The Tokyo Convention – A commitment to enduring and sustainable collaboration to improve mobility in Asia-Pacific
BEIJING, 2 December 2022 – The Tokyo Convention provides a mechanism for countries in Asia and the Pacific to facilitate the recognition of qualifications to access higher education through basic principles of fairness, increased information provision and transparency. Ratification of the Tokyo Convention demonstrates a country’s commitment to improved mobility of students and academics within Asia-Pacific, while also strengthening education collaboration and solidarity across the region.
Co-hosted by the Government of China, as President of the Bureau of the Tokyo Convention Committee, and the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok), more than 100 delegates from 24 countries in Asia-Pacific joined online for the 4th Committee Session and 2nd Plenary of the Asia-Pacific Network of National Information Centres (APNNIC) from 30 November to 2 December 2022. The Committee and national experts reviewed the current status and work plans for qualifications recognition in Asia-Pacific, particularly regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on online learning, the rapid growth of micro-credentials, and monitoring implementation of the Tokyo Convention.
Mr TIAN Xuejun, Vice Minister, Ministry of Education, China, and Chairperson of China’s National Commission for UNESCO, confirmed, ‘Following the devastating impacts of the pandemic, now is the time to come together in Asia-Pacific to strengthen international recognition policies and practices. This includes recognition of online and blended learning and work-ready micro-credentials.’
As Secretary of the Tokyo Convention Committee at the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Mr Libing Wang agreed and added, ‘We need to recognize diverse forms of learning and qualifications giving access to higher education, including school leaving diplomas and certificates, especially those held by refugees and displaced persons. Enhanced mobility and fair recognition are critical to help drive economic recovery and sustainable development in our region.’
The 12 State Parties to the Tokyo Convention called on Member States in Asia-Pacific to accelerate efforts to ratify and join the Tokyo Convention and to strengthen the Asia-Pacific Network of National Information Centres (APNNIC) as the key implementation mechanism for the region.
In addition, Ms Jane Azurin, the incoming President of the Bureau from Australia’s Department of Education, noted that a renewed impetus was needed to achieve shared goals, commenting, ‘Being a part of the Tokyo Convention Committee and APNNIC community is an outstanding opportunity to commit to enduring and sustainable collaboration to improve the mobility of students, graduates and education institutions. A vibrant network in qualifications recognition will drive higher education quality and innovation by establishing best practices in the Asia-Pacific region.’
UNESCO Bangkok will launch a new regional needs assessment in January 2023, at which time it will call for proposals to develop fair and inclusive recognition systems throughout Asia and the Pacific. Cost-sharing and a commitment to ratify and implement the Conventions is critical, indeed for both the Tokyo Convention and Global Convention on Higher Education, the latter which is expected to enter into force in 2023.
For information about the call for proposals with cost-sharing support from the Republic of Korea Funds-in-Trust, contact: eisd.bgk(at)unesco.org.