EAR manual

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Full title
European Area of Recognition Manual - Practical guidelines for fair recognition of qualifications

The EAR manual presents standards and guidelines on all aspects of the recognition of foreign qualifications and aims to provide credential evaluators from recognition bodies (cf. ENIC-NARICs) with a practical tool to assist them in their daily recognition work. The manual aims to create more clarity regarding recognition practices in all European countries and to contribute to a joint recognition area of higher education. In this area, all European countries practice a similar methodology in the recognition of qualifications, based on commonly agreed standards and guidelines. A more harmonised and transparent recognition practice is put forward as essential for the quality of student mobility in Europe and its key role in the European Higher Education Area. The manual positions itself in the global dimension of the Bologna Process, for which the recognition of qualifications has been identified as a key area of co-operation.

Editors: Lokhoff, J., Wegewijs, B.


The Lisbon Recognition Convention is the cornerstones of recognition in Europe (and beyond), but the convention leaves room for interpretation. This has led to a range of different recognition practices between countries, which is one of the major obstacles for fair recognition and thus for the mobility of students. The EAR project takes a big effort to harmonise these recognition procedures. It contributes to a European Higher Education Area for Recognition in which all European and other LRC-countries practice a methodology of recognition that is based on similar standards. To this extent, a manual has been published, containing standards, examples of good practice, and practical guidelines for recognition. These guidelines have been developed to be used in daily practice by credential evaluators, and have their basis in the Recommendation on Criteria & Procedures (RC&P) for the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications (see above).


The first chapter is a schematic outline of the recognition procedure. The following chapters cover a particular recognition topic and follow the schematic outline of a recognition procedure included in the first chapter. All these chapters follow the same structure. They start with a summary of the recommendations in a flow chart, followed by an introduction to the topic. Then each chapter includes a recommendation on how to deal with the topic, with illustrations and, where applicable, examples. At the end of each chapter the sources of the recommendation are provided, including the relevant articles of the Criteria and Procedures of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and for some topics a reference for further reading. The manual also includes a glossary of terms and a list of the sources used in this manual.


The European Area of Recognition (EAR) project started in 2009 with the aim to develop a manual providing a practical translation of the abstract principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, the international treaty on recognition of foreign qualifications which is relevant to the European area. The EAR project was necessitated by the fact that although everything had been discussed and researched, there still were different recognition practices in the European Region. These differences in practice were preventing fair recognition across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and were as such a serious obstacle for student mobility. The need was felt to focus on streamlining and convergence of the recognition practice according to the good practice available. To this end, the EAR project was started by a group of ENIC-NARICs, national information centres on recognition.

Inclusion in the Bologna Process

The recommendations included in the EAR manual are supported by the ENIC-NARIC networks and is supported by different stakeholders including the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and UNESCO. The use of the EAR manual has been recommended by the 47 ministers of education in the EHEA. In their Communiqué of April 2012 they “recommend its use as a set of guidelines for recognition of foreign qualifications and a compendium of good practices” .


Lokhoff, J., Wegewijs, B. (2012) European Area of Recognition Manual. NUFFIC.

See also