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Higher education structures and recognition problems

The project sought to identify problems in the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications and suggest possible measures for removing barriers.

The project evaluated recognition problems in the Nordic region, covering both academic and professional recognition of higher education qualifications.

The project group started from the hypothesis that there are two main reasons for recognition problems:
a)      Differences in higher education systems
b)      Differences in the organisation of recognition work

Each office was asked to report any problems it had noticed when recognising Nordic qualifications. The project lasted one year and ended with a report in October 2004.

The report compares the tasks and working methods of Nordic ENIC/NARIC offices and describes the recognition problems experienced by each office in relation to specific types of qualifications from the other Nordic countries.

In an annex to the report Professor Peter Maassen, University of Oslo, analyses the differences between the Nordic education systems and the consequences of these differences.

The report concludes that differences in degree structures have to some extent lead to recognition problems. In particular, problems arise when the length and/or depth of a programme differ between countries.

The report recommends that the Nordic offices

  • provide each other and all relevant authorities with information about the differences between education systems and recognition activities, by means of the Nordic web site

  • work towards more homogenous methodology by organising workshops for our offices

  • try to create a common understanding of the notion of “substantial differences” (Lisbon Recognition Convention)

  • continue mapping out inter-Nordic recognition problems by including, as a next step, the recognition of non-Nordic qualifications

The last item is being translated into action through another project, which is looking into the assessment of non-Nordic qualifications by the Nordic offices. See: Recognition standards.


Read the report:

See also: