Working Towards Global Education Inclusivity

June 27, 2023
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • International
Group of international professionals sitting around a table.

By Julia Funaki, AACRAO International Director

From June 11-14, the ENIC-NARIC Joint Meeting took place in Stockholm, Sweden. In this edition of Connect, we give the background of ENIC-NARIC and an overview of their functions and objectives. Keep an eye out for our follow-up article in the next issue of Connect where we will hear from meeting attendees about their experience in Sweden.

What is ENIC-NARIC? 

The ENIC-NARIC Network is a collaboration of national information centers on academic recognition. ENIC stands for the European Network of National Information Centers (ENIC) and NARIC stands for the National Academic Recognition Information Centers (NARIC). The ENIC was established in 1994 in association with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Council of Europe as Co-Secretariats. The NARIC was established in 1984 and has the European Commission as its Secretariat. While NARIC’s mandate is similar to ENIC’s, its mandate is in the context of the European Union. ERASMUS+ Program countries outside the EU may also appoint a national information center.  

Why was ENIC-NARIC established?

The ENIC-NARIC network is made up of National Information Centers, each of which is an entity established by each Party to the Convention. There are currently 55 countries, including the United States, with centers in the ENIC-NARIC network. These Centers collaborate on the academic recognition of qualifications based on the principles of the LRC. 

The ENIC-NARICs uphold and assist in the practical implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention by the competent national authorities. “The Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) aims to ensure that holders of a qualification from a signatory country can have adequate access to an assessment of the qualification in another country in a fair, flexible, and transparent way.”[1] The LRC is a regional convention that includes Europe and the North American region adopted in 1997. The Bologna Process, which was launched with the Bologna Declaration in 1999,  is a complementary reform process effort that like the LRC focuses on enhancing cooperation and mobility in higher education across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The goal of the Bologna Process is to bring more coherence to higher education systems across EHEA to facilitate student and staff mobility, to make higher education more inclusive and accessible, and to make higher education in Europe more attractive and competitive globally.

When a country signs an international convention like the Lisbon Recognition Convention, it indicates its intent to be bound by the provisions of the convention and to take steps toward implementing it. However, signing the convention is just the initial step in the ratification process. Ratification involves the formal approval of the convention through the country's legislative or constitutional procedures, making it legally binding.

In the case of the United States, signing the Lisbon Recognition Convention signifies the country's intention to support the goals and principles outlined in the convention. However, until the convention is ratified by the country's legislative bodies, it does not have the force of law within the United States. This means that, while the United States has expressed its support for the convention by signing it, it has not completed the domestic process necessary to fully adopt and implement the convention's provisions. 

The reasons for not ratifying a convention can vary and may be influenced by factors such as domestic policies, legal considerations, or priorities of the government. However, the Electronic Database for Global Education (EDGE) serves a similar function in facilitating recognition of foreign qualifications at member institutions and governmental bodies and promoting student and faculty mobility.

How do the Centers and the Network carry out their work?

Each ENIC-NARIC - or National Information Center - reports to its respective authority, the Ministry of Education, or comparable body, as a Party to the LRC. They may also provide information to their secretariats (UNESCO, Council of Europe) and to the LRC Committee for the ENICs, and to the European Commission for the NARICs. ERASMUS+ Program countries from outside of Europe may also appoint a National Information Center. 

An ENIC-NARIC center creates and maintains its country page containing information on:

  • National Information Centers
  • National Education Bodies
  • System of Education
  • University Education
  • Recognized Higher Education Institutions
  • Qualifications Framework
  • Quality Assurance in Higher Education
  • Policies and Procedures for the Recognition of Qualifications
  • Diploma Supplement (DS) Information
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Post-secondary Non-university Education
  • Recognition of Qualifications Held by Refugees
  • Verification Sources

These pages constitute a robust portion of the ENIC-NARIC website and are a true treasure trove for the international credential evaluator.

Look for a follow-up article in the next edition of Connect to learn about the exciting content at the ENIC-NARIC Joint Meeting and to get insights from attendees.


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