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The Global Convention on Higher Education enters into force: A new era for students worldwide begins

March 20, 2023

Original Article:

Are you ready for a new era of higher education? The Global Convention on Higher Education is officially in force as of 5 March 2023, following the 20th ratification on 5 December 2022. The world's first worldwide treaty on higher education is now a reality, and it's set to revolutionize the way we approach mobility and access in higher education.

But what exactly does this mean for students, educators, and higher education institutions around the world? The Convention is not just some lofty ideal, but a solid structure for strengthening student mobility and inter-university cooperation that will benefit millions of students and holders of higher education qualifications worldwide. It tackles all the challenges that new forms of provision, such as distance learning and other forms of cross-border higher education, represent for regulators and quality assurance. The Convention is a game-changer that will help democratize access to higher education and favor cooperation over competition, diversity over uniformity and flexible learning pathways over traditionally structured ones.

To make this happen, countries must put in place procedures to comply with the Convention's principles and obligations, establishing a national information center to provide accurate and up-to-date information about their higher education system. If a foreign degree is not recognized, the Global Convention puts the burden of proof on recognition authorities and gives applicants the right to appeal recognition decisions.

And the best part? The entry into force of the Global Convention is just the beginning. By extending the principles of UNESCO's five regional higher education conventions to interregional mobility, the Global Convention broadens international recognition and will benefit students looking for study opportunities outside their home region, leveling the playing field and increasing access to quality higher education. It also pays special attention to refugees who often lack documentation of their higher education qualifications.

The entry into force of the Global Convention is a transformative event for higher education globally, taking us one step closer to achieving SDG 4.3 on quality tertiary education. It's a powerful tool for creating a more equitable, accessible, and sustainable future for all. It's a call to action for educators, policymakers, and students to come together and build a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed.



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