Recognition of higher education qualifications

The increasing internationalization of higher education worldwide means study programmes are being offered across borders, internationalizing the student body, teaching, learning and knowledge-sharing through collaborative research. The internationalization of traditional university campus has led to seismic growth in the number of learners studying outside their country of origin.

Since its creation, UNESCO has served as a global platform for discussion on the recognition of higher education qualifications and the promotion of academic mobility. In this regard, UNESCO has established a number of conventions on the recognition of higher education qualifications at the regional level (see Conventions and Recommendations).

UNESCO provides technical support on regulation issues through the implementation and monitoring of regional conventions on the recognition of higher education qualifications and by supporting Member States to improve their quality assurance mechanisms. It also supports the sharing of experiences on the international exchange of faculty and research, and its implications for policy design and implementation. To facilitate the international exchange and mobility of knowledge, teachers, learning and learners, UNESCO facilitates the revision and implementation of regional normative instruments on the recognition of higher education qualifications including those of refugees and displaced persons.

Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications.

UNESCO is developing a Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education qualifications which aims to facilitate academic mobility across regions, improve quality and enhance international cooperation in higher education.

The original aim of the convention was to reduce the obstacles faced by students, teachers, researchers and job-seekers outside their countries of origin in terms of the recognition of their higher education qualifications. With the rapid increase in the  population of mobile students came the need for a global regulatory framework on the recognition of higher education qualifications. The UNESCO General Conference, at its 38th session, invited the Director-General to continue the process of preparing a global convention on the recognition of higher education qualifications.

In March 2016, following 38/Resolution 12, of the General Conference, UNESCO established a Drafting Committee in consultation with its Member States to prepare the convention. The draft text will be reviewed at the UNESCO General Conference in 2017.

Accreditation and bogus institutions

UNESCO is an intergovernmental body. It does not have the mandate to accredit nor to recognise higher education institutions, programmes, diplomas or accrediting agencies. Any provider of higher education or accrediting agency which claims or gives the impression of being accredited and/or recognized by UNESCO should be looked upon with caution. Such institutions or accrediting agencies may use different fraudulent modes.  More information.