Ukraine: support for the recognition of qualifications and skills of refugees

On 24 February 2022, after weeks of escalating tension, Ukraine saw the beginning of a major conflict, that is ongoing at the time of writing.

As of 14 March, approximately 2.5 million people have fled into the neighbouring countries of Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, while some are seeking refuge in a number of other European countries.

Kindergartens, schools, colleges and universities in many regions of Ukraine have been closed and some have experienced significant physical damage to building infrastructure. As the situation continues to unfold, recognition bodies, credential evaluators, NGOs and admitting institutions may be seeking advice on how best to handle applications from refugees and displaced persons fairly and sensitively. Many of these individuals may have incomplete or missing education documentation; independent verification in these circumstances can be challenging.

What methods can credential evaluators employ in these situations?

Credential evaluators, admissions officers and others processing applications from Ukraine could make use of the following techniques:

  • Develop clear procedures

Dedicated systems can be put in place to receive and process applications from refugees, and relevant staff can be fully trained to make informed judgements quickly and confidently.

  • Implement self-assessment methods

In the total or near-total absence of education documentation, self-assessment questionnaires may be a useful method of gathering an applicant’s key qualification information and checking their levels of knowledge associated with the course they studied. This also allows evaluators to cross-check programme details such as examination dates and assessment methods and therefore to verify the qualification.

  • Conduct interviews

Personal interviews with applicants are an opportunity to gather information verbally; some applicants may feel more comfortable expressing themselves verbally rather than in writing. Evaluators can also ask for further details on points specific to an applicant’s course and clarify any inconsistencies arising within the information given. Interviews can be conducted in person, on the phone or via an online platform.

  • Establish verification checking procedures

Comparison of certificates and transcripts against genuine examples and use of verification services are helpful in determining the authenticity of documents. Other approaches may involve skills testing, practical examinations, sector-specific questionnaires etc, which can be developed in partnership with education institutions, vocational training providers and professional bodies where appropriate.

Credential evaluators and international admissions officers can also make use of the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees, an ongoing programme developed in partnership with our counterpart ENIC-NARIC agencies in Europe. This programme uses a structured interview methodology to ascertain the qualification and skill levels of individuals who have missing or partial qualification documentation. Please email refugee@ecctis.com if you would like further information.

How can UK ENIC help?

UK ENIC understands the necessity to assist those with refugee and refugee-like status to access further study and employment in the UK. Resources on the Ukrainian education system and qualifications are available on our database:

  • Ukraine country file [UK ENIC login required for the links below]

The country profile for Ukraine contains extensive information on the in-country School, Higher Education and Technical and Vocational education systems, as well as a newly published FAQs page with easily accessible advice on the most frequently asked questions. There is also a List of Recognised Higher Education Institutions and a Qualification List that includes all mainstream academic and vocational awards and their comparisons, and a number of certificate examples.

We also have a number of procedures in place to accommodate the variances encountered in applications from refugees:

  • We can work with incomplete educational documentation

We apply a flexible approach to refugee applications in terms of which documents we accept. Where significant documents are missing, such as final certificates, we provide information on our Statements of Comparability to confirm the documents that we have reviewed.

  • We can use alternative methods of assessment

If an applicant has no documentation at all, we can conduct a phone interview to help us put together contextual information that may still help. Again, information is added to the resulting Statement that outlines the details provided to us by the applicant.

  • We offer reduced-fee ‘bundles’ of refugee Statements

We also offer reduced-price bundles for charities supporting refugees.

Please contact refugee@ecctis.com if you would like more information on how UK ENIC can support you with qualifications held by refugees from Ukraine.

Continual monitoring

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has published an interactive map which records the number and location of education institutions that have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict. The map is available in English and Ukrainian and is updated daily.

At UK ENIC, we will follow further developments and continue to gather information on changes to the education system in Ukraine.

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