ENIC-NARIC holds virtual meeting on foreign credentials

October 19, 2020
  • AACRAO News
  • International

Deputy Director Melanie Gottlieb represented AACRAO among the more than 150 participants from 46 countries who met online for part two of the 27th ENIC-NARIC Networks annual joint meeting on the 6 October 2020. Originally planned to be held in Lisbon in June, the meeting was reimagined as a two-part virtual meeting. (Part one of the meeting was held in July, mainly focusing on operational updates related to the pandemic.)

While not an official member of ENIC-NARIC, AACRAO is invited to participate based on the authority of the AACRAO EDGE as the leading consensus opinion for the recognition of foreign credentials in the U.S.  

Part two of the meeting was focused on topics pertaining to recognition of foreign credentials -- both traditional and new flexible micro-credentials -- for the more than 5 million globally mobile learners worldwide. Despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, it is expected that academic mobility will continue to be a growing force globally.  The international academic communities are increasingly coming together to create the legal and philosophical frameworks that will make it easier for learners to share their credentials and have them recognized by other countries. 

One focus was the discussion of the Global Convention on Recognition. Adopted in November 2019 by the 40th session of UNESCO General Conference, the Global Convention on Recognition is the first United Nations treaty on higher education with a global scope. The Convention is designed to facilitate international academic mobility and promote the right of individuals to have their higher education qualifications evaluated through fair, transparent and non-discriminatory mechanisms. With more than five million students globally mobile, UNESCO seeks to encourage student and knowledge exchange across borders fairly and transparently.  

Leticia Sakai from UNESCO's Higher Education sector presented on the developments which followed the adoption of the Global Recognition Convention.  Her presentation outlined the five facets of the ratification and implementation campaign: 

1. Raising Awareness

2. Advocacy

3. Communication

4. Technical Assistance

5. Events

To date, Norway has ratified the convention, with several countries in the Latin American and Carribean regions likely next candidates. Once twenty countries have ratified the convention, it will be deemed operation. 

Despite the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO in 2018, it remains important for AACRAO to be engaged in the work of the global organization, which has impact on the international student marketplace as a whole.  As a part of the Global Recognition signature initiative, AACRAO held a symposium in Fall of 2019 to discuss the implications of the convention for the US, and will release a report and an assessment tool to guide US institutions towards alignment with the articles of the convention next month. 

Also of note for AACRAO members was a presentation by the DigiRec consortium, which is composed of the President of the ENIC Bureau, the President of the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee, EMREX, the President of the Groningen Declaration Network, and  representatives from ENIC Canada, NARIC France, NARIC Italy, NARIC Poland and NARIC Sweden and coordinated by NARIC Netherlands. The presentation focused on the outcomes of the latest white paper on Digital Student Data and Recognition