In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, entitled “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, the recognition of foreign education plays a major role.
The “homologation” process, also known as accreditation, represents the official recognition of foreign (academic) qualifications in another country. Homologation is mostly important and relevant for liberal professions such as doctors, lawyers, architects or other licensed professionals, and for non-EU citizens. This homologation process in Spain can be complex and laborious. In Spain, another process of recognition called “professional recognition”, is easier and free of charge, for European Union citizens (for diplomas obtained in eligible countries).
The recognition of education for refugees or immigrants can be very difficult as it is depending on several criteria such as the country of origin; the type of degree the person holds; the level of documentation and ability a person has to prove its educational or professional background; or if there are agreements between the country of origin and the country of destination.
Therefore, recognition process of previous education or profession might vary a lot among European countries. The Lisbon Convention (1997) established international standards for the recognition of refugee qualifications in order to encourage a flexible approach to the recognition of qualifications held by refugees or displaced persons (Council of Europe, 1997). Indeed, through an ongoing project of the Council of Europe, it has been promoted a document, the “European Qualifications Framework for Refugees”, to assess the level of education, professional experience and language proficiency of refugees who do not have the necessary documents to prove that they have been granted asylum.
If the person is lacking papers and documentation to prove its education or previous professional experience, other recognition methods could be suggested as alternative, such as recognition of competencies (skills and knowledge assessment and evaluation); or testimonials (also called “witness statements”).
Please participate to this debate by responding and discussing the following questions:
- Is there a homologation process in your countries? If so, how does it work?
- To what extent do you think it would be practical to facilitate the accreditation/homologation process across European countries?
- What do you think of other methods of recognition in other to facilitate and accelerate the integration process of refugees?
- Loo, B. (2016). Recognizing refugee credentials: Practical tips for credential assessment. New York: World Education Services (WES)).
- Council of Europe, European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (https://www.coe.int/en/web/education/recognition-of-refugees-qualifications)
- Enic-Naric, Employing a refugee with or without documentation of qualifications (https://www.enic-naric.net/recognise-qualifications-held-by-refugees-employers.aspx)
- Buswell G. (2019), Getting a university degree recognized in Spain – Expat guide to Spain, Expatica (https://www.expatica.com/es/education/higher-education/transferring-diplomas-104884/)