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Regional Committee Meeting to highlight need for mutual recognition of foreign qualifications


On 21-23 May, country representatives and education experts from Asia-Pacific and beyond will gather in Bangkok, Thailand for the 12th Session of the Regional Committee on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific. The meeting will highlight the importance of increased regional cooperation in ensuring that the region is able to effectively manage the booming number of students who choose to study regionally. 

The Meeting, cohosted by UNESCO Bangkok, the Korean Council of University Education, and the Australian government’s department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, will promote the Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education (the AP Convention) as the fundamental tool for strengthening the region’s capacity to respond to the changing field scenario of higher education, which is becoming more dynamic, diverse, interconnected and complex. The AP Convention, which promotes the mutual recognition of qualifications between the countries that ratify it, will help countries reap the benefits of students’ mobility and ensure quality provision of cross-border higher education in the region.

The AP Convention needs to be ratified by at least five member states to enter into force. If ratified, it requires member states to implement transparent, coherent and reliable tools and procedures through which qualifications from different foreign institutions can be assessed. This includes, for example, national information centres that can share information on academic qualifications so that comparisons can be made between the regulations for the qualification in different countries. Where no substantial differences can be found, the AP Convention stipulates that recognition should be given.

The 12th Session will be held in conjunction with a Regional Workshop on the Recognition of Foreign Qualifications. At the workshop, member countries will be able to discuss the process and challenges in implementing the AP Convention and share innovative policies and best practices. Participants will also review a draft Toolkit – commissioned by the Committee in 2012 – that is intended to shed light on the steps that must be taken to successfully comply with the AP Convention. It will, for example, list criteria and procedure to assess foreign qualifications.

The Convention, which was amended in 2011 to reflect the significant changes in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific, will replace the 1983 Regional Convention of Studies, Diplomas, and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific. It is one of six Regional Conventions that have been developed by UNESCO to promote and facilitate academic mobility.

You can learn more about the Asia Pacific Convention here.

Draft Concept Note and Tentative Agenda (pdf, 190kb)