Andorra

Andorra is a sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the south.

RegionSouthern Europe
CapitalAndorra la Vella
LanguageCatalan
Population77,543
Expenditure on higher education1 %
Unemployment2,2 %
EuroUniversities in top 1000
EuroUniversities in top 2500
EuroUniversities in top 5000
EuroUniversities in top 10000
Students2,000
Foreigner students1,2 %
Enrollment rate in higher education82,1 %

The first higher education qualifications: the 1990s

At the end of the 1980s young people were offered the possibility of continuing their studies in Andorra, beyond secondary school, meeting the specific needs of the world of employment and favouring the services sector, which was gaining importance in the economic and society of Andorra. In this regard, the Government, through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, required the National Information Technology Centre to prepare a school project for advanced training in IT.

Higher education in Andorra started in the 1988-1989 year with the creation of two university schools, under the Government Decree of 4 August 1988: The University School of Nursing of Andorra (Escola Universitària d’Infermeria d’Andorra) started to offer the Diploma Universitari d’Infermeria, a higher education university qualification that lasted three years. The Information Technology School of Andorra (Escola d’Informàtica d’Andorra) started to offer the Diploma Professional d’Informàtica, a higher vocational training qualification in the advanced vocational cycle in management IT. Later on, in 1993-1994, this School started to offer the Diploma Universitari en Informàtica de gestió (DU-ig) qualification. In 1998-1999, the same school widened its offer in higher vocational training with the Diploma Professional d’Informàtica qualification in the vocational advanced cycle in administration and finance.

• Non-university higher education vocational qualifications

Since 2006 the Diploma Professional Avançat (DPA) has been awarded, a higher vocational training qualification offered by the Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA) in two branches: administration and finance and management IT. The DPA is the successor to the Diploma Professional d’Informàtica qualification that was offered from 1988-89, in the advanced vocational cycle in management IT, and from 1998-99, in the advanced vocational cycle in administration and finance.

• University qualifications before the integration of Andorra into the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)

The Government of Andorra issued the Diploma Universitari d’Infermeria qualification from 1991 to 2002. The University School of Nursing of Andorra (Escola Universitària d’Infermeria d’Andorra) offered this training, with a duration of 3 years.
The Government of Andorra issued the Diploma Universitari en Informàtica de gestió (DU-ig) qualification from 1996 to 2002. The Information Technology School of Andorra (Escola d’Informàtica d’Andorra) offered this programme, of 3 years duration. The Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA), created in 1997, offered various qualifications: – Diplomatura: qualifications of 3 years duration issued from 2002 to 2014. – Llicenciatura: qualifications of 4 years duration issued from 2006 to 2018. There were also qualifications of 2 years duration accessed with a Diplomatura qualification.

• University qualifications adapted to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)

According to the Decree of 14-4-2010 to approve the Regulation for the organization of state university degrees, higher education structure has 3 cycles:

1st cycle: Bàtxelor and Bàtxelor d’especialització The bàtxelor qualifications have a workload of 180 ECTS credits and a duration of 6 semesters. They were first awarded in 2009. These qualifications can be studied at the Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA) and at the Universitat Oberta La Salle (La Salle Open University; UOLS).

The bàtxelor d’especialització qualification in midwifery has a workload of 120 ECTS credits and a duration of 4 semesters. It is accessed with an official higher education qualification in nursing. It was first awarded in 2009. This qualification can be studied at the Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA).

2nd cycle: Màster The màster qualifications have a workload of 120 ECTS credits and a duration of 4 semesters. They were first awarded in 2017. These qualifications can be studied at the Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA) and at the Universitat Oberta La Salle (La Salle Open University; UOLS).

3rd cycle: Doctor The doctor qualifications have a minimum duration of 3 years full-time. They were first awarded in 2013. These qualifications can be studied at the Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA) and at the Universitat Oberta La Salle (La Salle Open University; UOLS).

ANDORRAN FRAMEWORK OF HIGHER EDUCATION QUALIFICATIONS (MATES)

MATES is the system covering all the state higher education qualifications in accordance with the Decree of 27-1-2010 establishing the Andorran Higher Education Qualifications Framework. MATES includes the higher education programmes that lead to a state qualification (diploma professional avançat, bàtxelor, bàtxelor d’especialització, màster and doctor), offered by universities and public or private higher education centres recognised by the Government of Andorra and authorised to teach for state qualifications.

