By formalising the Joint Education Reform Initiative of South East Europe (ERI SEE) – Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Working Group on Recognition of Academic Qualifications (WG RAQ) the Western Balkans Six (WB6) have officially started its work on finding the model for automatic recognition of academic qualifications in the region. The 1st formal meeting of the WG RAQ took place in Belgrade on 15th December 2017.
The meeting participants, appointed representatives of the Ministries of Education of the WB6, agreed on the Working Group’s Terms of Reference and the Work Plan on Recognition of Academic Qualifications 2018-2019.
The joint WG RAQ will operate under the auspices of the RCC and ERI SEE Secretariat. The members of the WG RAQ will consist of representatives of the Ministries responsible for higher education and ENIC/NARIC centres. The Group agreed on the two-year work programme for coordinated regional actions to operationalise the actions of the Multi-Annual Action Plan (MAP) on the Regional Economic Area (REA) aimed at removing obstacles to the recognition of academic qualifications. It will also monitor and report on the progress on the implementation and results achieved nationally and regionally.
The meeting was relevant for reaching agreements on the operationalization of the Multiannual Action Plan on the Regional Economic Area (MAP), endorsed by the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans Six under the Berlin Process, with the ultimate goal of achieving better integration of high-skilled professionals and academics into professional and research networks, the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area, thus yielding significant benefits for the region of Western Balkans. To this end the MAP commits the economies to remove obstacles to mobility of highly qualified workforce, in particular through joint standards and procedures for automatic recognition of quality assured academic qualifications; and to remove obstacles to mobility of students, researchers and academics through joint policies, measures and instruments aimed at increasing academic and research mobility and cooperation.
The actions on the recognition of academic qualifications outlined in the MAP build on the priorities specified in the South East 2020 Strategy and the work carried out by ERI SEE as part of the ERI SEE Work Programme, as well as the work within the framework of the Bologna process and the relevant recommendations adopted by the Ministers responsible for Higher Education at the Bologna Ministerial Conference in May 2015 as outlined in the Yerevan Communique.
The joint Working Group on Recognition of Academic Qualifications will be responsible for preparing, monitoring and reporting on activities at national and regional levels to ensure the implementation of the MAP actions aimed at removing obstacles to the recognition of academic qualifications.