The signatories joined the Groningen Declaration, which seeks to combat student data fraud while improving portability through a digital data sharing protocol rather than paper based academic transcripts, during its invite-only annual meeting in Cape Town.
“The biggest factors [in the expansion are] the perceived increased relevance and subsequently, the feeling prospective signatories have that the GDN is on to something that they should not miss out on,” said Herman de Leeuw, executive secretary of GDN.
Herman de Leeuw, executive secretary of GDN watches as Cheryl DarrupBoychuck, director of international relations at FundsV, signs the declaration at the network’s annual meeting in South Africa last month. Photo: GDN.
Since it was founded in 2012, GDN has seen steady growth in its number of signatories, with a range of international education focused organisations, including institutions, peak bodies, representative groups and financial and academic services, joining the network.
Cheryl DarrupBoychuck, director of international relations at FundsV, an electronic fund verification service, said GDN’s vision to digitise academic transcript management aligned with FundsV’s vision to digitise proof of financial capacity.
“Those two factors, of course, are critical to international student mobility,” she told The PIE News.
“Our signing helps both Groningen and FundsV meet our strategic goals. It demonstrates our dedication to GDN’s ideal that ‘Citizens worldwide should be able to share their authentic data with whomever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want’ in a cost effective, efficient and transparent way.”
Chris Whelan, executive director at Universities New Zealand, said the organisation was motivated to join not only to improve incoming student numbers, but also outgoing student mobility.
“A key objective was to make it easier for New Zealand students to do further study or to work overseas,” he said. “Our universities are student-focused and recognised this opportunity to make it easier for students to share proof of their credentials with universities and research institutes overseas, as well as immigration authorities and potential employers when applying for jobs.”
Currently GDN has signatories from China, Australia, United States, the UK as well as several European countries. De Leeuw said the organisation plans to expand into South America in the future.
The goal of the network is to serve the academic and professional mobility needs of citizens, employers and other stakeholders world wide. Signatories of the declaration are voluntary and are not bound by the executive committee.
2016 signatories to the Groningen Declaration were:
- Compostela Group of Universities – Spain
- CSC – IT Centre for Science – Finland
- Erasmus without Paper Network – Belgium
- European University Foundation – Luxembourg
- FundsV – USA
- Higher Education Careers Services Unit – Prospects – UK
- International Technological University – USA
- NOKUT Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education – Norway
- Verifdiploma – France
- SGroup European Universities’ Network – Spain
- UHR Swedish Council for Higher Education – Sweden
- Universities New Zealand – New Zealand
The next conference will be held in Melbourne next year.