Tag: qualification

Eurobarometer survey on European Area of Skills and Competencies

eurobarometerEurobarometer is a Europe wide public opinion survey that has been conducted since 1973 to monitor views on issues such as: social situation, health, culture, defence and so forth.

Occasionally, special surveys are also launched for more detailed analysis on a specific subject or topic.

Earlier this year, a special Eurobarometer survey was conducted on the question of “European area of Skills and Competencies”, a public consultation has recently been finished (view summary of consultation results here).

The report that summarises the main findings from the Eurobarometer survey was launched in June. The backdrop for the report are the recent developments of introducing instruments for transparency and recognition of qualifications, in essence the construction of the European Area of Skills and Competencies.

The themes in the survey include skills obtained in education and training, attitudes towards various aspects of education and training, studying abroad, documentation of skills and qualifications and flexible learning pathways, career guidance an the extent to which citizens seek for information on these issues.

Regarding the skills obtained, most view basic skills as most important, with some socio-demographic differences – the higher the level of education, the more likely people are to value specialized skills. Younger people are also likely to view foreign languages as more important, but this is also most widely considered a skill that can be obtained outside of formal education. Furthermore, the better educated people are, the more likely they are to think that languages can be learned outside of formal education. Workplace was considered by most as the arena to obtain skills outside of formal education.

UNESCO working towards global recognition of higher education qualifications

unescoIn recent years, mobility of students and workforce has created increased attention on instruments that would make cross-border recognition of educational qualifications easier. This has frequently been presented as an issue and can understandably be a quite frustrating process to have your hard earned foreign diploma not recognized in your home country. While a number of regional initiatives have emerged world wide – are we now witnessing a more global effort in this area?

Lisbon Convention

UNESCOs convention on recognition of qualifications for the European region was adopted in 1997 in Lisbon, and is signed by all of the 47 countries in the Council of Europe with the exception of Greece and Monaco.

It introduced a rather novel idea at the time as it states that qualifications are to be recognized between the countries that have signed the regional convention unless the recognition granting institution can prove “substantial differences”. Basically this means that the process of recognition is turned around – by default one does not need to prove equivalence of degrees to assure recognition, but one has to prove that there is substantial difference for degrees not to recognize a qualification. This is also one of the reasons why Lisbon Recognition convention has been essential in the context of the Bologna Process.

Increased focus on cross-border mobility and recognition in Europe

Recognition and cross-border mobility seems to be a topic that is increasingly gaining focus, also in difficult economic times when mobility of labour force and students is perhaps more relevant than ever and the inherent benefits of mobility are frequently emphasized in political documents and official statements.