NICs the next priority and endorsed the Secretariat of the Regional Committee to establish a Working Group to develop a Regional Guideline on the establishment and maintenance of a NIC. Participants also affirmed their commitment to join the UNESCO Portal to Recognised Higher Education Systems, which lists accredited universities and programs, as soon as possible.

The meeting included sessions in which participants presented Country Reports on recognition matters, and sessions in which resource persons and experts shared information on Diploma Supplement, National Qualifications Framework and the concept of ‘Substantial Difference’.

Participants also reviewed and approved the draft Toolkit for the Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, which was commissioned at the 11th Regional Committee Meeting, held in Seoul, Korea in 2012. The final Toolkit will soon be made available to policy makers and practitioners in the region.

The next Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee is expected to take place in 2014.

You can access Country Reports and other presentations from the meetings here.