Universities and university colleges are themselves responsible for ensuring the quality of their programmes. However, before a university or university college may conduct such assurance, a programme that has been recognised as new must attain programme accreditation. This is the official conclusion by NVAO that the programme meets the minimum requirements regarding quality and level.
Do you represent a recognised institution other than a university or university college? Then you need to follow another procedure.
Programme accreditation is the official conclusion by NVAO that a programme meets the pre-determined minimum requirements regarding quality and level as set out in the assessment framework. NVAO bases its accreditation decision on an assessment of the 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 self-evaluation report, an institution may use the results and outcomes of the control it exerts. 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.
The assessment is followed by the accreditation procedure, which is also coordinated by NVAO. Once the assessment report by the panel has been endorsed, NVAO will take an accreditation decision (positive – limited validity – negative). A positive accreditation decision entitles the institution to henceforth itself vouch for the assurance of its programme quality.
Once the application has been found admissible, the institution will receive a request for full payment of the cost price of the programme accreditation. 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 programme accreditation customised to own conduct is EUR 10,405.
The application is submitted via the digital application form; it comprises an application letter signed by the board of the institution and the Self-evaluation Report.
At the end of 2019, NVAO launched a new quality assurance system in Flanders. Colleges of higher education and universities themselves have to guarantee the quality of their accredited programmes. New programmes and existing programmes that have yet to receive their first accreditation will still be critically assessed by NVAO, albeit under its own direction. The graduate programme in shop management of VIVES University College is now the first to receive such a new-style report. The rigid assessment frameworks, detailed checklists and interview style have been replaced by NVAO's Appreciative Approach, open frameworks and ditto exchanges of views. At VIVES, NVAO sounded out the impact of this radically different approach to quality assurance.Read more
In the Netherlands and Flanders, the board of an institution may appeal a (draft) NVAO decision.