Bircham International University is a provider of non-formal or non-traditional education. Non-formal education programs do not follow the contents and requirements established by a Ministry of Education, thus BIU non-formal distance learning higher education programs can not lead to degrees officially recognized by a Ministry of Education. Officially validated degrees are required for certain government positions and professional licensure. BIU distance learning degrees can not be used for these purposes.
According to the Spain Ministry of Education non formal education programs are highly demanded by adult learners. All the affairs involving non formal higher education in Spain are NOT the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. BIU degrees can not be homologated or validated by the Ministry of Education due to the non-formal nature of the BIU program. BIU degrees and academic transcript can, however, be internationally legalized with The Hague Apostille Certificate or Consulate Legalization (for non-Hague signatory countries) for their use and validation in many countries.
Recognition of diplomas in the European Union
Recognition of titles is an important instrument to facilitate the free movement of students and of graduates in Europe. Also at the occasion of the "Prague Ministerial Conference" on Higher Education (May 2001), "Ministers strongly encouraged universities and other higher education institutions to take full advantage of existing national legislation and European tools aimed at facilitating academic and professional recognition of course units, degrees and other awards, so that citizens can effectively use their qualifications, competencies and skills throughout the European Higher Education Area". In order better to understand the Community rules on the recognition of diplomas, a distinction must first be made between recognition for academic purposes (i.e. : you would like your title to be recognized because you wish to continue your studies) and recognition for professional purposes (i.e. : you would like your title to be recognized because you wish to work in a certain profession).
There are not European provisions imposing recognition of diplomas (except for certain regulated occupations). That is why there are currently no diplomas that are recognized at European level for academic purposes. Universities, which are autonomous institutions, are entirely responsible for the content of their curricula and for awarding diplomas and certificates to students. The diplomas and certificates are recognized by the authorities of the Member State concerned. However, the European Commission has encouraged mutual recognition (for academic purposes) between the various education systems in Europe.
As regards recognition for professional purposes, it is important to distinguish between professions that are regulated from the standpoint of qualifications and non-regulated professions. A profession is said to be regulated when it is a statutory requirement to hold a diploma or other occupational qualification in order to pursue the profession in question. In that case, the lack of the necessary national diploma constitutes a legal obstacle to access to the profession.
It is important to note that the EU Directives did not set up a system of automatic equivalence between diplomas. There is no such thing as a list of diplomas that are automatically recognized at European level, since a diploma is not recognized for its intrinsic value but according to the profession to which it gives access in the country which awarded it. It is for the person concerned to submit an individual application specifying clearly which occupation they wish to pursue.
If the profession you wish to pursue is not regulated, you are subject to the rules of the labor market and the behavior of that market and not to any legal constraints with regard to your diploma. In that case, the system of recognition provided for by the EU Directives referred to above is not applicable. However, even if the said Directives are not applicable, you still have certain rights as regards the recognition of your diploma. The authorities of the host country are in any event obliged, under the Articles on freedom of movement of the EC Treaty, to take account of your professional diplomas and qualifications acquired in another Member State.
In 2014, Bircham International University was admitted into the Open Education Europa as a private and independent institution of distance learning higher education at university level. Open Education Europa is the European Commission gateway to European innovative learning.
Other relevant references from the Government of Spain are:
* Spain ICEX - Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior
* Spain Ministry of Consumer Affairs (INC)
* Spain Ministry of Economy
Spain Ministry of Education
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