The Value of Accreditation
The over-riding purpose of accreditation is to assure:
- Educational Quality which is defined and interpreted within the context of the institution's/programme's statement of scope and purpose as compared with conditions that are believed to be necessary and desirable to produce educational quality; and by looking at evidence that theprogramme does achieve the stated outcomes.
- Institutional Integrity, that is, determination that the programme is in fact what it says it is and does what it says it does.
In fulfilling its purposes, accreditation provides services to several constituencies: institutions, students, and the general public.
To the Institutions
- The 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 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 (a) students with a prerequisite for entering a profession; (b) a basis for admission into further studies by both local and foreign educational institutions; (c) 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 through mechanisms for continuous programme evaluation leading to modifications reflecting changes in knowledge and practice generally accepted in the particular field.