In accordance with the premises of the Dublin descriptors, and in line with the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the MATES defines, in terms of referential minima, the competencies that students must acquire in each level of higher education.

• Access to the diploma professional avançat and bàtxelor programs

There are several routes for accessing higher education under Decree of 24-4-2013 amending the Decree of 12 May 2010 regulating access to the state Bàtxelor degrees and Decree of 3-52006 creating the Diploma Professional Avançat:

  • Títol de batxiller qualification. – Títol de batxiller professional qualification. – Any official higher education qualification. – Passing the access test for people over 25 years old.

Títol de batxiller. Obtaining this qualification requires a qualificació final de batxillerat (final qualification of the two last years; QFB) equal to or higher than 5 points out of 10. The QFB is calculated by applying 60% of the nota acadèmica de batxillerat (mark in the academic baccalaureate; BAT) and 40% of the prova oficial de batxillerat (national test; POB).

Títol de batxiller. Obtaining this qualification requires a qualificació final de batxillerat (final qualification of the two last years; QFB) equal to or higher than 5 points out of 10. The QFB is calculated by applying 60% of the nota acadèmica de batxillerat (mark in the academic baccalaureate; BAT) and 40% of the prova oficial de batxillerat (national test; POB).

Títol de batxiller professional. Obtaining this qualification requires a qualificació final de batxillerat professional (final qualification; QFB PRO) equal to or higher than 5 points out of 10. According to the study modality, the QFB PRO is calculated as follows: o For attending candidates, 50% of the nota de l’avaluació de centre (mark from the evaluation by the centre; NAC) and 50% of the prova oficial de batxillerat professional (official vocational national test; POB PRO). o For free candidates, it is calculated by taking the mark of the POB PRO and its coefficients with a value of 100%, after being present at all the examinations. o For candidates with recognition and validation of vocational experience (reconeixement i validació de l’experiència professional; REVEP), the final outcome of the títol de batxiller professional corresponds at the consideration of pass or fail.

• Access to the bàtxelor d’especialització programs in midwifery

1st cycle official higher education qualification in nursing is required to access the bàtxelor d’especialització programs in midwifery.

• Access to the màster and doctorat programs

According to the Decree of 14-4-2010 to approve the Regulation for the organization of state university degrees, a bàtxelor degree grants access to the cycle of màster, and a màster degree grants access to the cycle of doctorat, at the end of which a doctor’s degree is obtained.
HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS IN ANDORRA

In Andorra there are three universities:

  • Universitat d’Andorra (University of Andorra; UdA). This university is public and is the first that was created in Andorra, with the Law of universities, of 30-7-97. It is currently regulated by Law 15/2018, of 21 June, of University of Andorra. o You can find more information about this university here.
  • Universitat Oberta La Salle (La Salle Open University; UOLS). This private university was created in 2010 by means of the Law 86/2010, of 18 November, authorising the creation of the Universitat Oberta La Salle. o You can find more information about this university here.
  • Universitas Europaea IMF. This university is legally established in Andorra by means of the Notice 10th April 2019 related to the opening of the private university Universitas Europaea IMF. This University has not started to teach any program, yet. o You can find more information about this university here.

There was also the Universitat de les Valls (University of the Valleys; UdV), a private university that was created in 2008 by means of the Law 23/2008, of 30 October, authorising the creation of the Universitat de les Valls, and which ceased activity in 2016 with Law 8/2016, of 28 June, definitively closing the Universitat de les Valls (UdV). This university offered the Màster en Odontologia (2nd cycle official higher education qualification in dentistry). The curriculum of this qualification was approved in 2012 and was repealed in 2015. No Andorran degree of Dentistry has been awarded.
GRADING SYSTEM IN HIGHER EDUCATION

• Grading system for the diploma professional avançat (DPA) studies

According to the Decree of 3-5-2006 creating the Diploma Professional Avançat, the evaluation process is based on the continual evaluation of the subjects. Each subject has a numerical grade from 0 to 10 in fractions of half a point. To achieve the 60 ECTS credits of each course the student must obtain a weighted average of the subjects higher than or equal to 5. To make the weighted average all the subjects must have a grade higher than 2.5. To attend the second year, the first year must have been passed. To obtain the diploma professional avançat the student must obtain a weighted average higher than or equal to 5 in each of the two years and successfully pass the training stage in the business.

