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Accreditation is "a kind of formal recognition of a programme or institution by an external body, on the basis of an assessment of its quality, and resulting in a certain status regarding degree-awarding capacity, recognition of these degrees by third parties, credit-transfer to other accredited institutions, direct or indirect funding, and other external effects. In most cases accreditation is the result of an ↑evaluation or external ↑quality assurance procedure, assessing whether a programme or institution meets the academic or professional standards of the accrediting body [↑accreditation body]. The process of accreditation leads to a formal decision, which can be positive, conditionally positive or negative. Generally, an accredited status is awarded for a certain period of time. Eventually, a negative decision also can be revised by a re-accreditation after a certain period of time".[1] In the Berlin Communiqué (2003), the European Ministers agreed that one part of national quality assurance systems should be a "system of accreditation, certification or comparable procedures". They asked ↑ENQA "to develop an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines on quality assurance" and "to explore ways of ensuring an adequate ↑peer review system for quality assurance and/or accreditation agencies or bodies" through its members and in cooperation with the ↑EUA, ↑EURASHE and ↑ESIB.[2]
Related term:
↑Standards and guidelines

[1] Van Damme, Dirk: Accreditation in global higher education. The need for international information and cooperation. Outline of a IAUP approach. Memo for the Commission on Global Accreditation of the International Association of University Presidents – May 2000, p. 2; URL: http://www.ia-up.org/grp5/dvandamme%20-%20memo%20-%20may%202000.doc (4.5.2006).

[2] Berlin, p. 3.

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