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					                      GUIDELINES FOR COMPLETION OF THE DIPLOMA SUPPLEMENT
What is the Diploma Supplement?
The Diploma Supplement is essentially an initiative of UNESCO-CEPES, the Council of Europe and the European
Commission. In 1996, a working group was established in order to “to examine…the introduction…of a European
administrative annex to the diploma, the aim being to facilitate transparency and recognition in States other than in
which they were dispensed”


Since then, the DS has been identified as one of the key instruments of transparency and recognition, and is referenced
in conventions and policy documents, including the Lisbon Recognition Convention and the Bologna Process. It is
designed to provide a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were pursued, and
successfully completed by the student named on the parchment associated with the Diploma Supplement. It should be
free from any value-judgements, equivalence statements or suggestions about recognition. The Diploma Supplement
is not a Curriculum Vitae, or a substitute for the original qualification. Furthermore, it does not guarantee
recognition of the qualification.


Why now?
In September 2003, Ministers with responsibility for higher education met in Berlin to review the progress made by
States party to the Bologna Process. The resultant statement (more commonly referred to as the Berlin Communiqué)
set the objective that “every student graduating as from 2005 should be receive the Diploma Supplement automatically
and free of charge. It should be issued in a widely spoken European language.” The Ministers further called for
“Institutions and employers to make full use of the Diploma Supplement, so as to take advantage of the improved
transparency and flexibility of the higher education degree systems, for fostering employability and facilitating academic
recognition for further studies.”


How has Ireland responded?
Since mid 2002, the Department of Education and Science established a National Steering Group on the Bologna
Process designed in the first instance to prepare an agreed position in the run-up to the Berlin Conference. It is
composed of representatives from:
     ∆     Higher Education Authority
     ∆     Higher Education and Training Awards Council
     ∆     National Qualifications Authority of Ireland
     ∆     Council of Directors of the Institutes of Technology
     ∆     Conference of Heads of Irish Universities
     ∆     Dublin Institute of Technology
(The USI were invited to join the group in November 2003.)


The group is chaired by the Higher Education Section (Universities) of the Department.




National Template for the Diploma Supplement              Page 1 of 5                                 December 2003
What about the Diploma Supplement?
The Steering Group recognised the need to take action on the development of a National Template for the Diploma
Supplement. In addition to those on the Steering Group, representatives from the Further Education and Training
Awards Council, along with the National ECTS co-ordinator were invited to join the Working Group. This was designed
to ensure, inter alia, complementarity with similar initiatives under the Copenhagen Process.


What is the Remit of this Group?
The objective of this group, which has met on a number of occasions in 2003, has been to adapt the model
recommended by the Council of Europe and UNESCO to the Irish Higher Education system. The Group agreed that
certain elements of Diploma Supplement required a national perspective. However, it was agreed that the National
Template, within certain parameters, would be subject to adaptation within the each Higher Education Institution.


What Level of Changes did the Working Group envisage?
The most obvious elements are the Institutions’ logos and positions held by signatories. Others may emerge in terms of
the grading schemes. However, it is important to note that given the discussion with employer interests, the format and
presentation of the document should not be changed.


Principles Governing the Development of the Diploma Supplement template
The Working Group considered it very important to establish some principles for their work at the outset. The Diploma
Supplement is viewed as but one tool as the holder interacts with other stakeholders. For the employer, it is an
additional document, which forms part of the Curriculum Vitae and is part of an interview process. Alternatively, for the
Registrar, it assists in the determination of the nature of the qualifications held by the prospective post-graduate. The
Diploma Supplement does not guarantee, for example recognition of the qualification held, or offer any judgement on the
course of education.


In the first instance, it is designed to elaborate for employers details (modules, grades etc) of the qualification secured
by the student. It is important to emphasise that the Diploma Supplement is not intended to replace any validation or
verification procedures, which the employers may pursue. The level of security with the form is minimal, with the
student’s name and identifiers being printed on each page of the document. However, there is no difficulty should
Institutions wish to develop additional security features. Secondly, it will provide Registrars in Higher Education
Institutions with academic details in order to assess the appropriateness of the qualification for further study e.g.
undergraduate to post-graduate studies.


However, the overriding principle in the work of the group was to ensure that the document should be simple, easy to
complete and bring added value to the stakeholders.


When should the Diploma Supplement be Issued?
It is recommended that the Diploma Supplement should be issued to Graduates within four weeks of the presentation of
the parchment to the student.




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What are the Plans for the rollout of the Diploma Supplement?
The Group considered this very carefully, and identified two phases to this project – a draft National Template would be
tested in a limited environment, and to this end, LYIT, DIT and DCU agreed to participate in this phase of the project.
The results of this stage will be considered in detail, in advance of a further rollout to all Higher Education Institutions.
The Department is anxious to meet the objective of the Berlin Communiqué, namely, the issue of the Diploma
Supplement to all students graduating in 2005.


