Estonia joins UNESCO Global Convention on Recognition of Qualifications

  • 2021-05-25
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonia has approved a UNESCO convention facilitating the recognition of Estonian qualifications in secondary and higher education in more countries, particularly outside Europe.

Recognition of qualifications is likewise facilitated in Estonia for citizens of other states that have also joined the convention.

Lead expert at the Education Ministry's higher education department Janne Pukk said that Estonia joined the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications to promote and strengthen international cooperation in higher education.

"Assessments and recognition require that different states' principles should be comparable and the prerequisite for this is that the higher education establishment or the study program issuing the document should have undergone quality assessment," Pukk said.

The convention does not impose an obligation on states to automatically recognize the educational qualifications of other parties to the agreement. Other states' educational qualifications are only recognized if there are no significant differences in the two states' comparable qualifications. Decisions must be based on relevant and reliable data about the other state's higher education system obtained from competent information centers, which in Estonia is the Estonian ENIC/NARIC (Academic Recognition Information Center) under the Education and Youth Board.

Head of the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Gunnar Vaht was a member of the working group formed in UNESCO five years ago for the purpose of developing the Global Convention on higher education.

Vaht said that the convention builds a bridge between previous regional agreements.

"We've compiled a collection of keywords and principles concerning the recognition of qualifications facilitating the comparison of different states' and regions' qualifications frameworks and quality assurance criteria," he said. "The need for such a document stems from increasing study mobility between different regions of the world. The convention also makes it easier for people who have acquired their education in Estonia to continue their studies outside Europe."

Over five million students were studying abroad in 2020, half of them outside their region.