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Lee also reported that over the last 24 years, there have been some significant changes in other UNESCO Conventions on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications. To date, there are six conventions on the recognition of higher education studies and qualifications adopted under the aegis of UNESCO, from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been reviewed recently. Six normative instruments to standardize mutual recognition of higher education studies and degrees were adopted, starting with the Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (June 1975). This was followed over the next ten years by five similar conventions covering all regions of the world: the International Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab and European states bordering on the Mediterranean (the Mediterranean Convention) (1976), the Arab States (1978), Europe (1979), Africa (1981), and the Asia and the Pacific (1983).

At present, the UNESCO Recognition Conventions represent unique legal frameworks that have been ratified by 116 Member States of UNESCO. These Conventions oblige ratifying parties to endorse and promote recognition of qualifications in higher education. In this context, the six regional conventions are put forward as educational agreements that could provide international standards for recognition of qualifications and quality assurance, based on the needs and principles put forward by the ratifying states. The UNESCO offices in Bangkok, Beirut, Bucharest, Caracas, Dakar, Paris and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg oversee the implementation of the conventions through regional intergovernmental committees that meet every two years to review progress made and obstacles encountered.

Dr. Young Shik Kim, Secretary General of the Korean Council for University Education (KCUE) and Chairperson of the Regional Bureau, gave the keynote address, “Higher Education Era without Boundaries and Urgent ProblemsAdmitting Diplomas.” He noted that the UNESCO regional conventions of recognition of higher education qualifications have their roots in early 1960’s. He informed the body that the European regional convention has been working well. The Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific has only 20 countries that have gone through the ratification process. He suggested that the meeting addresses two important topics: 1) borderless education and 2) the value of universities, which refers to quality assurance. He invited participants to take a closer look at the standards and guidelines on quality assurance identified in the Bologna Declaration, which sets out plans for a European Higher Education Area, as well as those in other main documents. These, he advised, would be helpful to all Member States in their desire to promote quality education in an increasingly borderless environment. He closed by reiterating the value of international cooperation in promoting recognition of studies and degrees in higher education.


Ninth Session of the Regional Committee

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