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Mutual Recognition Agreements

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A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is an accord by which two or more accrediting entities agree to provide equal recognition to all programs accredited separately by each one of the entities who are parties to the accord. With regard to accreditation in engineering, engineering technology and computing, several MRAs have been signed in the last three decades. This list of international accords and declarations represents major milestones in transnational recognition of accreditation decisions. The motivation behind these agreements is the growing need to ascertain that degrees of graduates from programs in one country or region be recognized in another.

International Accreditation Agreements:

  • Washington Accord, 1989
    This multinational agreement set in motion the progression toward the mutual recognition of engineering accreditation. The major focal point was to attain the substantial equivalency of accredited engineering degrees among the respective signatory countries. It recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by signatory bodies and recommends that graduates of programs accredited by any body be recognized by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering.
  • Bologna Declaration, 1999
    The Bologna Declaration is the is the main guiding document of the Bologna process, which was adopted by the ministers of education of 29 European countries in 1999, and affirmed the establishment of three degree levels: bachelors, masters, and doctoral. It supports a European Higher Education Area in which students and graduates move freely between countries, using prior qualifications in one country as acceptable entry requirements for further study in another. 

Other Significant Agreements and Programs

  • Lima Accord, 2016
    The Lima Accord is a multilateral agreement amongst Latin American and Caribbean organizations that are responsible for the voluntary accreditation of undergraduate engineering programs within their respective jurisdictions.  Signatories are committed to the development and recognition of good practices in the delivery of engineering programs and have decided to work together so that once their programs obtain accreditation, the substantial equivalence of these programs can be recognized amongst the signatory agencies and thereby enabling the mobility of engineering professionals and the mutual recognition of the engineering qualifications to support the globalization of careers.
  • Seoul Accord, 2008
    Under the initiative and leadership of six Founding Signatories-ABEEK (Republic of Korea), ABET Inc. (USA), ACS (Australia), BCS (United Kingdom), CIPS (Canada) and JABEE (Japan)-the Seoul Accord was launched in 2008 with the aim of establishing mutual recognition of equivalent professional preparation for graduates of educational programs in the Computing and IT-related disciplines accredited by the member agencies, to lead to enhanced mobility of professionals.
  • London Communiqué, 2007
    At this meeting, the Bologna Ministers agreed that the EHEA was significantly closer to realization but that a new Bologna Process would be needed by 2010 to meet the challenges presented by Europe's burgeoning "knowledge society." They established a European Register of Quality Assurance, to be managed by institutions, students, and quality agencies. They reaffirmed the need for strong and autonomous universities and vigorous efforts in fostering the employability of their graduates. 
  • Bergen Conference, 2005
    After a mid-term review of the Bologna Process, the participants adopted the overall framework for EHEA qualifications, the degree cycles, and the credit granted. They set a goal for the work to be started by 2007 and set up priorities for the "second half" of the Bologna Process, up to 2010. At this conference, five new members, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, signed the Bologna Accord. Also joining as consultative members were the trade unions' EI (Education International); the employers' association, UNICE; and ENQA (European Association of Quality Assurance).
  • Glasgow Declaration, 2005
    At this conference, the European University Association underlined the commitment of the European universities to move the Bologna reforms forward. The declaration stressed the need for balance between competition and cohesion, as well as for governmental support and university implementation of the needed educations improvements. This is the first clear statement addressing the crucial funding issues inherent in the Bologna Process reforms.
  • Graz Declaration, 2003
    This major European University Association policy document set forth the formal position of European universities and their priorities for the next phase of the Bologna Process. The Graz Declaration stressed the need to transform the wealth of legislation changes into meaningful academic reform and sought a wider role for European universities on a global scale.
  • Berlin Communique, 2003
    The Berlin Communiqué reviewed the progress made through the Bologna Process and set the EU Commission goals up to 2005. Educational representatives determined quality as the key need, and stressed the need to develop mutual criteria and methodologies for quality assurance. International co-operation, co-operation, and networking were identified as important objectives.
  • Dublin Accord, 2002
    The Dublin Accord is an agreement for the international recognition of engineering technician qualifications. Four national engineering organizations (UK, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa) agreed on the mutual recognition of qualifications for engineering technician titles. The resulting accord operates in the same way as the Washington and Sydney Accords, and has subsequently included additional signers.
  • Prague Communique, 2001
    The declaration reaffirmed the commitment of the thirty-three European signatory countries to the Bologna Process. They emphasized these action items: to foster lifelong learning, to encourage active participation of students in the process, and to promote the global appeal of the European Higher Education Area. They also set priorities and goals for the coming years.
  • Salamanca Declaration, 2001
    European educational representatives met to discuss and prepare their input for the upcoming Prague meeting of Bologna Process ministers. They developed these principles: autonomy with accountability, education as a public responsibility, research-based higher education, and effective organization of valuable diversity.
  • International Professional Engineers Agreement (IPEA), 2001
    Previously known as the Engineers Mobility Fourm, the IPEA is a global agreement that allows Chartered Engineers to practice in the countries of other members. This multi-national agreement helped lay the groundwork for an international standard of competence for engineering professionals.
  • Engineering Technologist Mobility Forum, 2001
    This international forum was held by the signatories of the Sydney Accord to explore mutual recognition for experienced engineering technologists and to remove artificial barriers to the free movement and practice of engineering technologists amongst their countries. 
  • Sydney Accord, 2001
    Pioneered by the Engineering Council of the UK (ECUK) to complement the Washington Accord and signed in 2001, the Sidney Accord recognized the equivalency of degrees for engineering technologists or incorporated engineers in the signatory countries. The outcome is that an engineering technology programs which has been approved in one country would be accepted by the other Accord signatories as equivalent to their own accredited engineering technology degree and diploma programs.
  • Sorbonne Declaration, 1998
    At a key meeting for European educational reform, the four ministers of France, Germany, Italy, and UK proposed a harmonization of “the architecture of the European higher education system through inter-university agreements to remove barriers existing in the overall European degree framework. They proposed a common degree level system for bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. A primary aim was to improve student mobility and employability.
  • Lisbon Recognition Convention, 1997
    This convention promoted the mutual recognition of qualifications without discrimination among European countries. It aimed at affirming that degree holders from one of the UK member countries would be recognized, without qualifications, in any of the other signatory countries. More recently, the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee set forth their Recommendation on the Recognition of Joint Degrees.

Significant Labels

  • Euro-Inf Quality Label, 2010
    EQUANIE (European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education e.V.) develops criteria and procedures for the evaluation and quality assurance in informatics study programmes and education and awards the Euro-Inf Quality Label via recognized accrediting bodies to degree programmes that comply with the Euro-Inf Framework Standards and Accreditation Criteria.
  • EUR-ACE Label, 2014
    Under the initiative of ENAEE (European Network for Engineering Accreditation), in Brussels, Belgium, 13 authorised agencies (Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement, known as the EUR-ACE® Accord, whereby they accepted each other’s accreditation decisions in respect of Bachelor and Master degree programmes which they accredit.