Recognition of Academic Qualifications.

Fair recognition of foreign qualifications is both a technical goal of the Bologna Process, and part of the set of fundamental values underpinning the EHEA. The EHEA cannot be an open, inclusive and attractive space for students unless recognition practice is predictable, reliable and fair. For any mobile or potentially mobile learner, it is essential that credits earned and qualifications gained will be recognised in the home and other countries. Recognition is therefore a principle that has to be made operational and fully effective if mobility and exchange are to underpin the EHEA.

Quality Assurance Systems.

When the Bologna Declaration was signed in 1999, quality assurance systems in higher education were inexistent in most signatory countries. Today, not only is there a consensus that quality assurance is necessary to ensure accountability and support enhancement, but there are also commonly agreed standards and guidelines for how this should be achieved, and a European body – the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) – to guarantee that these standards and guidelines are respected and implemented.

The Western Balkans Economies are strongly committed to building the quality culture within the higher education systems. Accreditation processes are one of the ways the quality is ensured, measured and objectively analyzed. The Western Balkans economies have set up their accreditation procedures, however their alignment with the European Standards and Guidelines is yet to follow. Nevertheless, the register of the accreditation results (also named Dababase of External Quality Assurance Results)...

> read more

Here you can find the list of contacts in the Western Balkans relevant for issues of recognition of academic qualifications.

> read more

Here you can find the list of Quality Assurance Bodies active in the Western Balkans.

> read more

As a result of the Joint Recognition Exercise, undertaken by the RCC - ERI SEE Joint Working Group for Recognition of Academic Qualifications (namely ENIC/NARIC and NARIC offices from the Western Balkans 6 economies), the Database of Qualifications was composed. The Database consists of the sample cases received by the recognition officers from the region, which were then jointly processed, leading to sample recognition decisions. It must be noted that the results of this Joint Exercise serve only for information purposes for recognition officers, and are currently not available for public.

> read more

Frequently asked questions.

One of the purposes of the Bologna Declaration (1999) was to encourage European cooperation in quality assurance of higher education with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies. The European Ministers of Education adopted in 2005 the "Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)" drafted by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) in co-operation and consultation with its member agencies and the other members of the “E4 Group” (ENQA, EUA, EURASHE and ESU). In 2007, the European Ministers of Education, having received the E4 London report agreed that the E4 should proceed to setting up the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). The Register was set up on 4 March 2008 as the first legal entity to emerge from the Bologna Process. EQAR listing has the ESG as criteria and thus provides information on quality assurance agencies that are in substantial compliance with this common European framework. The E4 Group also organizes European Quality Assurance Fora annually, to discuss the latest developments in quality assurance. The influence of the European Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance in higher education (ESG) is spreading and they are gaining acceptance as a shared reference point for all actors in European higher education. Currently EQAR is listing 24 agencies in 23 countries, compliant with the ESG, which can perform evaluations in any country of the EHEA. Though, the fundamental responsibility for quality continues to rest within the higher education institutions. Internal quality assurance is a duty of the institution, and the development of an effective “quality culture” is clearly linked with their degree of operational autonomy. External quality assurance fulfils different needs: it combines both accountability for the reassurance of the public by providing information about quality and standards as well as an objective and developmental commentary for institutions. In this respect, the external evaluations are focusing either on study programmes, on institutions or on a combination of both. Quality assurance is far from being a closed point of discussion in the EHEA. The ongoing debates include, amongst others: how to balance accountability and improvement within higher education institutions, on the one hand, and the shared responsibilities of higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies and policy-makers, on the other; how to make real the roles of different stakeholder groups (students, the business world, etc) and how to provide these groups with an adequate level of information; how to handle the increasing diversity across higher education (diversity of pedagogies, of institutions, of students, of expectations, of missions) and across national quality assurance settings; how to face the current economical constraints: budgetary cuts and pressures for commercialization of higher education. Quality assurance has been a priority for the Bologna Process, but its mechanisms are not perceived as an end in themselves. Their ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of teaching and research and, in this respect, quality assurance agencies act as a support for institutions in their continuing development and, equally, have a key role as protectors of the public interest. (

Please consult the with the contacts of bodies and individuals in charge of recognition of qualifications processes and in the Western Balkans for more information.

Recognition for employment means having your qualification recognized for the purpose of accessing the labour market. The recognition for this purpose usually means contacting the ENIC/NARIC offices. Recognition for education means having your qualification recognized for the purpose of continuing your studies. The procedure of recognition may involve ENIC/NARIC offices, but also higher education institutions, who have the right to establish some additional access criteria that need to be met before the education can be continued.