Multiple national accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes

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A national procedure is the classical approach to the accreditation of joint programmes. It means that a national agency accredits a joint programme offered by one or more higher education institutions in the country of the national agency. This happens in all the countries where programme accreditation is mandatory, meaning that there are multiple national accreditation procedures for a particular joint programme. Traditionally only the provision offered by the higher education institution(s) in the country that falls under the remit of the agency is assessed. As a consequence the provision offered by the partner institutions abroad is not assessed by the agency, meaning that the assessment is limited to only a part of the joint programme. Perhaps the provision offered by the partner institutions is assessed by agencies in their home countries. But even so, assessments of different national parts means fragmentation which neglects the crucial characteristic of the programme, namely that it is offered jointly. It is of little use to students enrolling in a joint programme to know that one of the consortium partners is assessed whilst they are going to receive education from several institutions. The same is true for other stakeholders. When looking at learning outcomes or other aspects of provision what counts is the totality that is offered, not just what happens to be offered at one location. From a viewpoint of quality any assessment in any country should therefore cover the totality of the joint programme. Fortunately, this has indeed happened in a number of countries in recent years. However, this poses some new questions; how to get a good view on the totality of the joint programme, and how to prevent that the totality of the joint programme is examined in multiple national procedures by different agencies?

See also