Higher education accreditation


Higher education accreditation is a type
of quality assurance process under which services and operations of
post-secondary educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external
body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met,
accredited status is granted by the agency.
In most countries around the world, the function of educational accreditation
for higher education is conducted by a government organization, such as a
ministry of education. In the United States, however, the quality assurance
process is independent of government and performed by private membership
associations. The United States-based Council for
Higher Education Accreditation, a non-governmental organization, maintains
an International Directory which “contains contact information of about
467 quality assurance bodies, accreditation bodies and Ministries of
Education in 175 countries. The quality assurance and accreditation bodies have
been authorized to operate by their respective governments either as
agencies of the government or as private organizations.” In September 2012,
University World News reported the launching on an international division
of the CHEA. Canada
Canada does not have a system of national or regional accreditation.
Provincial legislation and membership in the Association of Universities and
Colleges of Canada are substitutes. Some universities seek evaluation from
American regional accreditation agencies.
France In France the main accreditation
authority is the Ministry of National Education. Every public institution
Accreditation by collation of academic degrees : whereas institutions of higher
education issues diplomas, only the ministry can award degrees. It is the
main accreditation level, automatically awarded to public universities.
Accreditation by visa : the second-tier accreditation. Only for private
institutions. Accreditation by recognition : the
third-tier accreditation. Only for private institutions.
In some education fields, the Ministry must take official advise from special
bodies. The Ministry follows in almost every case the body advice.
Business Schools : the official consultation body is the Commission
d’évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion. There two levels of
accreditation. Accreditation by collation of master’s
degree. Accreditation by visa.
Engineering Schools : the official consultation body is the Commission des
Titres d’Ingénieur. It is an accreditation authority for private
schools, but only an advising body for public schools.Accreditation of
Engineer’s degrees. Vocational education : the consultation
body is the Commission Nationale de la Certification
Professionnelle.Accreditation by inscription on the Répertoire national
des certifications professionnelles, which is a five-level listing.
The Conférence des Grandes écoles, which is a non-profit association, issues
three accreditations: Accreditation of Mastère Spécialisé,
only in grandes écoles, Accreditation of Mastère en sciences,
only in grandes écoles, Accreditation of Bilan d’aptitude
délivré par les grandes écoles, only in grandes écoles.
French schools, mainly Business Schools, may seek non-French accreditation.
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
Association of MBAs European Foundation for Management
Development European Quality Improvement System, the
more prestigious EFMD Programme Accreditation System.
Germany The Standing Conference of the Ministers
of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of
Germany was founded in 1948 by an agreement between the states of the
Federal Republic of Germany. Among its core responsibilities, the KMK ensures
quality development and continuity in tertiary education. Bachelor and Master
programs must be accredited in accordance to a resolution of the
Kultusministerkonerenz. The German Council of Science and
Humanities was founded on September 5, 1957, and conducts institutional
accreditation of private and religious universities since 2001.
The Foundation for the Accreditation of Study Programs in Germany or
Accreditation Council was created in a KMK resolution on October 15, 2004. The
Accreditation Council certifies accreditation agencies and establishes
guidelines and criteria for program and system accreditation. There are
currently ten certified agencies. AHPGS – Accreditation Agency for Study
Programs in Special Education, Care, Health Sciences and Social Work
AKAST – Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Canonical Study
Programs ACQUIN – Accreditation, Certification
and Quality Assurance Institute AQAS – Agency for Quality Assurance by
Accreditation of Study Programs AQ Austria – Agency for Quality
Assurance and Accreditation Austria ASIIN – Accreditation Agency for Degree
Programs in Engineering, Informatics/Computer Science, the
Natural Sciences and Mathematics evalag – Evaluation Agency
Baden-Württemberg FIBAA – Foundation for International
Business Administration Accreditation OAQ – Swiss Center of Accreditation and
Quality Assurance in Higher Education ZEvA – Central Evaluation- and
Accreditation Agency These agencies accredit programs of
study for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and quality management systems
from state or state recognized Higher Education institutions in Germany and
abroad. AKAST only accredit programs of study.
