Created on 08 June 2022

The meeting of the Working Group (WG) on Recognition of Academic Qualifications Contact Points took place on 31st May and 1st June in Brussels. Representatives of all the economies of Western Balkans (WB), Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Serbia, North Macedonia, the Republic of Albania, and Kosovo (the name defined with the UN Resolution 1244 from 1999) were present, apart from Montenegro due to on-going changes to nominations in the WG, representative of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), director of Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) and representatives of the Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC).

Brisel Academic Recognition Group WB 1 May 2022The first day was dedicated to consultations with DG EAC. Representatives of DG EAC informed the WG about the aims of the upcoming Ministerial meeting(s) in June in Tirana on Culture, Innovation, and Education, which will serve as relaunching of the motivation on the agenda and keeping it on the political agenda both of the Western Balkans Ministers as well as the Commissioner. As far as the EC Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (WB Agenda) is concerned, key deliverables remain – the association of the WB and EU, participation in EU programs – Horizon and Erasmus, involvement in EU policymaking in education.

Representatives of the economies informed on the legislative reform actions undertaken in the economies, including revisions of laws on higher education and ongoing work on completing respective strategies. ERI SEE presented its current and upcoming work in the field of education.

These discussions were very important for DG EAC and WB economies to hear about the needs, identify potential gaps to be filled in joint work, and further the WB use of Erasmus + capacity building programs, including mobility and VET mobility. Representatives of DG EAC informed that Erasmus Mundus is open to all partners now.

The meeting resulted in the joint conclusions that recognition of both academic and professional qualifications remains a priority, DG EAC also encouraged the WB economies to further explore using the current databases (Joint Information System, Regional Recognition Database) and the development of new ones in areas related to recognition of academic qualifications.

Brisel Academic Recognition Group WB 2 May 2022DG EAC will also provide experts for capacity building to further recognition of qualifications procedures, in quality assurance and designed workshops proposed by the WG

On the second day, the WG discussed topics of recognition of academic and professional qualifications, quality assurance, and VET. A significant time was spent in an exchange of ideas on the joint master’s program in the IT sector. After a detailed overview of activities which was presented by all representatives, the following conclusions were reached:

As of 2023, there will be held 4 meetings annually (every quarter) of the WG; the next meeting of WG, with the participation of heads of quality assurance agencies and ENIC/NARIC centres will be held in the last week of September 2022; RCC and ERISEE will jointly organize 3 workshops with 6 thematic topics on recognition of qualifications, from September to December 2022; in addition, RCC and ERISEE will jointly organize a joint meeting of WB Accreditation Agencies and ENIC/NARIC offices on the status of higher education institutions in the Western Balkans; the work on a functionalization of Regional Recognition Database will be continued, while consultations will be held with quality assurance agencies on a digital quality assurance accreditation management information system.

The RCC commissioned assessment of the joint master degree in the IT sector will be delivered to WG in September, 2022 – prior to the planned meeting.