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Accreditation body

An accreditation body is an "independent body that develops educational standards, criteria and procedures and conducts expert visits and ↑peer reviews to assess whether or not those criteria are met"[1]. In the Berlin Communiqué (2003), the European Ministers invited ↑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"[2] through its members and in cooperation with partners at the European level. Two years later, the ↑Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area[3] were adopted at the Bergen Conference (2005).[4] The main results and recommendations of this report with regard to accreditation bodies were: - there will be European standards for internal and external quality assurance, and for external quality assurance agencies; - European quality assurance agencies will be expected to submit themselves to a cyclical review within five years; - a European register of quality assurance agencies will be produced; - a European Register Committee will act as a gatekeeper for the inclusion of agencies in the register.[5] In addition, the report includes European standards for external quality assurance agencies concerning the use of external quality assurance procedures for higher education, the official status, the activities, the resources, the mission statement, the independence, the external quality assurance criteria and processes used by the agencies and the accountability procedures.[6] Guidelines, which were added to several of these standards, "provide additional information about good practice and in some cases explain in more detail the meaning and importance of the standards"[7]. In the cyclical review it will be checked to which extent "the agency is in compliance with the European standards for external quality assurance agencies"[8].
Related terms: ↑Evaluation; ↑Recognition

[1] Glossary at the official Bologna Process web site for the period January 2004 - June 2005; URL: http://www.bologna-bergen2005.no/ (4.5.2006).

[2] Berlin, p. 3.

[3] Cf. Standards.

[4] Cf. Bergen, p. 3.

[5] Cf. Standards, p. 5.

[6] Cf. Standards, p. 23-26.

[7] Standards, p. 23.

[8] Standards, p. 29.

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