• Grading system of the studies of bàtxelor, bàtxelor d’especialització and màster

According to the Decree of 18-2-2009 related to the system of European credits and qualifications of the bàtxelor and màster degrees in higher education, the results obtained by the student in each of the subjects of the curriculum is graded on the following numerical scale from 0 to 10, with expression of one decimal point.

Numerical grade Description From 0 to 4.9 Fail (suspens; S) From 5.0 to 6.9 Pass (aprovat; A) From 7.0 to 8.9 Good (notable; N) From 9.0 to 10 Excellent (excel·lent; E) Honours award (matrícula d’honor; MH): excellent with special mention

• European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

The higher education institutions use this system in accordance with Decree of 18-2-2009. The total number of ECTS credits established in the curriculum for one academic year is 60. This amount of credits refers to the workload of a full-time student during a minimum of 34 weeks and a maximum of 40 weeks per academic year. 1 credit equals between 25 and 30 hours of workload.

• Scoring system for doctorat studies

According to Decree of 23-4-2008 of creating the qualification of Doctor, the doctoral thesis is assessed in one of the following classes: fail (no apte), pass (aprovat), good (notable), excellent (excel·lent) and excellent cum laude (excel·lent cum laude).
QUALITY ASSURANCE IN HIGHER EDUCATION

The Agència de Qualitat de l’Ensenyament Superior d’Andorra (AQUA; Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Andorra) guarantees the quality of higher education in Andorra.

AQUA was created on 22 November 2006 under the Decree to approve the Regulation governing the creation and operation of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Andorra. This Regulation was amended by the Decree of 14-07-2009. Law 9/2016, of 28 June, creating the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in Andorra (AQUA) repealed these decrees and AQUA changed its structure, becoming an institution under public law and substantially changed the composition of its governing body so as to adapt to the standards of the European Higher Education Area.

The purpose of AQUA is to evaluate, accredit and certify the quality of higher education in Andorra in accordance with the principles of the European Higher Education Area, and the criteria established in the European Standard Guidelines for Quality Assurance 2015.

The curricula of the bàtxelor, màster and doctor programs are accredited every six years.
DIPLOMA SUPPLEMENT (DS)

Law 12/2008, of 12 June, of higher education ordered the new qualifications adapted to the European Higher Education Area. From then on, together with the issuing of the qualification, the Diploma Supplement (DS) is also issued for all bàtxelor, màster and doctor qualifications.

The Decree of 27-8-2008 modifying the decree regulation the issuing of the Diploma Supplement regulates the aspects relating to the issuing of the Diploma Supplement and grants this responsibility to the University.

DELIVERING THE DIPLOMA

All qualifications adapted to the European Higher Education Area (bàtxelor, bàtxelor d’especialització, màster and doctor), all previous (diplomatura, llicenciatura) and the diploma professional avançat, are issued by the Government of Andorra and are signed by the minister responsible for higher education and the Rector of the University.

The Diploma Universitari d’Infermeria, Diploma Professional d’Informàtica and Diploma Universitari en Informàtica de gestió qualifications, are issued by the Government of Andorra and are signed: – From 1991 to 1993, the Counsellor of Education, Cultural and Youth. – In 1994, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports. – From 1995 to 2002, the Director of Education and the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports.

The qualifications are identified with an alphanumerical code and are entered in the Official Registry of Qualifications.

The qualifications issued from 1991 to 1994 are entered in the Special Registry of the Qualifications Section.

The students usually receive the diploma and the DS some months after finishing their studies.

• List of official higher education qualifications

This file is for consulting the higher education institutions that have existed and currently exist in Andorra, as well as the qualifications that have been awarded and are currently awarded: o Non-university higher education qualifications o University higher education qualifications before the integration of Andorra in the EHEA. o University higher education qualifications after adaptation to the EHEA.

• Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC)

Andorra ratified on 22 April 2008 The Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region, signed in Lisbon on 11 April 1997.

RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN HIGHER EDUCATION QUALIFICATIONS

• Introduction

In the 1970s, under the Decree for exercising liberal professions in the Principality of Andorra approved by the General Council on 11 July 1977, Spanish and French official higher education qualifications were recognised. Qualifications from other countries required prior recognition by Spain or France, as Andorra did not have its own system for recognising qualifications.

