Global convention on higher education

Global Convention on Higher Education

Today, out of 220 million students worldwide, 5.3 million are studying abroad, up from 2 million in 2000. Half of the 5.3 million are studying outside their region. In November 2019, the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education was adopted by the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference, becoming the first United Nations treaty on higher education with a global scope. 

The Global Convention establishes universal principles for fair, transparent and non-discriminatory recognition of higher education qualifications and qualifications giving access to higher education and offering avenues for further study and employment. With provisions on non-traditional learning modes, the Global Convention also facilitates the recognition of qualifications, prior learning and study periods earned remotely. In addition, it promotes the recognition of refugees’ qualifications, even in cases where documentary evidence is lacking. 

By ratifying the Global Convention, countries commit to strengthening international cooperation in higher education, raising its quality at home and worldwide, and helping make academic mobility and the recognition of qualifications a reality for millions around the world. 

It is open to UNESCO Member States and the Holy See. As of February 2022, it has 10 States Parties and requires 10 more to enter into force. Model instrument of ratification.  

UNESCO Global Convention on Higher Education


A milestone on the field of education, the new Convention will help ensure the right to education worldwide by facilitating people´s access to higher education. 

What does “recognition” mean?
Practical Guide to Implement the Global Convention

Higher education conversations

UNESCO is organizing a series of conversations on higher education in the leadup to the 3rd World Higher Education Conference, taking place in Barcelona, Spain from 18 to 20 May 2022.

higher education conversations

For more informatin, contact Ms Vanja Gutovic, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France -