Accreditation is ‘the marking that says an educational institution meets specific standards. In the Netherlands and in Belgium accrediation is a condition for receiving financial support for a bachelor- or master programme from the government. Also it’s a condition for the right to give acknowledged degrees to the graduates. Accreditation makes sure every education will have some similar quality assurance.’
So, accreditation is the external examination of universities, arranged by the NVAO (Dutch Belgian Accreditation Organisation). It’s quite complicated, because a university as a whole is examined, but also their different programmes. The accreditation for the whole institution is every six year, but through the years different programmes are accredited.
The TU Delft always scores good at accreditations: last years all programmes have passed the accreditation. In 2017 the TU Delft had its institutional accreditation, so it will last another six years before the next accreditation is needed.
Since January 1st 2011 there is a new kind of accreditation implemented for Dutch universities, accreditation 2.0. In this new accreditation, universities can have a ‘institutional test quality assurance’ (ITK): a test where the NVAO looks at the internal quality assurance of universities. When a university pass this test, the specific programme accreditations will be smaller. The goal for this new test was to lower the administrational load, to stimulate the quailty culture at universities and to stimulate a focus on quality, content and results of programmes. The goals are partly reached, few researches show that this new form of accreditation not even caused a decrease of administrational load. That’s why the NVAO came with a new version: accreditation 3.0. New about this version was that when a university passes the ITK, it can do their own programme accreditations. There was a lot of resistance against this new version and the TU Delft decided not to participate in the pilot.
Something else what was discussed in 2016 is a repetition of the macro efficiency test. This is a test which a new programmes has to pass before it can start. The test tests on the utility of the programme in the society. Where accreditation tests the quality of a degree, macro efficiency tests on how useful it is to have that kind of degrees in the society. The technical universities don’t have to do this test, because engineers always are wanted in the society.
Last year, in May 2017, the TU Delft needed to do the ITK. Before this, the TU got the assignment to set up a self evaluation which gave direction for the evaluation committee who came to the university. A few things changed in comparison with the last accreditation. An important new obligation was the advice of the SC and WC (workers council) in the self evaluation. This caused that we as SC were involved in writing the self evaluation. The visits went well, there is a good change the university will pass the ITK. In September/October 2017 the final report of the evaluation committee will be presented.
An accreditation is a good opportunity for universities to know what is good and what needs improvement. That’s why ORAS thinks students should definitely be involved in the accreditation, causing that also the view of students will be taken into account during the assessments.