What is accreditation?
Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. The accreditation process is a means of peer review and professional self-regulation. It is intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of the university, confirming that it is worthy of public confidence. While this process is mandated, the self-study itself is largely an internal process that presents us with an invaluable opportunity to analyze how we are conducting our affairs and where to improve, where necessary, the ways that we do things.
Education plays a vital role in the development of any nation. Therefore, there is a premium on both quantity (increased access) and quality (relevance and excellence of academic programs offered) of higher education.
As in any other domain, the method to improve quality remains the same. Finding and recognizing new needs and satisfying them with products and services of international standards.
Benefits of accreditation
- Helps the institution to know its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities through an informed review process.
- Identifies internal areas of planning and resource allocation.
- Enhances collegiality on the campus.
- Provides, via the outcome, funding agencies objective data for performance funding. •Initiates institutions into innovative and modern methods of pedagogy.
- Gives institutions a new sense of direction and identity.
- Provides society with reliable information on quality of education offered.
- Shares access to information on the quality of education offered to potential recruits with employers.
- Promotes intra- and inter-institutional interactions.
Types of accreditation
There are two basic types of educational accreditation, one identified as “institutional” and one referred to as “specialized” or “programmatic”. Institutional accreditation normally applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution’s parts is contributing to the achievement of the institution’s objectives, although not necessarily all at the same level of quality.
Specialized accreditation normally applies to the evaluation of programs, departments, or colleges which usually are parts of a total collegiate or other post-secondary institution. The unit accredited may be as large as a college within a university or as small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized accrediting agencies review units within a post-secondary institution which is accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions. However, certain of the specialized accrediting agencies accredit professional schools and other specialized or vocational or other post-secondary institutions which are free-standing in their operations. Thus, a “specialized” or “programmatic” accrediting agency may also function in the capacity of an “institutional” accrediting agency. In addition, a number of specialized accrediting agencies accredit educational programs within non-educational settings, such as hospitals.
Accrediting agencies are organizations (or bodies) that establish operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs, determine the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announce their findings.
QU has a major goal to pursue accreditation for all the degree programs for which there are accrediting agencies. This aligns with its goal to maintain the quality of all educational programs, and with its philosophy of “Quality Management”.