In Action: The Global Recognition Convention


The first session of an intergovernmental conference on the recognition of qualifications concerning higher education was convened by UNESCO from 3-5 July 2023. The Convention entered into force in 5 March 2023, following the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification on 5 December 2022. Currently twenty-two States have ratified, and a further twenty are at an advanced stage in the process. Ireland has not yet ratified and consideration is actively being given to the implications.

The Convention is an important step forward for fair, transparent and non-discriminatory recognition and mobility, drawing together the regional conventions, Lisbon, Arab States, Buenos Aires, Addis and Tokyo. It establishes an inclusive framework for mutual recognition of higher education qualifications and qualifications giving access to higher education, offering avenues for further study and employment. With provisions on non-traditional learning modes, the Global Convention also facilitates the recognition of qualifications, prior learning and study periods earned remotely.

The Chair, Stig Arne Skerven, and six Vice-Chairs representing each region ( the UK, Estonia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nicaragua, Japan, Tunisia) were appointed, Rules of Procedure adopted, along with an ambitious interim work-programme. The work-programme while being further refined, should be supported by all State Parties.

Deliberations included interventions supporting increasing access, flexibility and agility in a holistic understanding of lifelong learning, continuously moving forward in a spirit of greater inclusion, the importance of RPL, improving our support of migrants and refugees, underpinning all our work with robust quality assurance, strengthening research to meet the evolving needs of society and being alert to ways of using knowledge differently.

The Irish delegation, with observer status, was led by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Skills and included representation from QQI.

For more information: First session of the Intergovernmental Conference of States Parties to the Global Convention on Higher Education | UNESCO