Process for recognizing foreign degrees arduous

Process for recognizing foreign degrees arduous

Greek students with degrees from foreign universities face a long and arduous process to get their certificates recognized, according to a report by the Ombudsman that was made public on Monday amid rising fears that Britain’s possible exit from the eurozone will complicate matters further.

The standard waiting list at DOATAP, the agency responsible for the recognition of degrees from foreign institutions, and SAEP, the body for the recognition of professional qualifications, is eight months. It does not help that Greece has only 155 officially listed professions while there are 800 Europe-wide.

The Education Ministry last week submitted legislation to speed up the process of recognizing professional qualifications from other countries.

But processes are as slow at DOATAP as at SAEP, the report notes. The head of DOATAP, Eleni Papadopoulou, blamed understaffing and bureaucracy, noting that its 200,000 files are all in paper folders.

The recognition of foreign degrees is important as Greeks attend foreign universities in greater numbers than their European counterparts, Ombudsman chief Andreas Pottakis said. “The number of our students at foreign institutions exceeds the equivalent of Spain even though its population is five times bigger than Greece’s.”

The report called for a new framework for the recognition of foreign degrees and for the consolidation of the professional rights of graduates.

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