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Tokyo Convention on qualification recognition active

A UN convention which will facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications in Asia Pacific countries has come into effect and inspired hopes for a boost to students and staff mobility in the region.

China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have signed the agreement. Photo: Locies/Pixabay

After a delay of several years, the revised treaty came into effect in early 2018

Known as the Tokyo Convention, the agreement took effect on February 1, 2018, after Japan and South Korea joined Australia, New Zealand and China in ratifying the treaty.

It will provide a framework for the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications through increased information sharing and transparency, taking into account various aspects such as grading procedures and quality assurance schemes.

“This legal instrument is the foundation for promoting fair and transparent practices”

This will promote cross-border mobility of students, staff and researchers.

“This legal instrument is the foundation for promoting fair and transparent practices in cross-border mobility and recognition across formal and non-formal learning in Asia and the Pacific,” head of UNESCO Bangkok’s Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development Libing Wang said.

For the Australian international education industry this is a significant contribution to the implementation of the National Strategy for International Education 2025.

“The greater recognition of qualifications will enable the 1.5 million students who studied at Australian higher education providers in 2016 to realise the full value of an Australian qualification in a globally mobile world,” said Australian minister for education and training, Simon Birmingham.

“The ratification of the Tokyo Convention will benefit all Australian higher education graduates, both domestic and international, by providing greater opportunities to work or study across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Birmingham added that the new agreement would further strengthen education cooperation and cultural ties between Australia and some of its most important education and economic partners and encouraged other countries in the region to sign on to the convention.

Universities Australia said HEIs were “pleased” the government had reached a landmark agreement to recognise university qualifications between Australia and key Asia-Pacific nations.

“This deal will play an increasingly significant role in capacity building”

Chief executive Belinda Robinson said the organisation had supported the government in the adoption of the Tokyo Convention, which Australia signed in 2014.

“This deal will play an increasingly significant role in capacity building and economic development in participating countries and strengthen ties between them,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said.

“Universities Australia will continue to work with the Australian government to promote the benefits of the Tokyo Convention to our regional partners and ensure our qualifications are recognised across the region.”

Formally known as the Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education 2011, the Tokyo Convention is one of the “second generation” UNESCO regional conventions, an update of a former 1983 agreement reflecting changes in higher education systems and international mobility.

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