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Awarding the label

Work Package 4 of the EDLab project focused on the design and testing of the joint European degree label and label certificate.

Data collection and data analysis

A format and design that best fits current practices of higher education institution full partners (full and associated) within EDLab was developed through a stepwise approach. Samples of joint diplomas and joint diploma supplements as currently used in practice by EDLab HEI partners were collected. Alongside, information on the national / regional / institutional prescriptions that apply to the issuing and (co-)awarding of diplomas and corresponding diploma supplements was gathered via an online survey. 

 

A more elaborate description of the data collection and data analysis activities can be found in Deliverable 4.1. ‘Repository of existing joint degree models’, Deliverable 4.2. ‘Report on (joint) degree certificate prescriptions’, and Deliverable 4.3. Report on the options for a digital joint European degree label’.

Format and design of a joint European degree label certificate

Via the identification of common denominators among joint diplomas, joint diploma supplements and applicable prescriptions, a format for a joint European degree label certificate was decided upon. As experience with digital credentialling for joint diplomas had proven to be limited, the joint European degree label certificate takes the form of a stand-alone, complementary certificate. 

As per the design, EDLab aims for the label certificate to reflect as much as possible the look and feel of a potential future ‘joint European diploma’, as an impetus to a transnational harmonization that could be accompanied for in the national / regional regulatory frameworks. A label logo is included onto the label certificate and serves as key visual identifier of the label initiative.

A more elaborate description of the co-design process of the EDLab label certificate and label logo can be found in Deliverable 4.4. ‘Template for a joint European degree label certificate’.

Testing of the label and label certificate

The final stage of work package 4 was dedicated to pilot issuing a personalized joint European degree label certificate to graduates from joint programmes that are considered to be compliant with the common European criteria. The exercise was performed in two stages. 

Joint programmes of EDLab higher education institutions partners were screened against the common European criteria via a stepwise approach to determine their compliance. The process of identification was performed jointly by the leads of work package 4 (Ghent University (BE)) and work package 2 (University of Cádiz (ES)). From self-screenings against the minimum requirements, via checking compliance with the joint degree criterium in particular, through dedicated interviews with the joint programme coordinators remaining on the shortlist, three joint programmes were finally nominated as candidate to participate in the pilot issuing exercise. In addition to feeding the process of issuing the label certificates, the results from the identification activity informed the discussion on the formulation of the label criteria and assessing compliance therewith.

The three selected joint programmes showed a strong tradition of highly integrated transnational cooperation in their fields as well as strong, interdisciplinary academic offer with embedded physical mobility and with attention to the labour market and societal perspectives, future-proof skills and common European values. Personalized joint European degree label certificates were successfully issued to a total of 59 graduates from the three joint master’s programmes. Obstacles as well as opportunities to issuing label certificates are identified.  

The programmes are as follows: 

  1. The International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE)

  2. The Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Chemical Innovation and Regulation (ChIR)

  3. The Erasmus Mundus Master in Quality in Analytical Laboratories (EMQAL)

Prior to the start of the pilot projects, no framework nor guidelines were available to facilitate the process of identifying compliant joint programmes or of issuing label certificates. The stepwise approach that was designed in EDLab context to perform the compliancy exercise and to pilot issue label certificates was therefore experimental and practice-oriented in nature. Results were reached through learning by doing and by continuously building on the lessons learned in the previous steps. Strong evidence was collected based on which suggestions and recommendations are formulated on the added value of the joint European degree label, a future labelling procedure and evaluation of compliance, and on the design and issuing of the joint European degree label certificate. 

A more elaborate description of the process of identifying compliant joint programmes and pilot issuing joint European degree label certificates can be found in Deliverable 4.5. ‘Report on the pilot issuing of a joint European degree label certificate following the compliancy exercise’.

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