The “Spotlight on recognition” project aimed to support staff at higher education institutions who are responsible for recognition processes and decisions by enhancing their capacities in terms of recognition procedures in compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
The project ran from July 2020 until June 2022.
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In addition to the multiple benefits associated with student mobility, such as European integration and exchange of knowledge, experiences and intellectual capital, the free movement of people to study within Europe is a founding principle and long-term objective of the European Higher Education Area. A crucial precondition for student (alongside staff and researcher) mobility is well-functioning, fair and transparent recognition of foreign qualifications and study periods abroad. This is achieved through recognition procedures in compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention, whereby recognition of a foreign qualification can only be refused if the recognition authority in the receiving country can prove that it is substantially different from that of the receiving country.
According to the 2018 Bologna Process Implementation Report, decisions on recognising foreign qualifications for academic purposes are overwhelmingly in the remit of higher education institutions, as opposed to the members of the European Network of Information Centres in the European Region and the National Academic Recognition Information Centres in the European Union (ENIC-NARIC) or governments. At the same time, and despite the abundance of available tools, frameworks, documents and networks created to facilitate and support fair and transparent recognition procedures (such as the European Recognition Manual for Higher Education Institutions (EAR-HEI Manual), the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) and the ENIC-NARIC networks), many reports conclude that current recognition practices fall short of expectations. Besides the 2018 Bologna Process Implementation Report, these reports include the European Students’ Union (ESU) 2018 Bologna with Student Eyes report, the recommendations of the Erasmus+ co-funded LIREQA (Linking Academic Recognition and Quality Assurance) project, and the report of the Erasmus+ co-funded FAIR (Focus on Automatic Institutional Recognition) project.
These reports also indicate a lack of awareness among university staff responsible for recognition-related processes and decisions on the documents and tools developed to establish a common European approach to academic recognition. Against this background, it can be concluded that provision of clear information to and training of staff responsible for academic recognition is needed. They form a basic prerequisite for making recognition procedures in compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention across the European Higher Education Area a reality.
The project adopted a transnational peer-learning approach through which university staff involved in recognition processes and decisions receive information, training and support in self-assessing and enhancing their recognition practices’ compliance with the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
The following activities took place in the context of the project:
These activities were conducted with a view to support the establishment of a recognition community-of-practice open to university staff in charge of academic recognition, but also to other professionals involved in this topic.
The SPOT project was coordinated by EUA, in cooperation with the following consortium partners:
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