Getting recognised degrees
Monday, September 8, 2008
Accreditation is an essential item on your checklist when applying to colleges in Australia. Poonam Jain helps you with some important pointers
Universities in Australia are 'self-accrediting'; that is, they are authorised to accredit their own courses and are responsible for their academic standards. However, they must have appropriate quality assurance processes in place, including peer assessment processes, external examination of higher degrees and the involvement of professional bodies in the accreditation of particular courses. Accreditation of new courses usually involves consultation with relevant industry or professional bodies, accreditation by these bodies, and formal consideration and approval by Academic Boards. Courses are usually reviewed for re-accreditation every five years.
Below are a few of the accrediting bodies:
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF): Australia has a national qualifications system in the (AQF). The AQF has 17 different qualifications and links higher education, vocational education and training, and school education. The AQF outlines required learning outcomes and pathways for each qualification. The AQF also has a register of approved institutions and accreditation authorities.
Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA): The AUQA conducts quality assurance audits of higher education institutions. The focus of these audits includes teaching, learning, research and management. AUQA also conducts quality assurance audits of state and territory higher education accreditation authorities. Audits are conducted every five years. Institutional audits assess the internal quality assurance mechanisms of each institution and the maintenance and improvement of standards. Audits also examine the offshore operations of Australian universities, if applicable. The outcomes of audits are made public.
Australian Higher Education Quality Assurance Framework: Responsibility for quality assurance in higher education is shared between the Commonwealth, Australian States and Territories, higher education institutions and the Australian Universities Quality Agency.
National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes: Implementation of the National Protocols is managed co-operatively by all state and mainland territory governments and the Australian Government, all of which have enacted legislation to give effect to them. The Protocols also protect the use of the term ‘university’ and provide for penalties against institutions which operate without approval.
State and territory government responsibilities
State and territory governments are responsible for the administration of university legislation, accrediting new universities and accrediting higher education courses offered by non-self-accrediting institutions. Once a higher education institution is accredited, it is listed on the AQF Register of Recognised Education Institutions and Authorised Accreditation Authorities in Australia.
Quality assurance in Australia’s higher education system is based on a strong partnership between the Australian Government, state and territory governments and the higher education sector.