What is accreditation?
- Accreditation is the status granted to an institution or programme that has been found, through self-study and peer review, to meet or exceed stated guidelines of educational quality.
- Accreditation is a voluntary activity that promotes self-evaluation, self-regulation and accountability. The role of the accrediting body is to ensure quality through encouraging the improvement of educational standards.
- Accreditation provides services to general constituencies: associated institutions, their students, and the public.
- Institutional Accreditation focuses on the institution as a whole, and its ability to manage the development and delivery of quality programmes.
- The institution must produce evidence that it has in place an internal quality assurance mechanism that is effectively managing quality across the entire institution, to the level of the programmes. That mechanism and its impact on institutional systems and features are the primary focus of the evaluation. Programmes are sampled as evidence of how the system works.
The Value of Accreditation
To the institutions
- The accreditation process allows institutions to perform self-evaluation and self-direction towards institutional and programme improvement.
- It enhances an institution’s capacity for change and facilitates a structured mechanism for research, self-analysis and self-improvement.
- Accreditation provides public certification of acceptable institutional quality thus enhancing the reputation of an institution and its programmes and inspiring confidence in the educational community and the public it serves.
- Accreditation provides an opportunity for consultation and advice from persons of other institutions and professional bodies (local and international).
To the student
- Accreditation provides students with an assurance that the educational programme(s) of an institution have been found to be satisfactory and should therefore meet the needs of the student.
- An award from an institution with an accredited programme provides:
- students with a prerequisite for entering a profession;
- a basis for admission into further studies by both local and foreign educational institutions and;
- assistance in the transfer of credits between institutions through the general acceptance of credits among accredited institutions and where the credits to be transferred are appropriate to the receiving institution.
To the public
- Accreditation provides an assurance of external evaluation of the programme and a determination that there is conformity to general expectations.
- It provides an identification of institutions and programmes which have voluntarily undertaken and successfully completed explicit activities towards improving the quality of their offerings.
- It provides an avenue for improvement in educational services available to the public as it facilitates improvement in educational services available through mechanisms for continuous programme evaluation leading to modifications reflecting changes in knowledge and practice generally accepted in the particular field.