Challenges and Solutions in Higher Education Recognition



  • Dr. Harun Serpil, Anadolu University
  • Mehmet Şengül, Council of Higher Education


Internationalisation has been playing a profound role in higher education (HE) in view of the increasing international agreements and joint projects. Bologna Process and European Higher Education Area have paved the way to transform national HE systems into global systems that are becoming more comparable and transparent. Besides, international organisations including EUA, European Commission, UNESCO have in a great amount contributed to joint academic activities, conferences, seminars and workshops. According to the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report by UNESCO, over 5.3 million students (2 out of every 100 students) pursue their HE abroad, half of whom are studying outside their home region, which has increased the importance of prior learning recognition. There has been great progress in the implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention through ECTS, DS and other instruments, but recognition approaches need to be more coherent at the national and institutional level (Lantero et al., 2021).

This study aims to find out the challenges faced by Turkish graduates having completed their HE abroad and identify some effective solutions to address them. It is a qualitative study in which grounded theory is employed to extract the key concepts from the ideas of the interviewees (Glaser, 2001). A semi-structured interview form was constructed on the basis of expert opinions. The interviews were conducted with 30 graduates from eight different countries, all from the EU. Following the interviews with participating graduates, one focus group interview with five field experts and the other one with five HE staff in administrative positions were carried out to come up with common solutions and suggestions. According to the preliminary results, the challenges were classified as individual, institutional and national, requiring differentiated action. Based on the findings, some suggestions were made for HE policy makers.

Dr. Harun Serpil

Faculty Staff, Anadolu University
Dr. Harun Serpil currently works as an Asst. Professor at Anadolu University in Turkey. He graduated from the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Program of Anadolu University School of Education, Turkey in 1996, and went on to get his MA degree in TEFL from Bilkent University, Turkey in 2000. He was a visiting Erasmus scholar at The Estonian Aviation Academy in May 2014 and at Stellenbosch University in 2017. He earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction with a minor in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. Dr. Serpil has 25 years of experience in language teaching, testing and curriculum design at the university freshman level. Among his research interests are higher education (HE), phenomenology, Freirian critical pedagogy, transformative education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and language teacher education.

Mehmet Şengül

Expert, Council of Higher Education
Mehmet Şengül received his BA from Hacettepe University and MA from Mustafa Kemal University in the department of English Language Teaching and is going to complete PhD in the same field at the University of Anadolu.
After graduation, he worked as a language instructor at Ankara University from 2007-2010. In the period of 2010-2014, Şengül served as an Expert in International Relations Unit at Mustafa Kemal University dealing with Bologna Studies, ECTS implementation and Diploma Supplement between 2010-2014. He has also been working as an Expert in Multilateral Relations Unit of International Relations Department at CoHE of Turkey since 2014.
The areas of his expertise are ECTS, QF, QA, Internationalization and Mobility. He has a publication of a translation of ESG 2015. His foreign languages levels are C2 level in English, B1 in German and A2 in French.

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