ANECA - National Agency for the Quality Assessment and Accreditation

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Country: Spain
Name in English: ANECA - National Agency for the Quality Assessment and Accreditation
National name: ANECA - Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad y Acreditación

Agency's position within the national higher education system

Description of the agency

The National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain, ANECA, is a Foundation whose mission is to provide external quality assurance for the Spanish Higher Education System and to contribute to its constant improvement. The fulfillment of its mission is structured in the following functions:

  • To strengthen the enhancement of teaching, research and University Management activities.
  • To contribute to the performance appraisal of Higher Education according to objective. procedures and transparent processes.
  • To provide to the Public Administrations with appropriate information for the decision making.
  • To keep the society informed about target achievement of Universities in their activities

The history of the agency

ANECA was set up by the Agreement of the Council of Ministers, of 19 July 2002:

  • 2003 Founder member of ECA (European Consortium for Accreditation).
  • 2003 Member of RIACES (The Ibero-American Network for Accreditation of the Quality of Higher Education).
  • 2003 Joins INQAAHE (International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education).

2003 Founder member of ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education).

  • 2004 ENQA full member.
  • 2006 Founder member of REACU (Spanish network for higher education quality assurance agencies).
  • 2007 Organic Law 4/2007, of April 12, which modifies Organic Law 6/2001, of December 21, governing Universities
  • 2007 Royal Decree 1312/2007, of October 5, which establishes national accreditation for accessing university teaching bodies.
  • 2007 Royal Decree 1393/2007, of October 29, which establishes the arrangement of the official university teaching practices.
  • 2008 Joins EQAR (European Quality Register for Higher Education).
  • 2010 The first European agency to be awarded the INQAAHE Good Practices Certificate.
  • 2012 ANECA is externally reviewed by ENQA.

Legal framework

Ever since its creation in 2002 ANECA has been consolidating its technical and institutional role within the framework of Spain’s integration into the EHEA. The following regulations apply to the activity of the Agency:

  • Amendment of the organic law on universities (lou): Law 4/2007, of April 12
  • Universities Organic Law 6/2001, 21 December
  • Agreement of the Council of Ministers, of 19 July 2002
  • Statutes of the foundation “national agency for quality assessment and accreditation”.
  • RD 1312/2007 establishing national accreditation requirements to access to university academic staff.
  • RD 1393/2007, establishing the organization of university courses.
  • RD 861/2010, amending Royal Decree 1393/2007, establishing the organization of university.
  • RD 1614/2009, of 26 October, establishing the organization of higher studies in arts as regulated by Organic Law 2/2006, of 3 May, on Education.
  • RD 99/2011 regulating official doctoral studies.

Independence

The independence of the Agency is acknowledged in the Law that created it (Title V of the preamble and the LOMLOU art.32.2) and is also reflected in ANECA's Statutes (art. 7 and art.17). Its autonomy is reflected in the development of its assessment functions, namely:

  • In its mandatory Programmes (VERIFICA, MONITOR, PEP and ACADEMIA). A legal rule establishes the basis to be considered during assessment processes. Henceforth, the Agency is free to establish its own procedures, criteria and benchmarks for all Programmes. These evaluation procedures and criteria are designed according to strict technical standards, based on European benchmarks.
  • In the case of voluntary Programmes (MENCION, AUDIT and DOCENTIA). These are not regulated by any legislation. ANECA sets its objectives, designs the process, establishes the assessment criteria and benchmarks and selects the members of committees.
  • Regarding all Programmes: The selection of experts and committees is made based on the profiles established and according to their scientific-technical know-how, as described in the Programme they will be supporting. The said experts sign an ethical code that ensures the independence of their actions. Following-up their work is the responsibility of the units that work directly with them.
  • Regarding appeals: The Agency has an “Appeal Committee” that resolves any appeals regarding assessments, except in the case of ACADEMIA, which has its own appeal committees.

The amendment of the Statutes in 2011 has led to a number of improvements resulting from the application of the ESGs, such as the incorporation of students and representatives of the Spanish Universities Councils in the Board of Trustees.

Funding

ANECA's economic regime is regulated in Chapter IV of its Statutes. The Agency receives funds from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, as established in the State Budget (table 2.4). This item represents a major part of the Agency's income, as the bulk of its assessment processes (academic staff, programmes and institutional-level approach) are free. It also receives additional income through its participation in international projects and undertaking further assessments on request (and based on agreements), including the assessment of the grants provided by Fundación Caja Madrid and the training programmes for account auditors, among others. ANECA is at complete liberty to assign its budget to each activity carried out in order to achieve its compliance with the Statutes, allocating different items to each one of them. Given the public nature of the budget, we have an obligation of accountability to the state. Therefore, an audit is conducted on a yearly basis under the direction of the General Comptroller of the State Administration (Ministry of Finance and Public Administration). Since its inception, all account audits have received a favourable report, indicating that they comply with the rules and accounting principles that apply.

Quality assurance procedures

Main procedures

ANECA procedures.JPG

Consequences of quality assurance and accreditation decisions

  • (After the authorization of the regional government) Registration– in the Register of Universities, Centers and degrees – and official consideration of the degree.
  • Upholding of the official recognition of the degree for a certain number of years (6 for bachelor /4 for masters).
  • The consequences of non-accreditation are the temporary suspension or the definitive revocation of the official recognition of the corresponding programme and therefore, its extinction

Validity of the decision(s)

Accreditation decisions are valid for 6 years (bachelor) or 4 years (Masters).

Publication policy

Evaluation reports from the VERIFICA, MONITOR, DOCENTIA and AUDIT Programmes are posted on the Agency's website, which incorporates the recommendations contributed by the assessment committees. In the case of academic staff evaluation Programmes, the reports cannot be published pursuant to Law 15/1999, on the Protection of Personal Data.

(Legal) appeal system

The Agency has an “Appeal Committee” that resolves any appeals regarding assessments, except in the case of ACADEMIA, which has its own appeal committees.

Figures on Quality Assurance / Accreditation Procedures

In the field of programme evaluation VERIFICA has assessed 4,619 bachelor and master degree proposals. Moreover, MONITOR assessed a total of 816 bachelor and master degrees. Finally, MENCION assessed a total of 758 doctoral degrees in 2011. In the case of academic staff positions, PEP (non-civil servant positions, Profesor Ayudante Doctor-PAD, Profesor Contratado Doctor-PCD and Profesor de Universidad Privada-PUP) evaluated over 43,000 requests between 2006 and 2011 and ACADEMIA over 18,000 applications between 2008-2011. The evaluation Programmes included in the category of institutional-level approach evaluation, AUDIT has assessed a total of 329 internal quality assurance systems. DOCENTIA, since its inception in 2008, has assessed the design of 62 academic staff quality assessment models (70 Universities participated in the process).

International activities

Member of international quality assurance networks / organisations

External reviews

Compliance with ESG

  • 2007
  • 2012 (in preparation)

Compliance with INQAAHE GGP

  • 2010

Compliance with ECA CGP

  • 2008

ANECA is listed on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education.

Accreditation procedures in another jurisdiction

ANECA operates abroad when taking part in international projects www.aneca.es.

Agreements concerning the mutual recognition of accreditation

ANECA has signed mutual recognition agreements with several European Agencies within the ECA framework. Besides, in 2010 ANECA signed a Multilateral Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Accreditation Results regarding Joint Programmes (MULTRA) with the following Agencies: FHR and ÖAR (Austria), CTI (France), NVAO (The Netherlands and Flanders) and PKA (Poland).

In Latin America ANECA has also started to work towards mutual recognition of accreditation results together with SINAES, the Agency from Costa Rica.

See also