Universities and university colleges are themselves responsible for ensuring the quality of their programmes. However, a new programme must first be recognised and, after a few years, attain its first programme accreditation. In an initial accreditation procedure, an external panel assesses the potential quality of a programme to be launched.
Do you represent a recognised institution other than a university or university college? Then you need to follow another procedure.
Do you represent a non-recognised institution? Then you need to follow another procedure.
Initial accreditation involves an (ex ante) assessment of the potential quality of a new programme. A new programme is a programme that the applicant institution has not previously registered on the Higher Education Register. NVAO bases its initial accreditation decision on an assessment of the potential programme quality by a panel of independent experts.
The quality of a programme is demonstrated on the basis of eight quality features. In addition, the assessment panel verifies how the programme is involving, on the one hand, internal and external stakeholders, and on the other, external and independent peers and experts.
If applicable, the panel verifies whether the programme meets the regulations with respect to the admission of graduates to corresponding offices or professions.
The assessment procedure is coordinated by NVAO and tailored to the control that the institution has elaborated regarding the quality assurance of its programmes. When drawing up its Information Dossier, an institution may use the results and outcomes of the control it exerts (insofar as such is possible for a programme yet to be launched). The site visit is structured in consultation with the institution: the duration, the substantiation of the schedule, and the specific discussion topics may vary depending on what the programme brings up in its self-evaluation report.
Once the assessment report by the panel has been endorsed, NVAO will take an accreditation decision (either positive or negative). A quality deficit must be explicitly substantiated by reference to a condition or multiple conditions that must be satisfied in order to remedy the deficit.
Once the application has been found admissible, the institution will receive a request for full payment of the cost price of the tailored initial accreditation procedure. The fee applicable to this procedure is fixed by the Education Minister of Flanders. It covers the costs entailed in the work performed by the panel members (remuneration, travel expenses, hotel accommodation, et cetera), which are paid by NVAO.
The rate for initial accreditation tailored to the control exerted by institutions is EUR 10,128.
The application is submitted via the digital application form; it comprises an application letter signed by the board of the institution and the Information Dossier.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, the board of an institution may appeal a (draft) NVAO decision.