The Tokyo Convention – A new era for mobility and internationalisation of higher education in the Asia-Pacific
Education mobility is fundamental to regional prosperity, while equal access to quality higher education is essential for peace and stability. This vision is at the core of Sustainable Development Goal 4, known as the SDG4-Education 2030 agenda.
The Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education, better known as the Tokyo Convention, enacted on 1 February 2018 represented a significant achievement for our region, bringing a recognition of higher education qualifications into the 21st century based on best practices, as Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham of Australia has said.
The first session of the Tokyo Convention Committee was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 18-19 October 2018, in conjunction with the 15th session of the Committee the 1983 Convention. The meeting started with welcoming remarks by the Korean Vice Minister of Education, Chun-ran Park, who addressed more than 80 representatives and invited guests from 35 Member States. Further discussion focused on the effective transition from the 1983 Convention to the Tokyo Convention, and how to promote ratification and implementation of the latter.
‘I hope delegates enhance the visibility of the Tokyo Convention in their countries by displaying a concerted regional voice, and build a Network of National Information Centres [NICs] as early as possible,’ said Jeong-Ja Kang, President of the first session and Director of the Educational Internationalization Division in the Korean Ministry of Education. The parties agreed that a strong Network of NICs was essential to implement the Tokyo Convention by promoting mutual understanding and transparency, which will be established if at least four parties designate their NICs by the next meeting.
In addition, participants deepened their understanding of the preparation of a Global Convention and the practices of the Lisbon Convention in Europe. After the sessions, participants were invited to a regional workshop on integrating quality assurance, qualification frameworks and the recognition of qualifications to facilitate cross-border mobility.
At the end of the meeting, the Parties to the Tokyo Convention, the Contracting States to the 1983 Convention and observer countries finalised the Seoul Statement, to promote the greater mobility of students through quality assurance-supported and learning outcome-based recognition of qualifications in Asia-Pacific. Based on this effort, the next session of the Tokyo Convention Committee will be hosted in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2019.
UNESCO, as Secretariat of both Committees and the lead agency of the Education 2030 Agenda, will support regional efforts to facilitate student mobility to benefit inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
- Rules of procedure adopted at the first session of the Committee of the Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education (the Tokyo Convention), Seoul,18 October 2018
- Rules of procedure adopted at its first session of the Regional Committee, Bangkok, 12-15 February 1990, Amendments adopted at the 15th Session of the Regional Committee, Seoul,19 October 2018
- Seoul Statement: The Tokyo Convention: a New Era for Mobility and Internationalisation of Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific through Qualifications Recognition
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