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UK signs UNESCO Global Convention on Recognition of Qualifications

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The UK has ratified the UNESCO Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education. Susan Acland-Hood, Permanent Secretary at the UK Department for Education, was in Paris to deposit the UK’s ratification with UNESCO.

Dr Cloud Bai-Yun, Chief Executive of Ecctis, said: ‘I am proud that UK ENIC played a leading role in the process that resulted in ratification, along with the UK Department for Education, the Devolved Administrations and the UK National Commission for UNESCO. The Global Convention will have significant impact on the future landscape of world qualifications.’ 

The Global Convention will create a framework for fair, transparent and non-discriminatory recognition of higher education qualifications, putting in place universal principles for improving recognition practices.

Paul Norris, Head of UK ENIC, says: ‘The UK’s ratification of the Global Convention is an important illustration of the UK’s commitment to best practice in global mobility, and to improving international cooperation on recognition. The UK is one of the first 20 signees of the Convention, so will be one of the originating members of the Convention once it enters into force. In doing so, the UK is sending a strong message to the world, that we believe in transparent and fair recognition of international qualifications within the UK.’

The Convention will also help promote the value of UK qualifications across the world. UK ENIC has played an active role in consultations leading to the UK’s ratification of the Convention. These consultations involved the UK Devolved Administrations, the British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories during the course of 2020-21. 

Professor Emerita Anne Anderson, Higher Education Commissioner from the UK National Commission for UNESCO, said: 'Achieving UK ratification of the Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications was a great example of partnership working to achieve an important goal. The expertise and advice of Dr Bai-Yun was invaluable as we in the UK National Commission for UNESCO garnered support for ratification from colleagues across Whitehall and in the Devolved Administrations. I look forward to collaborating with UK ENIC as we build on this achievement.' 

More information about the extensive consultation process prior to ratification is available in the UK Parliament Explanatory Memorandum [MS Word].

By way of background, the formal process of developing the Global Convention began in 2011, following the UNESCO feasibility study. This study identified clearly the need for improved recognition of foreign qualifications worldwide.

UNESCO established a drafting committee in 2016 consisting of experts from all regions that finalised a preliminary draft in June 2017. Ministers from UNESCO member states adopted the Global Convention unanimously at the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019. 

The Global Convention is open for ratification by all members of the United Nations whether or not they are members of UNESCO or have previously joined a regional convention.

26/04/2022 12:31:00