Quality assurance in postsecondary education is becoming increasingly important in the new educational environment that encompasses a growing international trade in educational services, the expansion of the number and types of institutions offering degrees and other programs in Canada, the increased mobility of students and graduates, and the need for students, parents, governments, educational institutions, and international partners to better understand education in Canada. International agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the UNESCO/OECD Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education, the UNESCO/Council of Europe Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region (known as the Lisbon Recognition Convention), and those of the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) organization, specifically address accreditation, recognition, and the need for improvements in student mobility; they are also creating pressures and sharpening the focus on the importance of quality-assurance procedures.
Canadian jurisdictions realized that it was increasingly important to have a set of consistent and coherent standards at a pan-Canadian level to facilitate mobility and transferability domestically, and to increase understanding of Canada's postsecondary-education institutions and credentials internationally. The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) issued the Canadian Degree Qualifications Framework, which describes degree categories and sets out degree-level standards, in addition to statements of procedures and standards for assessing new degree programs and new degree-granting institutions. This framework provides a context for identifying how degree credentials compare in level and standard among jurisdictions, with a view to facilitating continuous improvement, the education and training of an internationally competitive workforce, and international recognition of the quality of Canadian credentials.
Comprehensive review of this information: February 2009