In order to foster cooperation and learning mobility, the Baltic States and Benelux countries signed a six-party agreement on the mutual automatic recognition of higher education qualifications. Such an agreement between regions concerning higher education is unique in Europe and therefore serves as an example for automatic recognition across Europe.
Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna noted that recognition of higher education degrees will become easier and faster. “For Estonia, the automatic recognition of higher education degrees is an important step for promoting mobility and higher education-related cooperation in Europe,” said Kersna.
Automatic recognition simplifies accessibility to Master’s studies and doctoral studies in the Netherlands or Belgium, which are the main targets for people who study in the Baltic States or Benelux countries from Estonia. Close cooperation between the academic recognition information centres ENIC/NARIC of both regions helped achieve automatic recognition.
Before preparing the agreement, the higher education reforms of all six countries were analysed, including the quality assurance and transparency of evaluating and recognising qualifications. The analyses assured that the higher education systems of the Baltic States and Benelux countries are in concordance with the principles and model of Europe’s higher education area, the systems are comparable and there are no considerable differences among them. Becoming a contracting party shows the quality of the country’s higher education and reliability.
Other countries of the European higher education area can enter into the agreement in the future if they have ratified the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, they have a reliable system of quality assurance and their degrees and diplomas are related to the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning.