Un­esco plans global guide­lines on qual­i­fi­ca­tion recog­ni­tion

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS - el­lie.both­[email protected]­ere­d­u­ca­tion.com

More than a third of im­mi­grants with ter­tiary- level ed­u­ca­tion in Europe are overqual­i­fied for their jobs, com­pared with a quar­ter of non-mi­grants, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

When fo­cus­ing on those with uni­ver­sity de­grees gained in coun­tries of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment out­side Europe and North Amer­ica, less than 15 per cent said that their level of ed­u­ca­tion matched their jobs. This com­pares with al­most 70 per cent among other im­mi­grants who stud­ied in the host coun­try, and nearly 75 per cent among na­tives.

The study sug­gests that the lack of recog­ni­tion of learn­ing out­comes for mi­grants and refugees is a key fac­tor, show­ing that im­mi­grants in OECD coun­tries whose qual­i­fi­ca­tions are for­mally recog­nised have, on av­er­age, a 10 per­cent­age point lower overqual­i­fi­ca­tion rate for their job.

Mean­while, one in eight im­mi­grants in Europe said that the great­est hur­dle they faced in se­cur­ing suit­able work was the lack of a means to have their qual­i­fi­ca­tions recog­nised, which was placed well above in­ad­e­quate lan­guage skills, dis­crim­i­na­tion and visa re­stric­tions.

The study, What a Waste: En­sure Mi­grants and Refugees’ Qual­i­fi­ca­tions and Prior Learn­ing Are Recog­nised, was pub­lished by Un­esco’s Global Ed­u­ca­tion Mon­i­tor­ing Re­port, the Ed­u­ca­tion Above All Foun­da­tion and the United Na­tions high com­mis­sioner for refugees on 18 De­cem­ber.

It ar­gues that de­spite there be­ing mul­ti­ple con­ven­tions and laws aimed at ad­dress­ing the is­sue, progress has been slow and na­tional poli­cies tend to be frag­mented and poorly ad­ver­tised.

It adds that Un­esco has drafted a Global Con­ven­tion on the Recog­ni­tion of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Qual­i­fi­ca­tions to be tabled for adop­tion in 2019.

Manos An­toni­nis, di­rec­tor of the Global Ed­u­ca­tion Mon­i­tor­ing Re­port, said that the coun­tries that had made the most progress in this area were those that had car­ried out a “so­ci­ety- wide in­ter­ven­tion”, where gov­ern­ment agen­cies work with the pri­vate sec­tor and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of pro­fes­sional or­gan­i­sa­tions or unions.

Madeleine Sump­tion, di­rec­tor of the Mi­gra­tion Ob­ser­va­tory at the Uni­ver­sity of Ox­ford, said that qual­i­fi­ca­tion recog­ni­tion was a “ma­jor prob­lem” that was also “in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to fix”.

“A for­mal cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion is not usu­ally enough to con­vince an em­ployer to hire some­one,” she said, adding that it can be hard to en­sure that im­mi­grants’ prior work ex­pe­ri­ence is recog­nised.

She said that ini­tia­tives that have fo­cused on the reg­u­la­tory bar­ri­ers to recog­ni­tion have gen­er­ally been the most ef­fec­tive, but ac­knowl­edged that this was much eas­ier to tackle in sec­tors where there was a le­gal re­quire­ment for a cer­tain level of qual­i­fi­ca­tion, such as medicine or law.

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