B. Qualification giving access to higher education

Any diploma or other certificate issued by a competent authority attesting the successful completion of an education programme and giving the holder of the qualification the right to be considered for admission to higher education (cf. the definition of access).

Recognition

A formal acknowledgement by a competent authority of the value of a foreign educational qualification with a view to access to educational and/or employment activities.

Requirement

A. General requirements

Conditions that must in all cases be fulfilled for access to higher education, or to a given level thereof, or for the award of a higher education qualification at a given level.

B. Specific requirements

Conditions that must be fulfilled, in addition to the general requirements, in order to gain admission to a particular higher education programme, or for the award of a specific higher education qualification in a particular field of study.

Section II.

The competence of authorities

Article II.1

1. Where central authorities of a Party are competent to make decisions in recognition cases, that Party shall be immediately bound by the provisions of this Convention and shall take the necessary measures to ensure the implementation of its provisions on its territory.

Where the competence to make decisions in recognition matters lies with components of the Party, the Party shall furnish one of the depositories with a brief statement of its constitutional situation or structure at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, or any time thereafter. In such cases, the competent authorities of the components of the Parties so designated shall take the necessary measures to ensure implementation of the provisions of this Convention on their territory.

2. Where the competence to make decisions in recognition matters lies with individual higher education institutions or other entities, each Party according to its constitutional situation or structure shall transmit the text of this convention to these institutions or entities and shall take all possible steps to encourage the favourable consideration and application of its provisions.

3. The provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the obligations of the Parties under subsequent articles of this Convention.

Article II.2

At the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, or at any time thereafter, each State, the Holy See or the European Community shall inform either depository of the present Convention of the authorities which are competent to make different categories of decisions in recognition cases.

Article II.3

Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to derogate from any more favourable provisions concerning the recognition of qualifications issued in one of the Parties contained in or stemming from an existing or a future treaty to which a Party to this Convention may be or may become a party.

Section III.

Basic principles related to the assessment of qualifications

Article III.1.

1. Holders of qualifications issued in one of the Parties shall have adequate access, upon request to the appropriate body, to an assessment of these qualifications.

2. No discrimination shall be made in this respect on any ground such as the applicant's gender, race, colour, disability, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status, or on the grounds of any other circumstance not related to the merits of the qualification for which recognition is sought. In order to assure this right, each Party undertakes to make appropriate arrangements for the assessment of an application for recognition of qualifications solely on the basis of the knowledge and skills achieved.

Article III.2

Each Party shall ensure that the procedures and criteria used in the assessment and recognition of qualifications are transparent, coherent and reliable.

Article III.3

1. Decisions on recognition shall be made on the basis of appropriate information on the qualifications for which recognition is sought.

2. In the first instance, the responsibility for providing adequate information rests with the applicant, who shall provide such information in good faith.

3. Notwithstanding the responsibility of the applicant, the institutions having issued the qualifications in question shall have a duty to provide, upon request of the applicant and within reasonable limits, relevant information to the holder of the qualification, to the institution, or to the competent authorities of the country in which recognition is sought.

4. The Parties shall instruct or encourage, as appropriate, all education institutions belonging to their education systems to comply with any reasonable request for information for the purpose of assessing qualifications earned at the said institutions.

5. The responsibility to demonstrate that an application does not fulfil the relevant requirements lies with the body undertaking the assessment.

Article III.4

Each Party shall ensure, in order to facilitate the recognition of qualifications, that adequate and clear information on its education system is provided.

Article III.5.

Decisions on recognition shall be made within a reasonable time limit specified beforehand by the competent recognition authority and calculated from the time all necessary information in the case has been provided. If recognition is withheld, the reasons for the refusal to grant recognition shall be stated, and information shall be given concerning possible measures the applicant may take in order to obtain recognition at a later stage. If recognition is withheld, or if no decision is taken, the applicant shall be able to make an appeal within a reasonable time limit.

Section IV.

Recognition of qualifications giving access to higher education

Article IV.1.

Each Party shall recognize the qualifications issued by other Parties meeting the general requirements for access to higher education in those Parties for the purpose of access to programmes belonging to its higher education system, unless a substantial difference can be shown between the general requirements for access in the Party in which the qualification was obtained and in the Party in which recognition of the qualification is sought.

Article IV.2

Alternatively, it shall be sufficient for a Party to enable the holder of a qualification issued in one of the other Parties to obtain an assessment of that qualification, upon request by the holder, and the provisions of Article IV.1 shall apply mutatis mutandis to such a case.

Article IV.3.

Where a qualification gives access only to specific types of institutions or programmes of higher education in the Party in which the qualification was obtained, each other Party shall grant holders of such qualifications access to similar specific programmes in institutions belonging to its higher education system, unless a substantial difference can be demonstrated between the requirements for access in the Party in which the qualification was obtained and the Party in which recognition of the qualification is sought.

Article IV.4

Where admission to particular higher education programmes is dependent on the fulfilment of specific requirements in addition to the general requirements for access, the competent authorities of the Party concerned may impose the additional requirements equally on holders of qualifications obtained in the other Parties or assess whether applicants with qualifications obtained in other Parties fulfil equivalent requirements.

