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Cyprus: Universities

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether access to education at all levels is a human right under current United Kingdom or European Union legislation; what will be the impact of the Bologna process on the recognition of third-level degrees from universities in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is precluded from membership of the Bologna process; and what impact the Lisbon recognition convention (Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region, Lisbon, 11.IV.1997) will have on graduates from Northern Cypriot universities in 2010 when the Bologna process ends. [HL4081]

Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights—and the UK reservation to that convention—is incorporated into the Human Rights Act 1998. Article 2 provides that UK citizens shall not be denied the right to education. There is currently no equivalent EU legislation. One of the main aims of the Bologna process is to improve the recognition of all higher education qualifications across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

A key mechanism is the Lisbon recognition convention. The convention does not lead to automatic recognition of qualifications but requires ratifying states to ensure that there are fair processes for the assessment of qualifications from other countries. This could and should include qualifications awarded by institutions in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.