Greece: First European Qualifications Passports for Refugees issued
Because they often flee their home countries during chaos situations, refugees seldom have documentation supporting qualifications acquired before their arrival in host countries. To enable the fast-track integration of refugees in higher education and labour market, the Council of Europe’s Education Department is running a pilot project specially developed to assess their skills. The initiative started in March 2017 and the Council has announced the issuance of European Qualifications Passports for a second cohort in June, bringing the total number of grantees to 54 so far.
The recognition process is based on a questionnaire sent to refugee participants and a structured interview, in addition to any available documentation. For successful candidates, the issued document is valid for five years and is intended to be applicable in all European countries which can access the information through the electronic database of the Italian National Information Centre CIMEA, which has a central role in the European network of qualifications centres.
The Passport contains information about the refugee’s higher education background (achieved degree and any additional completed academic year), work experience and language proficiency in standardised manner. The methodology used to determine the qualification level of candidates was developed by the expert body under the Norwegian Ministry of Education - NOKUT and UK's national agency for the recognition of international qualifications - NARIC. Detailed report
The methodology has already been tested in Norway, the UK and Italy while the concept of Qualifications Passport is now known in most countries of the ENIC-NARIC network. By the end of the 2017, it will be tested in France and Armenia; followed by a number of other countries in 2018, during the the second phase of the pilot project.
The first 14 passports were issued in Athens in March 2017 and the remaining 40 in June. One evaluation/interview session will be held in September 2017. The Passports are to serve as a starting point in planning integration activities, including applications to further studies and work. However, they do not guarantee admission to studies or employment as they are not formal recognition acts.