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Correlation between Certificate Supplement and Diploma Supplement

Efforts have been made for many years and in many different fora to create greater understanding, better comparability and mutual recognition of the education and training programmes and resulting qualifications in different countries.

UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Council of Ministers, the European Commission, CEDEFOP, national ministries of education, and the Sokrates and Leonardo programmes are some of the most important parties and sources of finance involved in this work.

Diploma Supplement

As early as the late 1980s, UNESCO and the Council of Europe prepared a common diploma supplement (DS) which their member states agreed to use. However, the certificate was only used to a limited extent. In 1996/97 a new initiative was taken, one reason being the Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, which recommends the use of DS, another reason being a recommendation from the European Council of Ministers in 1996 concerning the development of a new common DS.

As a result of these recommendations, a working group funded by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO was established. This working group has prepared a common template for the diploma supplement, the use of which is recommended by all three organisations. The Lisbon Convention only concerns higher education. Consequently, only programmes of higher education were taken into consideration in the preparation of the diploma supplement.

Diploma Supplements are issued to all students finishing a higher education after September 2002.

Certificate Supplement

The idea of issuing certificate supplements is based on the same fundamental philosophy as the one applying to the diploma supplements, but the initiative to prepare them in relation to vocational education and training was taken at a later date.

In 1992 and 1996, the European Union adopted a resolution that listed a number of recommendations and initiatives which were to improve mutual information concerning national systems of qualification, and which were to make the systems more transparent.

However, a subsequent survey showed that little progress had been made in this area. The most important initiatives were take in relation to the Leonardo programme, which had granted funds for several projects concerning mutual recognition of education programmes and better understanding of and information about the systems used in other countries.

In November 1998 the European Commission, CEDEFOP, the member states, EFTA and the social partners therefore decided to establish a European Forum in the field of Transparency of Vocational Qualifications".

The objectives of the work carried out by the European Forum are:

  • to further mutual understanding of various European validation and certification systems and generally accepted interpretations of them (the issue of exam certificates, school-leaving certificates, education and training certificates and certificates of apprenticeship);
  • to contribute to the monitoring of new thinking and innovation in the field of transparency and recognition of qualifications; and
  • to support member states, the European Commission and the social partners in their efforts to ensure increased transparency and better comparability in relation to vocational qualifications.
    The work carried out by the European Forum has resulted in a common template, which will form the basis for the preparation of certificate supplements concerning qualifications and skills acquired in vocational education and training programmes in a member states.

In Denmark, the certificate supplements are published by the Danish Agency for Higher Education on request from the Danish Ministry of Education.

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last modified January 03, 2014