CHAPTER 3

ACCREDITATION AND QUALITY ASSURANCE (STATUS OF THE INSTITUTION)

RECOMMENDATIONS

Verification of institution/ programme status

Credential evaluators should verify the status of the institution and/or programme through which the qualification was awarded and check whether the institution and/or programme belong to the education system of a given country.

Reliance on quality assured by competent bodies

Credential evaluators should rely on accreditation or quality assurance by competent bodies as evidence that an institution or programme complies with minimum quality standards.

No distinction should be made between qualifications or periods of study earned at private versus public institutions, as long as the private institution is recognised and/or accredited by competent authorities.

Example: Accept (qualification of a private HEI obtained on completion of an accredited programme)

Example: Accept (recognized qualification from country with no accreditation system)

Points to check when establishing status of an institution/ programme

When establishing the status of the awarding institution and/or the programme it is recommended to check:

  • which authorities are involved in the recognition/accreditation process and whether the authorities involved in accreditation/recognition are themselves fully recognised in the system where they operate;
  • whether the focus of the recognition and/or accreditation system is on the recognition/accreditation of institutions or programmes, or both;

Example: Check programme accreditation if required

  • what procedures are involved in recognition/ accreditation and what levels and types of education do they cover:
    • is the education governed by national/regional/local legislation and is the status granted by this legislation;
    • does the procedure include quality assurance;
  • was the institution and/or programme through which the qualification was awarded recognised and/or accredited at the awarding date;
  • what terminology is used in a given higher education system with regard to recognition and accreditation: “accredited”, “recognised”, “validated”, “registered”, “chartered”, “approved”;

Need for further investigation in more specific cases

Some situations will demand further investigation into the more specific nature of the institution and/or the programme. These situations may arise in particular with regard to Transnational education, Qualifications awarded by joint programmes, Non-Recognised but Legitimate Institutions, and finally there is the case of Diploma and Accreditation Mills. These four specific topics are described in detail on pages 63, 66, 69 and 72 respectively.