Hong Kong The Hong Kong Council for Accreditation
of Academic and Vocational Qualificati is appointed by the Secretary for
Education of Education Bureau as the Accreditation Authority and QR Authority
under the Qualifications Framework of Hong Kong.
Assessment is made with reference to local and internationally recognised
standards through a process of peer review. The HKCAAVQ will issue an
accreditation report on the outcome of the accreditation activity.
India Accreditation is compulsory for all
universities in India except those created through an act of Parliament.
Without accreditation, “It is emphasized that these fake institutions have no
legal entity to call themselves as University/Vishwvidyalaya and to award
‘degrees’ which are not treated as valid for academic/employment purposes.” The
University Grants Commission Act explains,
“the right of conferring or granting degrees shall be exercised only by a
University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, or a State
Act, or an Institution deemed to be University or an institution specially
empowered by an Act of the Parliament to confer or grant degrees. Thus, any
institution which has not been created by an enactment of Parliament or a State
Legislature or has not been granted the status of a Deemed-to-be-University, is
not entitled to award a degree.” Accreditation for higher learning is
overseen by autonomous institutions established by the University Grants
Commission. In 2012, Seattle Times wrote about
“Poorly regulated, unaccredited and often entirely fake colleges have sprung
up” around India in response to “demand for higher education accelerates, driven
by rising aspirations and a bulging population of young people.” India’s
higher-education commission reported that of more than 31,000
higher-education institutions, only 4,532 schools were accredited.
Ireland FETAC & HETAC are Ireland’s national
accreditation boards for both further and higher education qualifications in
Ireland. However qualifications gained abroad are recognized by the Irish
national qualification framework if accredited by a reputable organization
for example NCFE, City & Guilds, ICM, ABE, btec/edexcel etc.
Israel The Council for Higher Education is, by
a 1958 law, the only institution qualified to accredit universities and
colleges in Israel. The council acts as a reviewer of the activity of the
academic centers in Israel and sets terms and requirements for every degree
given. Italy
The formal system for accreditation of State University programs in Italy began
in 2001. The system involves two separate but correlated programs that
were instituted at the same time: First, each University went through a four-step
process to adopt and approve its own Regolamenti Didattici di Ateneo. The RDA
establishes the rules for the organization of teaching at the
university, including establishing the requirements and objectives of each
degree program, the curricula, credits awarded, and requirements and objectives
of examinations. The RDA’s were developed in consultation with
representatives of the individual university, the regional coordinating
committee, employers, and the National University Council, and are ultimately
approved by the Ministry of Education. Second, a series of formal, objective
standards was adopted as minimum requirements for approval of any
programs. In addition, there are other forms of
accreditation in Italy. These include: accreditation of degree programs in
engineering by the Council of Presidents of the Italian Faculties of Engineering
called SINAI, a national system for accrediting such programs; accreditation
of MBA programs by the independent agency, Association for Business
Management Trainingand a program for accreditation of non-state university
programs, which, since 1996, as involved a process of formal legal approval,
involving an independent review by the National Committee for Evaluation of the
University System and then issuance of a formal ministerial decree approving by
the issuance of degrees by the university.
Kenya The Commission of University Education
formerly known as Commission of Higher Education(CHE) is in charge of the
programs accreditation and the award of charters to institutions of higher
learning. The commission also serves as the monitoring & evaluation body to
ensure compliance towards quality of education offered by institutions under
charter. Malaysia
Accreditation was done by the Lembaga Akreditasi Negara, a statutory body
created through an act of Parliament, for certificates, diplomas and degree
courses provided by private higher educational institutions until 2007 when
the body was replaced with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.
Prior to the enactment of the legislations that provided for the
establishment of these bodies, no specific framework for accreditation
existed and institutions only required a valid registration status from the
Ministry of Education of Malaysia. Netherlands and Flanders
The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders is a binational
organization formed by treaty in 2003 to independently ensure the quality of
higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders by assessing and accrediting
programs. As a result of separate legislation in the two jurisdictions,
accreditation policies and procedures differ between the two countries.
