European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education
History and aims
The European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education (ECA) was founded in 2003.
Since 2008 the primary aim of ECA is the mutual recognition of accreditation decisions. The two other aims of ECA are the mutual learning and dissemination of best practices in accreditation and the provision of transparent information on quality and the support of internationalisation of institutions and students.
ECA has developed a set of agreements on which its members can base trustworthy cooperation. These agreements are the main documents of ECA and include:
- Code of Good Practice (2004)
- Principles for the Selection of Experts (2005)
- Joint Declaration concerning the Automatic Recognition of Qualifications (2005)
- Principles for accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes (2007)
- Principles regarding learning outcomes in accreditation procedures (2009)
- Recommendations for mutual recognition of institutional evaluations (2009).
Originally, ECA worked towards the bilateral recognition of accreditation results between member agencies. This resulted in the signing of several of these mutual recognition agreements between ECA members since December 2007. Since December 2010, ECA has agreed on a multilateral agreement on the recognition of accreditation results regarding Joint Programmes (MULTRA) which agencies can join once they meet the necessary preconditions.
Finally, ECA produces several types of publications such as reports, discussion papers, research results and policy papers.
ECA is a project in itself. But in order to facilitate its cooperation and to contribute to achieving its aims ECA is continuosly carrying out projects within the fields of quality assurance and recognition of qualifications. ECA is currently carrying out the projects:
The members are:
- Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA), Germany
- Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengange im Bereich Gesundheit und Soziales e.V. (AHPGS), Germany
- Agentur für Qualitätssicherung durch Akkreditierung von Studiengängen e.V. (AQAS), Germany
- Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO), the Netherlands and Flanders (Belgium)
- Organ für Akkreditierung und Qualitätssicherung der Schweizerischen Hochschulen (OAQ), Switzerland
After application to and approval by the ECA Management Group individuals from QA agencies can participate as observers in all meetings of ECA. There is currently 1 observer:
Michal Neumann (CHE), Israel
More information about ECA can be found here: www.ecaconsortium.net