In the month of November in 2019, the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris assembled higher education ministers along with other high-ranking representatives. The aim of this gathering was to introduce the UNESCO Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants.
The methodology of Qualifications Passport that has been developed by NOKUT (Norwegian ENIC-NARIC) was introduced for the first time in Norway in the year 2016. Based on the experience of Norway, the Council of Europe has also introduced a European Qualifications Passport for the Refugees in 2017.
The UNESCO Qualifications Passport has taken that concept to a global scale, it could become a huge worldwide tool for the recognition of refugees’ qualifications.
In the last few years, the Qualifications Passport methodology has been successfully tested and implemented in many countries. This includes Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Italy, France, Lebanon, and the Netherlands. Now that the methodology is being implemented at the UNESCO Qualifications Passport, it is literally put to the test. If it is successful when applied in several different contexts all over the world, it could have a huge impact.
On the 4th of December 2019, the story of Timothée was published, a Congolese refugee who escaped to Zambia. He held a doctor’s degree and had been practicing medicine in Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, he was unable to show sufficient proof of his qualifications and hence could not put them to proper use.
Less than fifteen percent of the migrants in the developed countries have the jobs matching their level of education, says the joint UNESCO-UNHCR report. At present, only three per cent of refugees have access to higher education, according to UNHCR.