Pakistan The main accreditation body for higher
education is Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. It regulates and formulates
laws governing all the degree awarding universities in Pakistan. The Higher
Education Commission, formerly the University Grant Commission, is the
primary regulator of higher education in Pakistan. It also facilitates the
development of higher educational system in Pakistan. Its main purpose is to
upgrade the Universities of Pakistan to be centres of education, research and
development.=Pakistan Engineering Council=
The Pakistan Engineering Council is a statutory body, constituted under the
PEC Act 1976 amended up to 24 January 2011, to regulate the engineering
profession in the country such that it shall function as key driving force for
achieving rapid and sustainable growth in all national, economic and social
fields. The council shall as its mission set and maintain realistic and
internationally relevant standards of professional competence and ethics for
engineers, and licence engineers, and engineering institutions to competently
and professionally promote and uphold the standards.
Its main statutory functions include registration of engineers, consulting
engineers, constructors/operators and accreditation of engineering programmes
run by universities/institutions, ensuring and managing of continuing
professional development, assisting the Federal Government as think tank,
establishing standards for engineering products and services besides
safeguarding the interest of its members. The council shall encourage,
facilitate and regulate working of professional engineering bodies for
creativity and as custodians of engineering under the umbrella of the
Council. PEC interacts with the Government, both
at the Federal and Provincial level by participating in Commissions, Committees
and Advisory Bodies. PEC is a fully representative body of the engineering
community in the country. PEC has also been providing support to
the Government in conducting technical enquiries and recommending remedial
measures on the subjects referred. Over the years, the Pakistan Engineering
Council has become an influential voice, which speaks for the engineering
profession as a whole in the country. It forms an effective bridge between
Government, industry and education. PEC maintains a very lean secretariat at
its headquarters at Islamabad and branch offices in all the provincial capitals.
Portugal The Portuguese Agência de Acreditação
for higher education is, since 2007, responsible for the publication of the
national ranking of higher education institutions and degrees.
Within the Bologna process a state agency was set up by the Portuguese
Government to offer central and regulated accreditation. Previously,
Portugal had used a system of professional accreditation and degree
recognition by sector, with a number of associations, Unions and Professional
Orders: the Ordem dos Médicos, the Ordem dos Engenheiros, and the Ordem dos
Advogados. The Sindicato dos Engenheiros Técnicos,
was created as the professional association of technical engineers, who
were not full chartered engineers, having as mandatory qualification a
simple short-cycle 3-year bachelor’s degree awarded by the Portuguese
polytechnical institutes and now discontinued since the mid-2000s.
The Associação de Técnicos de Contas, the Câmara de Revisores Oficiais de
Contas, and the Sindicato dos Enfermeiros are examples of
organizations which were oriented towards professions that at least until
the 1990s did not demand a specific academic degree. For example, to be
member of the Câmara de Revisores Oficiais de Contas, candidates needed to
have two years of experience and must have a degree in a range of possible
area. Like in other similar international associations, the Câmara
de Revisores Oficiais de Contas have very selective examinations.
Some organizations were upgraded later into Ordens like, for example, the Ordem
dos Farmacêuticos, the Ordem dos Arquitectos, the Ordem dos Biólogos, the
Ordem dos Economistas, the Ordem dos Enfermeiros, and the Ordem dos Revisores
Oficiais de Contas. In addition, the state through the ministry for higher
education, has usually been the central highest accreditation entity, and thus
it is illegal to award degrees without government approval.
For many years, there were state-accredited institutions, both
public and private, awarding unaccredited degrees by the Ordens. This
dubious situation changed in the mid-2000s with the deep reorganization
imposed by the Bologna process implementation in Portugal, the creation
of the new central state-managed Accreditation Agency and the foundation
of many regulated new Ordens covering dozens of professions until then
unregulated by this type of professional organization.
In 1999, over 15,000 students enrolled in Portuguese higher learning
institutions and newly graduates in the fields of engineering and architecture,
were enrolled or were awarded a degree in a non-accredited course. Those
students and graduates with no official recognition were not admitted to any
Ordem and were unable to develop professional activity in their presumed
field of expertise. At the same time, only one accredited engineering course
was offered by a private university, and over 90% of the accredited courses with
recognition in the fields of engineering, architecture, and law were
exclusively provided by state-run universities.
In 2007, the compulsory closing of some problematic and unreliable private
higher education institutions which in general had been accredited by the state
during the boom of private teaching of the 1990s, but usually without providing
any accredited degrees in accordance with the requirements of the main Ordens
was seen as a remedy of last resort in order to prevent a further loss of
credibility among some sectors within the non-public university higher
education. Russia
In Russia accreditation/national recognition is directly overseen by the
Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation. Since 1981, Russia
has followed the UNESCO international regulations to ensure Russian
institutions and international institutions meet high quality
standards. It is illegal for a school to operate without government approval.
The Russian Federation has a three-step recognition system:
License Accreditation.
Attestation There exist additional agencies, such as
the Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance and Career Development, which
conducts independent assessment of quality assurance of higher education
institutions. AKKORK is an independent professional agency in the field of
consultancy, conduct of the reviews, accreditation and certification of
education institutions.It should also be noted that in accordance with the
Russian legislation in such activities as: state supervision over compliance
with legislation of the Russian Federation on education, control over
compliance with licensing requirements and conditions, state control over the
education quality could be involved experts and expert organizations,
accredited in accordance with rules approved by the Government of the
Russian Federation . AKKORK on July 8, 2011 received the proper accreditation
in the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science.
Also can be mentioned the National Accreditation Agency of the Russian
Federation under Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation.[3] It
operates under the authority of the Federal Service of Supervision in
Education and Science. Scope of Authority: NAA is recognised as the
organisation in Russia responsible for dissemination of knowledge and
information on procedures of the state accreditation of HEIs. It develops
materials and methodological recommendations for conducting
self-evaluations and external reviews, trains experts, conducts research into
the development of QA of higher education in Russia, prepares the final
reports on the quality of the HEI. South Africa
In South Africa all higher education institutions are required to register
with the Department of Higher Education and Training. All qualifications are
registered by the South African Qualifications Authority in line with
the National Qualifications Framework. The Higher Education Quality Committee
of the Council on Higher Education accredits programs leading to a NQF
registered qualification. All programs offered by South African higher
education institutions must be accredited.
South Korea It is illegal to falsely claim a degree
in South Korea if it does not meet accredited approval. For example, in
March 2006 prosecutors in Seoul “broken up a crime ring selling bogus music
diplomas from Russia, which helped many land university jobs and seats in
orchestras.” People who falsely used these degrees were criminally charged.
United Kingdom In the UK it is illegal to offer a
qualification that is or might seem to be a UK degree unless the awarding body
is recognised by the Secretary of State, a Royal Charter or Act of Parliament to
grant degrees. Prosecutions under the Education Reform Act are rare, as many
unaccredited awarding bodies are based outside UK jurisdiction. It is also
worth noting in this context that the Business Names Act 1985 made it an
offence for any business in the UK to use the word “university” in its name
without the formal approval of the Privy Council.
Private higher and further education institutions are unregulated, but may
choose to become accredited by various non-regulatory bodies such as the
British Accreditation Council or the British Council and Accreditation
Service for International Colleges in order to demonstrate third-party
assessment of the quality of education they offer. The Universities Funding
Council, and Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council established in the UK
under the 1988 Education Reform Act have responsibility for the public funding of
the FE and HE sector. Prosecutions under legislation other
than the Education Reform Act 1988 do occur. In 2004, Thames Valley College in
London was prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act for offering degrees
from the ‘University of North America’, a limited liability company set up by
themselves in the US with no academic staff and no premises other than a mail
forwarding service. United States
The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education
Accreditation both recognize reputable accrediting bodies for institutions of
higher education. They also provide guidelines as well as resources and
relevant data regarding these accreditors. Neither the U.S. Department
of Education nor the CHEA accredit individual institutions. However the
National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity is
involved in certifying accrediting agencies, as it applies to the issue of
higher education institutions’ qualifications to disburse federal
financial aid to their students and their students’ ability to qualify for
federal financial aid. See also
Unaccredited institutions of higher learning
List of recognized higher education accreditation organizations
List of unrecognized higher education accreditation organizations
References External links
Stefanie Schwarz and Don F. Westerheikden, editors, Accreditation in
the framework of evaluation activities

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