Implementation of the New Regional Convention for the Recognition of Academic Degrees will ease student mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean
This April 13 and 14, the States Parties to the New Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (NCRALC), which entered into force on October 23, 2022, will meet for the first time in Colonia de Sacramento (Uruguay) to reach a consensus, within the framework of this legally binding instrument, on the next actions regarding the recognition of academic degrees.
Internationalization is one of the most powerful dynamics of higher education, most evidently manifested in student mobility. However, Latin America and the Caribbean is the geographical bloc lagging the furthest behind, with student mobility in the region barely around 1.14% (IESALC, 2017) compared to 2.6% of global mobility (2019). By harmonizing recognition systems to facilitate mutual recognition among States, academic mobility, the circulation of human talent, labor insertion and the scientific and technological development of our people will undoubtedly be favored.
“By 2019, 9 million students were pursuing higher education outside their country of origin, or 2.6% of an enrollment of 238 million students worldwide” (IESALC, 2019).
This first meeting will be attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, the five ratifying States (Cuba, Grenada, Holy See, Peru, and Uruguay), the 19 signatory States, UNESCO Headquarters, the Secretariat of the New Regional Convention exercised by UNESCO IESALC, and UNESCO Montevideo.
During these two days, the ratifying States will elect a committee and approve rules of procedure to regulate its competencies, composition and activities. They will also develop the 2023-24 Work Plan and will initiate the creation of National Information and Recognition Centers, with a view to creating a network of national higher education recognition structures in the future to support the implementation of the New Regional Convention.
Furthermore, the aim is that the remaining signatory States will join and ratify this instrument and be able to move forward in complementarity with the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications, which will enter into force on March 5, 2023.
The New Regional Convention is the result of a long process, which began with the 1974 Convention, was revised in two consultations in 2018, and whose text was adopted by the 23 Member States in 2019. There are countless reasons to bet on the New Regional Convention, but arguments alone do not mobilize, which is why UNESCO IESALC urges all signatory States to promptly ratify such an important instrument in favor of regional academic mobility.
The New Regional Convention will also contribute to the achievement of SDG 4.3, which aims to remove “barriers” to access to capacity development and higher education, enabling lifelong learning opportunities for all people.
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