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Palestine Joins Global Convention on Recognition of Education Credentials

/ 26 Apr 2022

Palestine Joins Global Convention on Recognition of Education Credentials

Palestine has joined a Unesco treaty that establishes principles for assessing academic credentials, the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education, the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research recently announced.

The convention, adopted by Unesco in 2019, aims to alleviate the obstacles facing students, teachers, researchers and job seekers in getting their prior learning experience recognized outside their countries of origin.

The agreement also seeks to facilitate academic mobility, improve the quality of higher education institutions, and enhance international cooperation in higher education, according to Unesco’s guidelines for implementing the convention.

In a statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education said Palestinian delegates had participated in the discussions and drafting of the provisions of the convention at Unesco headquarters in Paris.

Palestine’s ratification of the convention will benefit Palestinian higher education in several ways, the ministry said. The agreement strengthens international cooperation in higher education and research and improves the quality and outputs of this sector, it said.

The agreement will also facilitate the exchange of students, professors and researchers between Palestine and other countries, the ministry said.

Promoting Quality Assurance

The global convention “establishes the rights of individuals to have their foreign qualifications assessed in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner”.

One of the objectives of the agreement is to promote a culture of quality assurance in higher-education institutions and systems.

In a 2015 preliminary report on the need for a global convention, Unesco noted that student enrollments and the number of higher-educations were increasing around the world, putting pressure on institutions to give more attention to quality and quality assurance.

This, in turn, was promoting a new trend towards the internationalisation of quality assurance, and a proliferation of national and regional quality assurance frameworks.

“A comprehensive system of national and regional qualifications frameworks has the potential to further facilitate cross-border recognition”, it said.

Internationalisation as a Policy Goal

Governments increasingly are making the internationalisation of higher education a policy goal, the preliminary report said. States regard internationalisation as a means of improving quality and diversity of their education systems, as well as an aid in the exchange of educational resources with other countries.

Outward academic mobility may be the most common form of higher education internationalisation, but the term also applies to the growing interest in internationalising education standards at home, through curricular changes and increasing the presence of international lecturers students on campuses.

In this context, higher-education institutions increasingly are defining their missions in global rather than local or national terms, the report said.

Student Mobility

Outward academic mobility may be the most common form of higher education internationalisation, but the term also applies to the growing interest in internationalising education at home.

More than five million students are currently enrolled, either physically or virtually, in a higher-education institution outside of their home country, according to Unesco’s guidelines for implementing the convention. That number is expected to double within the next ten years.

The global convention “establishes the rights of individuals to have their foreign qualifications assessed in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner”, it says.

The convention also promotes equitable access to quality higher education for refugees and displaced persons. It calls on states to develop procedures for assessing fairly and efficiently whether refugees and displaced persons meet the eligibility requirements for access to higher education or employment opportunities, including in cases where they cannot provide documentary evidence of previous studies or qualifications earned.

The agreement also aims to build trust between the various national institutions and the recognition authorities, to promote a common understanding of fair and reasonable processes and procedures for recognition, and to build capacities in recognition processes as an enabling factor to improve the quality of higher education.

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Unesco believes the implementation of this agreement will enhance international cooperation in higher education and research, improve the quality of higher-education delivery methods, provide greater opportunities for cultural dialogue, and promote peace, in addition to supporting the sustainable development of knowledge communities.

The convention was formally adopted by Unesco in November 2019 and is now open to ratification by member states. It needs to be ratified by 20 member states before it can enter into force. Palestine’s accession puts it more than halfway toward that goal.

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Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام