TALLINN - In a bid to foster cooperation and learning mobility, the Baltic and the Benelux countries have signed a six-party agreement on the mutual automatic recognition of higher education qualifications.
Such an agreement between regions concerning higher education is unique in Europe and therefore serves as an example for automatic recognition across Europe, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research said in a press release.
Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna noted that recognition of higher education degrees will become easier and faster.
"For Estonia, the automatic recognition of higher education degrees is an important step for promoting mobility and higher education-related cooperation in Europe," Kersna said.
Automatic recognition simplifies access to master's studies and doctoral studies in the Netherlands and Belgium, which are the main destinations for people who go to study in the Benelux countries or other Baltic countries from Estonia. Close cooperation between the academic recognition information centers ENIC/NARIC of both regions has helped achieve the automatic recognition, the spokespeople said.
Before preparing the agreement, the higher education reforms of all six countries were analyzed, including the quality assurance and transparency of evaluating and recognizing qualifications. The analyses confirmed that the higher education systems of the Baltic and the Benelux countries are in conformity with the principles and the model of the European higher education area, the systems are comparable and there are no considerable differences between them. Becoming a contracting party shows the quality and reliability of the country's higher education system.
Other countries of the European higher education area can join the agreement in the future if they have ratified the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, they have a reliable system of quality assurance and their degrees and diplomas are related to the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning.