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Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Isabel Nybø, has reaffirmed Norway’s support to the Council of Europe’s European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR) project, by increasing the allocated budget for 2019 to NOK 1 million (approximately EUR 100 000), compared to NOK 550 000 (approximately EUR 55 000) in 2018. The EQPR project is now in its second three-year phase (2018-2020) (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, October 2017 and March 2018) and, given its positive outcomes, the project is ready to scale up in order to allow more people to benefit from it.
Minister Nybø announced Norway’s continued financial support of the project into 2020, and she started discussions with the Council of Europe and UNESCO for potentially transforming it into a global project. At present, nine countries (Armenia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK) are actively carrying out research and assessments to grant more refugees the qualifications passport, while Spain is willing to join soon, following the large influx of refugees it has recently experienced.
So far, the EQPR enabled 249 people to receive their qualifications passport and 21 refugees to be enrolled at universities in Europe based on their qualifications passports. The importance of fostering this initiative, and the recognition of prior learning in general, was also highlighted during the Peer Learning Activity (PLA) organised by ACA in September 2018 in the context of the GREET (Guiding Refugees via European Exchange and Training) project. The PLA participants identified the EQPR as an issue of highest relevance and a good practice for entering university and agreed on the need to further implement the initiative.