Created on 10 February 2020

Two days Meeting Delivering the MAP REA (Multi-annual Action Plan on Regional Economic Area in the Western Balkans): Recognition of Academic Qualifications and Quality Assurance Systems in the Western Balkans, with representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo (the name defined with the UN Resolution 1244 from 1999), was held in Tirana, Albania, 4-5 February 2020. The Delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina consisted of representatives of the Centre for Information and Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education (CIP), the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance.

MAP REA Meeting in Tirana 4-5 February 2020 2The meeting started with welcome remarks from the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth of the Republic of Albania. The first main issue was an agreement about further steps after the Declaration on the Recognition of Academic Qualifications in the Western Balkans was endorsed, with note from the Republic of Serbia, in Poznan in July 2019. It was agreed that at the expert level further work on a mutual recognition of Bologna PhD degree as well as pre-Bologna qualification should be continued. After agreement of all participants, the RCC will also conduct a Comparative Study of the existing national qualifications framework in Western Balkans and a status and position of all higher education qualification which will be useful in the recognition procedures.

After this issue, the statistical date about number of requests for recognition in the Western Balkans were presented. The representative of the CIP presented the online database on recognition procedures in Bosnia and Herzegovina, developed during the finished Twinning Project Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Recognition of Qualifications in BiH. The structure of the Database can be a positive example for others while developing such database in the future.

In the afternoon session, a latest development related to the Joint Information System (JIS), which will facilitate recognition procedures in the Western Balkans, was presented. The JIS is still in the testing phase and the name of the JIS domain, as well as contact details were agreed. When the work on the JIS will be finished, the database will also has a comparasion of qualification at the systematic level which will also facilitate recognition procedures in the Western Balkans.

MAP REA Meeting in Tirana 4-5 February 2020The second day was dedicated to quality assurance in the Western Balkans. Participants presented the ongoing situation concerning a state of play and status of accreditation agencies in the Western Balkans. The main conclusions arising after presentation that agencies are not enough indepedent, there is not enough balance between legal and agencies' acts that is agenices haven't had enough autonomy to touch main issues in accreditation procedures and it is very hard to find experts who do external audit at higher education institutions and how to train all of them. It was also agreed that until the end of this year all agencies conduct mock review of their state of play concerning fulfillment of criteria for an accesss for a membership in international accreditation organizations, which would be financed by the Regional Cooperation Council.