A digital world for all: Making skills mobile

The 5th annual Groningen Declaration Network (GDN) Meeting, "A Digital World for All: Making Skills Mobile," was held in May 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. The invitation-only meeting was hosted by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in close cooperation with the GDN’s main conveners DUO, AACRAO and the National Student Clearinghouse. 

Invited delegates met at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, located at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, in the lush foothills of Cape Town's landmark Table Mountain.

AACRAO Associate Executive Director Janie Barnett gave welcoming remarks.

"The benefits of the global electronic exchange of student data and records are many," Barnett said. "For schools that enroll large numbers of international students, the ability to process their documentation electronically has huge potential benefits.  And it is student-centered."

AACRAO signed on to the Groningen Declaration at its Annual Meeting in San Francisco in April 2013, and is a partner in the endeavor in order to keep members apprised of new developments in the global exchange of student records and to contribute to the development of best practices in electronic exchange and international student mobility.  

According to the Executive Summary of the conference, key themes addressed included:

  • Higher education is increasingly global. Therefore, systems, processes, and policies need to be improved to support this trend of increasing student mobility. 
  • Groningen is not merely a declaration; it is a movement.The idea that this is a movement can be seen in the growth and progress that has been made over the past five years. 
  • To further advance this movement, greater formality is required. A task force of the Groningen Declaration Network is considering formalizing Groningen as a legal entity, which would provide greater ability to secure funding and add staff.
  • A major area of focus: verification. Speakers described how processes and technologies need to ensure privacy and security while ensuring that information is trusted and verified. 
  • Multiple pilots show the progress being made across the globe. A showcasing of pilots revealed how digital technologies are being leveraged to facilitate international student mobility. 
  • Participants are thinking broadly about digital electronic academic records. In addition to facilitating international student mobility in higher education, presenters discussed the broader possibilities of a secure, scalable system for storing and transferring verified academic information beyond higher education, such as for immigrants and refugees and for employers.

Download the full executive summary below.

Click here to download the document