Article IV.5.

Where, in the Party in which they have been obtained, school leaving certificates give access to higher education only in combination with additional qualifying examinations as a prerequisite for access, the other Parties may make access conditional on these requirements or offer an alternative for satisfying such additional requirements within their own educational systems. Any State, the Holy See or the European Community may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, or at any time thereafter, notify one of the depositories that it avails itself of the provisions of this Article, specifying the Parties in regard to which it intends to apply this Article as well as the reasons therefor.

Article IV.6

Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles IV.1, IV.2, IV.3, IV.4 and IV.5, admission to a given higher education institution, or to a given programme within such an institution, may be restricted or selective. In cases in which admission to a higher education institution and/or programme is selective, admission procedures should be designed with a view to ensuring that the assessment of foreign qualifications is carried out according to the principles of fairness and non-discrimination described in Section III.

Article IV.7

Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles IV.1, IV.2, IV.3, IV.4 and IV.5, admission to a given higher education institution may be made conditional on demonstration by the applicant of sufficient competence in the language or languages of instruction of the institution concerned, or in other specified languages.

Article IV.8

In the Parties in which access to higher education may be obtained on the basis of non-traditional qualifications, similar qualifications obtained in other Parties shall be assessed in a similar manner as non-traditional qualifications earned in the Party in which recognition is sought.

Article IV.9

For the purpose of admission to programmes of higher education, each Party may make the recognition of qualifications issued by foreign educational institutions operating in its territory contingent upon specific requirements of national legislation or specific agreements concluded with the Party of origin of such institutions.

Section V.

Recognition of periods of study

Article V.1

Each Party shall recognize periods of study completed within the framework of a higher education programme in another Party. This recognition shall comprise such periods of study towards the completion of a higher education programme in the Party in which recognition is sought, unless substantial differences can be shown between the periods of study completed in another Party and the part of the higher education programme which they would replace in the Party in which recognition is sought.

Article V.2

Alternatively, it shall be sufficient for a Party to enable a person who has completed a period of study within the framework of a higher education programme in another Party to obtain an assessment of that period of study, upon request by the person concerned, and the provisions of Article V.1 shall apply mutatis mutandis to such a case.

Article V.3

In particular, each Party shall facilitate recognition of periods of study when:

a) there has been a previous agreement between, on the one hand, the higher education institution or the competent authority responsible for the relevant period of study and, on the other hand, the higher education institution or the competent recognition authority responsible for the recognition that is sought; and

b) the higher education institution in which the period of study has been completed has issued a certificate or transcript of academic records attesting that the student has successfully completed the stipulated requirements for the said period of study.

Section VI.

Recognition of higher education qualifications

Article VI.1

To the extent that a recognition decision is based on the knowledge and skills certified by the higher education qualification, each Party shall recognize the higher education qualifications conferred in another Party, unless a substantial difference can be shown between the qualification for which recognition is sought and the corresponding qualification in the Party in which recognition is sought.

Article VI.2

Alternatively, it shall be sufficient for a Party to enable the holder of a higher education qualification issued in one of the other Parties to obtain an assessment of that qualification, upon request by the holder, and the provisions of Article VI.1 shall apply mutatis mutandis to such a case.

Article VI.3

Recognition in a Party of a higher education qualification issued in another Party shall have one or both of the following consequences:

a) access to further higher education studies, including relevant examinations, and/or to preparations for the doctorate, on the same conditions as those applicable to holders of qualifications of the Party in which recognition is sought;

b) the use of an academic title, subject to the laws and regulations of the Party or a jurisdiction thereof, in which recognition is sought.

In addition, recognition may facilitate access to the labour market subject to laws and regulations of the Party, or a jurisdiction thereof, in which recognition is sought.

Article VI.4

An assessment in a Party of a higher education qualification issued in another Party may take the form of:

a) advice for general employment purposes;

b) advice to an educational institution for the purpose of admission into its programmes;

c) advice to any other competent recognition authority.

Article VI.5

Each Party may make the recognition of higher education qualifications issued by foreign educational institutions operating in its territory contingent upon specific requirements of national legislation or specific agreements concluded with the Party of origin of such institutions.

Section VII.

Recognition of qualifications held by refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation

Article VII.

Each Party shall take all feasible and reasonable steps within the framework of its education system and in conformity with its constitutional, legal, and regulatory provisions to develop procedures designed to assess fairly and expeditiously whether refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation fulfil the relevant requirements for access to higher education, to further higher education programmes or to employment activities, even in cases in which the qualifications obtained in one of the Parties cannot be proven through documentary evidence.

Section VIII.

Information on the assessment of higher education institutions and programmes

Article VIII.1

Each Party shall provide adequate information on any institution belonging to its higher education system, and on any programme operated by these institutions, with a view to enabling the competent authorities of other Parties to ascertain whether the quality of the qualifications issued by these institutions justifies recognition in the Party in which recognition is sought. Such information shall take the following form: