What is accreditation?
Accreditation is the status granted to a programme or institution that has been found, through self-study and peer review, to meet or exceed established standards for educational quality. The status is determined through the process of evaluating the programme or institution against the standards.
Accreditation is voluntary and promotes institutional self-evaluation, self-regulation and accountability. The role of the accrediting body is to ensure the attainment and maintenance of quality through the application of educational standards.
Programme accreditation focuses on individual programmes but also addresses many of the dimensions that relate to the broader institutional environment.
Institutional Accreditation focuses on the institution as a whole, and its ability to manage the development and delivery of quality programmes.
Accreditation has value to general constituencies, including: associated institutions, their students, and the public.
The Value of Accreditation
To the institutions
- allows institutions to perform self-evaluation and self-direction towards institutional and programme improvement.
- enhances an institution’s capacity for change and facilitates a structured mechanism for research, self-analysis and self-improvement.
- 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.
- 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 or the institution has been found to be of satisfactory quality and therefore meets the needs of the student.
An award from an accredited institution/programme provides:
- a basis for admission into further studies at both local and foreign educational institutions;
- assistance in the transfer of credits between institutions through the general acceptance of credits from accredited institutions/programmes and where the credits to be transferred are appropriate to the receiving institution; and
- an opportunity for students with a prerequisite for entering a profession, as applicable.
To the public
- an assurance of external evaluation of the programme and a validation that there is conformity to general expectations;
- an identification of institutions and programmes which have voluntarily undertaken and successfully completed explicit activities towards improving the quality of their offerings; and
- an avenue for improvement in educational services, available to the public, through mechanisms for continuous programme evaluation, leading to modifications that reflect changes in knowledge and practice generally accepted in the particular field.