Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2003-2005

Seminar on Improving the recognition system of degrees and study credit points in the European Higher Education Area

Bologna Seminar Riga, Latvia 03/12/2004 - 04/12/2004

This seminar, organised by the Latvian authorities in co-operation with the Council of Europe, was attended by approximately 160 participants from 30 different countries and from partner organisations. Professor Stephen Adam served as General Rapporteur.

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Many Bologna action lines have direct links to recognition. Without effective processes for recognition, important Bologna objectives will not be achieved. However, the Riga seminar indicated what can be achieved and generated a strong agreement about the way forward.

Ministers in Bergen were urged to:

  • Amend national legislation to incorporate the principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and adopt effective measures to ensure their practical implementation at all appropriate levels;
  • Recognise that reaching the goals of the Bologna Process requires defining ‘recognition’ as positioning a holder of a foreign qualification in the host country’s education or employment system, and therefore to:
    • emphasise the benefits of national qualifications frameworks and endorse the creation of the overarching framework of qualifications for the EHEA on the grounds of their contribution to recognition, mobility and transparency;
    • promote an intensive national and international dialogue, informed by ENICs and NARICS, to exchange good practice.
  • As a matter of urgency, launch a campaign to convey accurate and pertinent information on the Bologna Process to other parts of the world.

At the level of ENIC and NARIC networks it was recommended that:

  • The existing cooperation between recognition and quality assurance networks should be further strengthened. It needs to be acknowledged that recognition and quality assurance are intimately related;
  • It is explored how the emerging qualifications frameworks and usage of learning outcomes can be applied for improving recognition practices, including the recognition of lifelong learning and other non-traditional qualifications, and how they relate to the legal framework of the Lisbon Recognition Convention;
  • The networks take an active part in informing on the Bologna Process in the wider world, using their long-standing contacts and information exchange channels.

At national level it was recommended that:

  • Effective measures are taken in respect of non-traditional providers to offer them access to state recognition procedures and ongoing quality assurance monitoring.
  • The contribution of learning outcomes to recognition in higher education and lifelong learning is acknowledged and a strategy for their implementation developed.
  • Steps are taken to monitor the implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, with a view to encouraging fair and equal treatment of applicants within countries.

In higher education institutions steps should be taken to develop institutional recognition policies and practices and to disseminate information on the legal framework for recognition and best practice at the level of faculties and study programmes.

Source: General Report to the Bologna Follow-Up Group to the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education - Bergen 19/20 May 2005
Bologna Process between Berlin and Bergen

Related documents

Improving the recognition system of degrees and study credit points in the European Higher Education Area

Official web site

Topics for working group discussions

Background report

Improving the Recognition System Andrejs Rauhvargers, President of the Lisbon Convention Committee (Latvia)

Contributions by plenary speakers

International recognition and quality assurance - two priorities of Bologna,Jindra Divis, NUFFIC, The Hague
Developments along subject lines and their impact on recognition Julia Gonzales - University of Deusto, Bilbao (Spain)
Recognition for the labour market, Dirk Haaksman, NUFFIC, The Hague
Recognizing learning outcomes,Norman Sharp, Quality assurance Agency, Glasgow (Scotland)
The impact of emerging qualifications frameworks on recognition, Stephen Adam, University of Westminster, London
Recognition of credit points – achievements and problems, Wolker Gehmlich, Fachhochschule Osnabrück, Germany
Programs, Providers and Accreditors on the Move: Implications for Recognition of Qualifications, Jane Knight, University of Toronto, Canada
Observations on the United States as Stakeholder in the Bologna Process, Timothy S. Thompson, University of Pittsburgh & National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials, USA

Reference materials

International legal framework for recognition - (Lisbon Convention and its supplementary documents)
Recognition of foreign qualifications (guidebook)

Published: 03/12/2004 - Last modified: 20/10/2016
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