Skip to content

Transferring Credits in Higher Ed 

Conrad Hughes, Education Advisory Board Member

Time Spent Learning Never Goes to a Waste copy

One of the global challenges we face in education is validating and accepting learning credentials across multiple settings. Students learning in one environment under the rules and regulations of a national curriculum or examination board might find that their courses will not be accepted by other countries or organizations.  

The Bologna process, which was designed to ensure comparability in the standards of higher-education European qualifications, took years to implement. Although it can be considered a major achievement, several countries were rejected from the final framework and the problem of educational equivalencies not being standardized still plagues learners across the world. We need the equivalent of the Bologna process for the world, not just Europe. 

Across the planet, thousands of students are told that they have to repeat degrees, take supplementary courses, or upgrade their learning certificates to be eligible for the standards of the institution or country they are joining. Is this fair? 

It can be extremely disheartening and is problematic at a number of philosophical and ethical levels. Is learning a purely technical exercise through which credentials can be quality-assured and stamped? How sensitive are certifying organizations to the cultural dimension of learning, the fact that different degree paths and the stories behind getting them are wrought with contextual details that ultimately will never be transferred conveniently? There must be some give and take. Finally, is it fair to make students do extra work when they have already proved themselves? A student lucky enough to be studying in a system that is internationally recognized will be able to go further and quicker than one who is not. How does this square with our global challenge enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023: Quality Education for All

At University of the People, our mission is to open learning to young people from across the world, to empower them, and to recognize their learning experiences. This is why UoPeople has been working hard on facilitating the transfer of credits. If you have formally invested your time learning but life got in the way, you can transfer eligible course credits to UoPeople to save time and money. 

Whichever educational environment you are in, possibly one that acts as a gatekeeper to students trying to come in, or you might be on the other side of that gate, doing what you can to have your students’ credentials recognized, let’s unite in an approach which is to encourage learning and to recognize it as much as we can, so that the stories of learning, as diverse as they are, might shine and be celebrated by all.