More about ECA
The European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education (ECA) is an association of recognised accreditation and quality assurance agencies in Europe. The vision of ECA is to act as an internationally acknowledged driver of innovation in accreditation and quality assurance in higher education. With its expertise, networking and services ECA contributes to the implementation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), promotes internationalisation of higher education and “state of the art” activities of its members.
More about NVAO
Although the governments of the Netherlands and Flanders fund NVAO the organisation is totally independent in procedures, methodologies and decision-making. NVAO is responsible for an area where 22 million people live. There are over 150 higher education institutions where almost one million students are enrolled.The quality assurance system before the Bologna Declaration was signed in 1999 had a focus on programmes and was essentially an external assessment of a programme by an assessment panel (of peers). After the Bologna Declaration was signed the governements of the Netherlands and Flanders wished to increase the international transparency of its higher education. Furthermore, in the context of the new European bachelor and master qualifications a need arose to benchmark these new bachelor and master degrees.
The Netherlands and Flanders are among the most open economies in the world and in the light of the internationalisation of the labour market, the governments also wanted to internationally guarantee the quality of its higher education. The Netherlands and Flanders therefore introduced programme accreditation and made accreditation a precondition for public funding, for the right to award officially recognised qualifications (diplomas) and for granting study finance to students (eg. grants, social services). In addition to programme accreditation, institional audits were recently introduced.
Apart from its role as an accredition organisation, the NVAO plays a proactive role in higher education issues and policies. In the international arena, the NVAO sees itself as an active member of its ‘umbrella’ organisations: globally (INQAAHE), regionally (ENQA) and topically (ECA).