What is automatic qualification recognition?
We talk of automatic foreign qualification recognition when a qualification is accepted in the same way as a national qualification: the holder is not required to undertake any additional measures compared with those holding a national qualification.
Automatic qualification recognition takes several forms: bilateral or multilateral agreements (already in existence between Benelux, the five Nordic countries and within the three Baltic countries), inventories of restrictive qualifications, non-restrictive agreements, de facto adoption of automatic recognition procedures and using digitalisation and digital student data.
In November 2018, the European Union council adopted a recommendation in favour of the automatic mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, upper secondary education and training and the knowledge gained during learning periods abroad. European education ministers are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure automatic mutual recognition by 2025.
What role does the ENIC-NARIC Centre France play?
As part of the theme group for peer support and following the European Council recommendations, the ENIC-NARIC Centre France is committed to strengthening the links with higher education institutions in France (harmonisation, transparency and accessibility of the recognition procedures) and to sharing the information they have available via digital tools.
Additionally, the ENIC-NARIC Centre France is involved in a number of European projects that aim to inform and develop the tools and policies that lead to the implementation of automatic recognition. Since 2018, the DigiRec project has analysed the link between the digitisation of data and the recognition of foreign qualifications. A white paper will be written by 2020. It will include the results of an investigation into the practices surrounding the assessment of digitised data and recommendations for standardised assessment of this type of data.
The ENIC-NARIC Centre France is also involved in the “#Blockchain4edu” work group, led by the digital education department (the French Ministry of Education), which studies the introduction of blockchain technology in Europe. This method of digital storage will enable qualifications to be verified quickly and will meet the European Union recommendations.
Finally, during the annual Groningen meeting in April, the ENIC-NARIC Centre France gave a presentation that will focus on the introduction of automatic qualification recognition and the portability of student data. As a reminder, this event brings together international stakeholders who work on students’ digital data (French Ministry of Higher Education, education ministries in Malta and the Netherlands, universities, ENIC-NARIC centres).