RECOGNITION OF DEGREES AND STUDY PERIODS
Lisbon Recognition Convention
The Convention on the recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, the so-called Lisbon Recognition Convention, developed by the Council of Europe together with the UNESCO was signed in Lisbon on 11 April 1997 and it is the key legal instrument for recognition of qualifications across Europe. The full text and updated list of signatures and ratifications may be found at;
The Convention was signed on December 1, 2004 and this Convention came into force on March 1, 2004. Since the provision set forth in the Article IV.8 is legally inapplicable, Turkey reserves the right not to apply the Article IV.8 of the Convention with the said instrument registered at the Secretariat General on 15 February 2007 "The Government of Republic of Turkey does not bound itself with the Article IV.8 of the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Educations in the European Region, in accordance with the Article XI.7 of the Convention."
In line with the Lisbon Convention, the Regulation on the Recognition of Foreign Higher Education Qualification was reviewed by the integration of the five principles related to the assessment of the qualifications of the Lisbon Recognition Convention adopted by the Decision of the Council of Higher Education on April 13, 2006 and came into force on May 11, 2007 upon its publication in the Official Gazette No.26519. Since then, the new regulation with relevant changes has been applied in the procedure of recognition and the assessments of foreign higher education diplomas on Turkey.
Diploma Supplement (DS)
Diploma Supplement (DS) is a document attached to a higher education diploma aiming at improving international ‘transparency' and at facilitating the academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates etc.).
Diploma Supplement has been mandatory at all higher education institutions since the end of the academic year of 2005-2006 by the decision of the Council of Higher Education dated March 11, 2005. A national Diploma Supplement template was formed in line with the model recommended jointly by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES and an office under the supervision of the Council of Higher Education has been charged with checking the compatibility of Diploma Supplement samples from the higher education institutions with national template and giving technical assistance. Starting with the end of 2005-2006 academic year, all higher education institutions issue Diploma Supplement in one of the three main languages of the European Union, English or German or French, to all graduates at first, second and short cycles, and first copy being free of charge.
At 13 universities awarded Diploma Supplement Label by the European Commission (2 universities in 2005 and 11 universities in 2006), Diploma Supplement is given automatically to students upon successfully completion of their studies in all first, second and short cycle. At the rest of higher education institutions, due to the large number of graduates, Diploma Supplement is given upon request of the student, not automatically.
Besides the activities carried out under the supervision of the Council of Higher Education, the National Agency and the National team of Bologna Promoters are also spending great effort in promoting the awareness of the Diploma supplement among the students, universities and employers, and better understanding of the Diploma Supplement usage, aiming to achieve transparency and recognition of qualifications, thus facilitating mobility. National information conferences, regional meeting are organized by the National team of Bologna Promoters within the context of "implementation of Bologna Process in Turkey."
In Turkey, the Council of Higher Education is the central authority for the recognition of foreign qualifications; therefore the application for the recognition of foreign diplomas is submitted to the "Equivalency Unit" structured under the Council of Higher Education. Diploma Supplement is not a document that guarantees recognition of diplomas issued by the foreign higher education institutions, but that facilitates the "equivalency process". Holders of foreign qualifications must prove other documents the validity of the qualification in the awarding country for further studies.
European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
The European Credit Transfer System is a student-centered system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a program specified in terms learning outcomes and competences to be acquired. ECTS was set up initially for credit transfer to facilitate the recognition of periods of study abroad and thus enhanced the quality and the volume of student mobility in Europe. Recently ECTS is developing into an accumulation system to be implemented at institutional, regional, national and European level.
Besides the Diploma Supplement, ECTS activities have been one of the main working areas of Bologna Process implementations in Turkey. Particularly, within the last two years, Turkish universities have been focused on the way how to adapt their credit and grade systems to the ECTS principles, on the basis of the student workload, taking into account the learning outcomes, skills and competences that define the qualification. Therefore, in many universities, the teams of ECTS / DS Coordinators have been formed to carry out the DS / ECTS activities at departmental, faculty and university levels to reflect the student workload, learning outcomes, competences and skills in ECTS.
In the framework of Bologna Project, the Council of Higher Education together with the National Team of Bologna Promoters are organizing many regional and nation-wide conferences, meetings and workshops for academic staff, students and external stakeholders, giving guidance and advices on how to calculate the ECTS credits.
Moreover, the special focus is put on the necessity of student's involvement in drafting ECTS activities in order to calculate them more at outcome based, at not input based. At this point, in some universities, higher education staff responsible for ECTS studies has started to review curriculum and establish quality development mechanisms to ensure more student-centered approach.
Turkish ENIC/NARIC Centre
The ENIC Network (European Network of Information Centres) made up of national information centers and NARIC Network (National Academic recognition Information Centres), created in 1984 to improve academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study in the Member States of the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Central and Eastern European countries provide information on;
- the recognition of foreign diplomas, degrees and other academic or professional qualifications
- education systems in other European countries and one's own country
- opportunities for studying abroad, including information on loans and scholarships, as well as on practical questions related to mobility and equivalence.
Turkish NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) has been established under the supervision of the Council of Higher Education in April 2003 and the Turkish ENIC (European Network of national Information Centre) has been operating under the Council of Higher Education since 1998.
The main objective of the Turkish ENIC/NARIC Centre is to improve academic recognition of diplomas and periods of studies by promoting information and experience exchange in the European Union member states, the EEA countries and the candidate countries of the European Union.