With its integration into the European Higher Education Area, Andorra signed the Lisbon Convention (LRC) of 1997 on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region, and in year 2009 it started adapting its legal regulations for recognising qualifications and approving foreign periods of higher education, in accordance with the guiding principles of this agreement.

The Law 14/2018, of 21 June, of higher education, establishes that it is the Government that officially recognises academic qualifications. The Department of Higher Education, Research and Scholarships is responsible for resolving applications for access to higher education presented by people who have a foreign qualification and want to start or continue their higher education in Andorra, and also for the academic recognition of foreign higher education qualifications and for reporting on academic aspects connected with the professional recognition of qualifications. The Department acts as the ENIC centre in Andorra and it is the principal provider of information about the Andorran educational system and foreign educational systems.

• Academic recognition

This recognition has academic effects and it is a good information tool for companies and other employers. However, it does not have professional effects for the practice of regulated professions, as provided in article 6 of the Decree of 26 February 2014 approving the Regulation of recognition of qualifications and approving periods of higher education.

Any person who has a foreign academic higher education qualification can apply for academic recognition of it via the Application for academic recognition of higher education qualifications.

Details must be given in the application form and the specified documents must be attached. All these documents must be presented in person, with the processing fee (€8.58), to the Servei de
Tràmits (Administration Service) of the Andorran Government, at the address: Carrer Prat de la Creu, 62-64, AD500 Andorra la Vella, phone: +376 875 700. The application will be evaluated in a maximum period of two months from the date of entrance of the application, if all required documentation has been attached. If any complementary documentation or information is required, the period may be extended by one month. The applicant must be informed of this circumstance. The Andorran Government sent by mail the resolution digitally signed to the applicant. The resolution could also be collected from the Servei de Tràmits (Administration Service) of the Andorran Government.

Criteria for recognition For the academic recognition of foreign qualifications consideration is given to the premises contained in the Manual of standards and guidelines for recognition (EAR Manual) and at the Revised Recommendation on Criteria and Procedures for the Assessment of Foreign Qualifications, adopted at the fifth meeting of the Committee of the Lisbon Recognition Convention in 2010.

The resolution of academic recognition of higher education qualifications establishes the equivalence of the foreign qualification at one of the levels of the Andorran Framework of Higher Education Qualifications (MATES).

Foreign qualifications are assessed according with the following criteria: – Status of the higher education institution that issues the qualification. – Level of the studies in the country that issues the qualification. – Outcome of learning. – Duration of the studies; teaching load and workload. – Previous qualification and the level that qualification grants access.

Resolution and procedure to appeal

When recognition is granted, qualification is composed to one level of MATES framework. Recognition is not granted when substantial differences are found to any levels of the MATES framework.

If the recognition is not granted, or the applicant does not agree with the level with which the qualification has been recognised, an administrative appeal may be made within one calendar month from the date of the notification, in accordance with article 14 of Law 45/2014, of 18 December, amending the Administration Code, of 29 March 1989. This is done by filling in and signing the Appeal process and delivering it to any of the processing services of the General Administration. The resolution of the appeal is final.

• Professional recognition

Section 1 of article 6 of the Decree of 26 February 2014 approving the Regulation of recognition of qualifications and approving periods of higher education refers to professional recognition as the official accreditation of the value of a foreign higher education qualification allowing the exercise of a profession and specifies: “Foreign higher education qualifications are recognised professionally as long as there are no substantial differences between the profession in the issuing country of the qualification and the profession in the Principality of Andorra, in relation to the activities that are performed and the knowledge and competencies necessary for its correct practice. However, the legal requirements of each case must be met.”

European Higher Education Organization is a public organization carrying out academic, educational and information activities on higher education in Europe.

The EHEO general plan stresses that:

  • Higher education systems require adequate funding and, as an investment in economic growth, public spending in higher education should be protected.
  • The challenges faced by higher education require more flexible governance and funding systems, which balance greater autonomy for education institutions with accountability to stakeholders.

Thus, EHEO plans:

  • improve academic and scientific interaction of universities;
  • protect the interests of universities;
  • interact more closely with public authorities of European countries;
  • popularize European higher education in the world;
  • develop academic mobility;
  • seek funding for European universities.