Europe set for automatic recognition of qualifications

On 14 November 2018, the Council of the European Union made the groundbreaking decision to unanimously adopt a recommendation to promote the automatic mutual recognition of higher education and upper secondary education diplomas and the outcomes of learning periods abroad.

By this action they were able to show that they were making progress towards the ambitious target of the European Commission to make automatic recognition a reality in European higher education by 2025.

Ahead of the Paris Ministerial Conference in May, however, the Bologna Policy Implementation Report revealed that there is still some way to go.

Asymmetrical implementation of the Bologna reforms acts as a bottleneck, blocking further action. The Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), the Framework of Qualifications for the European Higher Education Area and the three-cycle system are not yet universally adopted by all participating countries.

Participating countries have mentioned limited capacity, insufficient knowledge and an uneasy fit with national legal frameworks as reasons for delayed implementation.

Mutually beneficial peer groups (Bologna Implementation Coordination Groups) have now been set up to resolve these issues. The groups share ideas, solutions and expertise. Legal frameworks and stakeholder involvement are addressed as key factors for success.