Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Today, there enters into force the agreement "of a cultural and administrative character" between the Holy See and Taiwan on mutual recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees in higher education.
There are two areas that are regulated: the strictly academic and administrative area of the mutual recognition of studies, qualifications, diplomas and degrees, and that of cooperation in the field of higher education, which includes the presence of the Catholic Church in the Chinese-language University context.
With the above Agreement, a Vatican press release states, "the R.O.C. (Taiwan, ed) grants the Holy See both the recognition of diplomas and ecclesiastical degrees awarded all over the world, and respect for canon law on the structure and management of Catholic universities and ecclesiastical faculties of theology in Taiwan, and further still, the possibility of proposing Christian values even in academic faculties other than those of theology. These two guarantees are contained in Art. 2, which provides for the recognition of the unique character of the educational system, proper to ecclesiastical universities and faculties. This recognition implies respect for the canonical academic legislation, the protection of the Catholic profile of academic institutions, the exclusive jurisdiction of the Holy See for the contents, the programs and the appointment of administrators and teachers, as well as the individual written commitment (by teachers and administrative staff) to moral conduct compatible with Catholic doctrine and morals. The remainder of the Agreement, for the most part, involves the technical-bureaucratic aspects of the recognition of studies, qualifications, titles and degrees; this part quotes, often literally, the relevant regional conventions of UNESCO."
"The Agreement will also benefit ecclesiastics (priests, seminarians, and religious), who from mainland China will go to study at Fu Jen Catholic University of Taipei".
The Agreement, which consists of 23 articles written only in English, was signed in Taipei on December 2, 2011 by Card. Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (pictured with President Ma Ying-jeou), and by Wu Ching-ji, Minister of Education of the Republic of China (R.O.C.). On 20 November, the Parliamentary Assembly (Legislative Yuan) of the R.O.C. unanimously approved it.
This is an agreement "of a cultural and administrative character" (Art. 23), which was signed in the framework of the Regional Convention of UNESCO on the recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees in higher education in Asia and the Pacific, signed at Tokyo November 26, 2011 with the participation - among other countries - of the People's Republic of China and the Holy See.