Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB)
The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) is a department of the secretariat of the Permanent Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder (KMK) in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is the central office for the rating and ranking of foreign school and university certificates.
The ZAB informs an advises all German offices and public authorities charged with recognising foreign certificates at regional level. For example the ministries of culture and sciences, universities, student-exchange organizations, scholarship organizations, the German offices for the promotion of vocational training (BaFöG) and the federal offices charged with recognising vocational qualifications.
The ZAB keeps a comprehensive documentation on foreign educational systems and provides corresponding information publicly on database, for further information see anabin. Persons searching for information on the rating and ranking of their certificates with regard to the German educational system are enabled to get a first evaluation.
On an international level the ZAB cooperates closely with the national centers of equivalence in the countries of the European Union (NARIC), the European Council and the UNESCO (ENIC). Being the German center of equivalence the ZAB holds a stake in preparing and carrying out negotiations on bilateral agreements pertaining to mutual acceptance of certificates acquired in the course of university education (so called 'Agreements on Equivalence').
Foreign offices charged with the approval of educational qualifications can obtain informations on the German educational system through ZAB thereby facilitating the process of evaluation and approval of German certificates.