Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit Series
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Source: Regional Cooperation Council

Initial steps towards mutual recognition of Academic Qualifications in Western Balkans made by Joint Regional Working Group


Joint Working Group on Recognition of Academic Qualifications (WG RAQ) has initiated steps towards recognition exercise for the Western Balkans (WB) as well as an online system to support fast-track recognition between Western Balkans economies, at its 3rd meeting held in Brussels today under auspices of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) & Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE).

Photo: RCC/Nedima Hadziibrisevic

The exercise on recognition of academic qualifications aims to identify, analyse and discuss similarities and differences in recognition of foreign degrees in WB economies, and suggest further joint action to decrease those differences. The exercise is envisaged as a step-by-step process, as provided by the guide presented at the meeting. The appointed teams to conduct this exercise agreed on the tasks and the timeline, as well as on a selection of specific cases which will be evaluated as part of the exercise. The participants agreed to broaden the scope of the cases to include requests for recognition of academic qualifications of refugees and migrants in line with the conclusions of the European Higher Education Area Ministerial Conference, which took place in Paris in May 2018.

After hearing the key principles and existing practices of automatic recognition of academic qualifications in other regions, key principles to guide the automatic recognition of academic qualifications in the Western Balkans were discussed and agreed in principle by the participants. The key principles to guide the automatic recognition of academic qualifications in the Western Balkans will be endorsed by the Ministers responsible for Higher Education at the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training Ministerial Meeting on 26 June 2018.

The JWG RAQ aims to facilitate removing obstacles to mobility of highly qualified workforce, in particular through development of joint standards and procedures for automatic recognition of quality assured academic qualifications.

The leaders of the Western Balkans Six have recognised the importance of development of automatic recognition procedures of the academic qualifications in the region under the Mobility pillar of the Multiannual Action Plan on the Regional Economic Area (MAP REA) and have committed to remove obstacles to the recognition of academic qualifications in the region by 2020.