In its procedures for the evaluation of foreign qualifications, University of Brescia applies a methodology in line with the criteria established by the Lisbon Recognition Convention (adopted in Italy with Law 148/2002) and in line with the practices shared at international level by the centres linked to the ENIC and NARIC networks.
The Section III of the Lisbon Convention deals with the fundamental principles for foreign qualifications assessment. They could be summarized as follows:
- anyone has the right to have his qualifications fairly assessed
- no discrimination shall be made on any ground such as the applicant's gender, race, colour, disability, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status
- institutions assess application for recognition of qualifications solely on the basis of the knowledge and skills achieved
- the procedures and criteria used in the assessment and recognition of qualifications must be transparent, coherent and reliable
- decisions on recognition shall be made on the basis of appropriate information on the qualifications and on the relevant educational systems (institution, study programme and qualification value and features)
- decisions on recognition shall be made within a reasonable time limit specified beforehand by the competent recognition
- the reasons for the refusal to grant recognition shall be stated, and information shall be given concerning possible alternative measures
In addition to the fundamental elements provided for in the Lisbon Convention, our university applies also the following principles:
- The evaluation of foreign qualifications is performed on a case-by-case basis, evaluating the individual qualification in correspondence with and according to the purpose for which recognition is requested in Italy.
- The refusal of recognition is based on the concept of "substantial difference", both in consideration of the elements of the corresponding foreign and Italian qualifications, and also taking into consideration the structural elements of the foreign system in question
- The assessment of the foreign qualification is only possible for official qualifications in the system of reference, that is, as issued by accredited/recognized institutions: not all qualifications considered official in a foreign system will be found acceptable for recognition in Italy in cases where one or more substantial differences exist
- The assessment is based on official documents in the original language issued by the country or by the foreign institution in question: any other document, such as a translation or self-certification, is to be considered as support for an evaluation
- The award of a foreign qualification through "special" procedures or paths, which differ from the ordinary methods of awarding the qualification or which are the result of methods of evaluation carried out by foreign institutions or centres, are generally to be considered as cases of "substantial difference"
- In addition to the understanding of the contents of the qualification, the assessment also takes into account the modalities in which the foreign qualification was obtained/awarded
- A previous assessment concerning similar qualifications has no binding power over future evaluations
The documentation requested by University of Brescia is relevant in order to understand the elements of the foreign system and those of the qualification to be evaluated.
As the assessment is carried out on a case-by-case basis, and also considering the fact that a qualification may have been obtained following different paths, the documentation requested is based on each individual case and may vary depending on the foreign country of reference of the qualification, where the studies took place and the institution(s) involved in the procedure.
Elements of the foreign qualification
In order to guarantee the correct evaluation of foreign qualifications, our university gathers the following information for each individual qualification to be evaluated:
- Official name of the qualification (in the original language)
- Official name and status of the institution that has awarded the qualification (awarding institution)
- Official name and status of the institution which provided the tuition – where different from the former case (teaching institution)
- Accreditation/recognition of the course
- Nature of qualification
- Level of qualification
- Length of course
- Number of credits
- Academic and professional rights
- Specific elements (e.g. the presence of a final thesis)
- Study curriculum
These elements can be found directly in the official documentation provided by the holder of the qualification, or through official sources in the country that awarded the certificate.
Elements of the foreign system
Our university, in order to arrive at a correct evaluation of foreign qualifications, obtains the following information on each single foreign system of school and higher education, as well as on the basis of and in consideration of any reforms. For example:
School education and final qualification
- Years of schooling required for access to higher education
- Existence of different scholastic institutions and of different final qualifications in upper secondary schools (diversified/non-diversified systems)
- Existence of specific elements required by institutions to access higher education
- Institution or body that awards final qualification
- Binary or unique system of higher education
- Denomination of academic qualifications and their specific qualifications
- System of evaluation of progress and methodology used by institutions for grades
- Institution or body which awards final qualification
- Qualifications which permit access to subsequent courses
- Legislation and national rules: laws and principal norms on the subject of secondary and higher education
- International, bilateral or multilateral agreements on the subject of recognition of qualifications and/or the standardisation of systems
- Rules for accreditation/recognition of higher education institutions and of single study programmes
- Existence of a quality control system for institutions belonging to a national system that operate abroad
Qualifications of holders of international protection
Our university applies Article VII of the Lisbon Convention, adopted in Italy by paragraph 3bis of Article 26 of Legislative Decree no. 251/2007 and confirmed in the Procedures issued yearly by the Ministry of University and Research concerning admission to higher education of candidates holding foreign qualifications:
«Each Party shall take all feasible and reasonable steps within the framework of its education system and in conformity with its constitutional, legal, and regulatory provisions to develop procedures designed to assess fairly and expeditiously whether refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation fulfil the relevant requirements for access to higher education, to further higher education programmes or to employment activities, even in cases in which the qualifications obtained in one of the Parties cannot be proven through documentary evidence».
Pursuant to the above mentioned provisions, paragraph 8 of Article 10 in the University of Brescia Students' regulation establishes that foreign qualifications achieved by holders of international protection status will be assessed even though relevant documents are incomplete or missing. University offices refer to indications and methodologies defined by ENIC-NARIC centers, along with effective recognised international procedures.
«Per l’ammissione ai corsi di studio l’Ateneo valuta l’idoneità dei titoli di studio conseguiti all’estero da titolari dello status di rifugiato o di protezione sussidiaria in Italia, anche nei casi in cui i titoli non possono essere comprovati dai relativi documenti.
A tal fine l’Ateneo si avvale dell’esperienza e della certificazione prodotta dai centri ENIC-NARIC nonché delle buone pratiche stabilite a livello internazionale in materia di accesso di titolari di protezione internazionale.
Il Rettore provvede a valutare specifici casi residuali di Studenti profughi o in condizioni simili a quelle dei rifugiati in materia di requisiti per l’accesso ai Corsi di Studio».