Where can I Access Further Details on the Diploma Supplement?
The home page for Diploma Supplement is as follows:
http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/education/policies/rec_qual/recognition/diploma_en.html




WORKING GROUP ON THE DIPLOMA SUPPLEMENT
(Contact: Ian_McKenna@education.gov.ie)


DECEMBER 2003




National Template for the Diploma Supplement          Page 3 of 5                                        December 2003
                                               NOTE FOR COMPLETION OF DS

SECTION 1 - INFORMATION ON THE HOLDER OF THE QUALIFICATION
1.1   Surname as per parchment
1.2   First Name(s) as per parchment
1.3   Date of birth
1.4   Two identifiers should be used– the Institution’s Student identifier and the Personal Public Service Number


SECTION 2 - INFORMATION IDENTIFYING THIS QUALIFICATION
2.1   Title of Qualification (as per parchment). In the case of the NUI, this will be in Latin. An English translation will be
      supplied in brackets where this appears.
2.2   Institutions should identify the main discipline within the award, using the ISECD codes and titles from the EUROSTAT
      Fields of Education and Training Manual (December 1999) (see appendix A)
2.3   This may be the Institution itself, in the case of the Universities. In such cases, the more commonly known version of
      the Institution’s title should be used. However, in the case of other institutions, including the Institutes of Technology,
      the Higher Education and Training Awards Council should be entered here. A reference to the legal basis and status
      of the Institution should be made e.g. the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, a State body established by
      the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999. It is also recommended that in the case of those Institutions
      with delegated authority to make awards, a standard reference to the legal basis should be agreed with HETAC.
2.4   Similar to 2.3, Institutions should be identified by the more commonly known title, with a reference to the legal basis
      and status of the Institution.
2.5   In most cases, this should default to English. However, if a substantial part of the course is conducted through the
      medium of another language such as French or German, this should be recorded in this area.


SECTION 3 - INFORMATION ON LEVEL OF QUALIFICATION
3.1   This should identify the level of the award. It would not be appropriate at this point in time to refer to the level as per
      the National Framework of Qualifications.
3.2   The normal duration and number of credits should be identified. However, in order to allow for part-time mode over a
      number of years, a phrase such as “Part-time mode over a number of years (240 credits)” should be used.
3.3   The main option to reflect in this area is the Leaving Certificate, and the following phrase should be used:
      Leaving Certificate and/or Matriculation (or equivalent)
      Leaving Certificate and/or Matriculation (or equivalent) with programme specific requirements
      National Certificate
      Diploma
      Degree
      Further Education Awards
      Other Access routes, including direct application to Institution, Accredited Prior Learning.
      A reference, if appropriate, should also be made to the website, in order to identify entry requirements additional to
      these.


SECTION 4 - INFORMATION ON THE CONTENTS AND RESULTS GAINED
4.1   The options presented here should refer to ‘Full-time’, ‘Part-time’ and ‘Distance learning mode’. The latter is
      understood to embrace e-learning, correspondence etc.
4.2   The following phrase ‘Learner must pass all programme requirements, as prescribed in the Marks and Standards of
      the Institution’s Calendar’ should be used. The reader should also be referred to the website
4.3   The table identifies the key components of the course of study pursued by the individual student. The format should
      identify the Code (as per Institution’s Calendar), Module Title, marks/ grade awarded, ECTS credits and where
      appropriate, the ECTS Grade. Each stage/ year of the course should be identified.
4.4   As per the Institution standard, this should detail the grading scheme, with an appropriate notation on the applicability
      e.g. the final award applies to the last two stages etc.
4.5   This should identify the final grade of the award.




National Template for the Diploma Supplement         Page 4 of 5                                        December 2003
SECTION 5 - INFORMATION ON THE FUNCTION OF THE QUALIFICATION
5.1   This should identify further access paths available to the learner as a result of securing this qualification, and it should
      as far as possible reflect the majority of cases rather than exceptions e.g. this award entitles the holder to progress to
      Post-Graduate Level.
5.2   A number of awards entitle the student to apply for membership of professional associations e.g. the Institute of
      Engineers of Ireland.


SECTION 6 – ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
6.1   It is likely in the main that ‘not applicable’ will be the default entry in this section. However, there may be instances
      where it may be appropriate to record the fact that the holder completed, for example, a semester in another institution
      as part of the course requirements.
6.2   In addition to the Institution’s website, other websites should be identified here, including WWW.HEA.IE,
      WWW.NQAI.IE, WWW.HETAC.IE, WWW.EDUCATION.IE

SECTION 7 – CERTIFICATION OF THE SUPPLEMENT (Institution alone)
7.1   This date should be the date of issue of the Diploma Supplement
7.2   The signature should be that of an appropriate post-holder in the Institution
7.3   The position of that holder should be identified here.
7.4   An electronic version of the Institution’s stamp should be entered here.

SECTION 7 – CERTIFICATION OF THE SUPPLEMENT (Institution and Awarding Body)
In the case of those Institutions subject to an awarding body, the following details should be provided in respect of that
awarding body.
7.1      This date should be the date of issue of the Diploma Supplement
7.2      The signature should be that of an appropriate post-holder in the Awarding Body
7.3      The position of that holder should be identified here.
7.4      An electronic version of the Awarding Body’s stamp should be entered here.

SECTION 8 –DESCRIPTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM IN IRELAND
This is intended to present a description of the higher education system by reference to the interaction of the Government
Agencies, Higher Education Institutions and the National Framework of Qualifications. The diagrammatic summary of the
awards system is equally intended to represent the most common paths pursued through the education system.




WORKING GROUP ON THE DIPLOMA SUPPLEMENT
(Contact: Ian_McKenna@education.gov.ie)


DECEMBER 2003




National Template for the Diploma Supplement          Page 5 of 5                                        December 2003

				
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