The Future of Digital
Student Data Portability

UNESCO Keynote: Preparing for a Global Convention on Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications

May 18, 2016
1 p.m.-1:30 p.m.


Lene Oftedal
Project Expert Global Recognition Convention
Lene Oftedal has a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from University of Oslo. She has been working with international cooperation in higher education in the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, Nordic Council of Ministries in Copenhagen and the European Commission in Brussels. Currently she is seconded to UNESCO in Paris to work on a draft Global Convention on Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications and UNESCO’s regional recognition conventions (in Africa, Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin-America and Caribbean).


The global population of mobile students has doubled since 2002, and is now around 4 million students studying outside their home countries. By 2020, about 8 million students might study abroad. In 2012, at least 4 million students studied outside their home country. At the same time, the global student population has grown from around 30 million students to almost 200 million students by 2016. The massive growth in both student population and mobile students calls for a global regulatory framework for recognition: to make it easier to be mobile both for students and job seekers. UNESCO is currently looking into the possibilities for preparing a global convention of recognition of higher education qualifications. The aims of a global convention would be to raise awareness on recognition at policy level and to facilitate international cooperation and mobility. A global convention could also raise awareness on the world moving towards a global higher education community, and to support capacity building and quality enhancement in higher education.
The quality work the Groningen Declaration network is doing to facilitate student mobility will have positive impact on the current work UNESCO is preparing for global convention on recognition when it comes to showcase good practice on mobility and recognition issues. UNESCO will establish a drafting committee of representatives from all regions in the world. The committee will draft a preliminary global convention to show what it might look like. The preliminary draft will be discussed at the UNESCO General Conference in November 2017 where further steps towards a global convention will be discussed.

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