The Education Council and senators recently met in the Senate. A prominent topic of conversation during that introduction was institutional accreditation. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is currently working on a bill to introduce institutional accreditation, where a higher education institution must be responsible for quality assurance at the educational level, and NVAO will assess whether the institution has order in its quality assurance system. The Minister also made it clear in his political letter to higher education that he wants to continue in this direction.
External supervision remains important
The Education Council has recently issued a recommendation on external supervision in the educations. In this context, the Council discussed in detail the discussion on institutional accreditation. According to the Education Council, it is important that external supervisors continue to test the quality of the educations.
Henk Pijlman, former administrator of Hanze University College and senator on behalf of D66, had questions about this. “I think this is very clear advice, and I also hope that it will largely be followed. However, I find it less clear with the recommendations on the accreditation system. There I think ‘what exactly do you want?’ Many of your members come from higher education, and that can also mean that you are a little hesitant, ”said Pijlman.
Do you want to go to the Flemish system?
There is currently a pilot with limited program accreditations where the institution as a whole is accredited. However, Pijlman lacks clear and unambiguous advice from the Education Council in the light of a new bill. “Now you have the institutional accreditation and visitation of the educations. You all comment on that. I understand you’re saying we have to wait for the pilot first, but then I do not know what you really want. Do you want to go to the Flemish system of institutional accreditation? ”
Pieter Huisman, professor of education law and member of the Education Council, tried in a somewhat awkward way to explain what the council recommends. In terms of accreditation, we said, ‘Think about it for a moment.’ You should probably start working with a parallel system. There are also still questions about the comparability of educations. These are all elements that the Council believes should be considered further. When there is also a bill, we hope that we will still be presented by the government. ”
The chair of the Education Council, Edith Hooge, was more concrete and constitutional in her objections to institutional accreditation. “With this advice, we really have in mind: Make sure that the quality of education in the education is immediately visible – not through the board of a university or a folk high school. That is the premise that we are fully aware of. There must therefore be a direct external review, as it is intended for independent external supervision. Also with regard to the comparability of courses. ”
This is part of Article 23
According to the chairman of the Education Council, this is a constitutional right for students. “That externally independent government oversight is part of the system in Article 23 of the Constitution. This is essential in order to be able to guarantee the quality of education from basic education to higher education. Society, employers, parents and children must be able to count on this. We provide all possible clarification of the accreditation system. ”
Nevertheless, D66 Senator Pijlman was still left with many questions. “I understand well what you are saying. ‘Make sure the quality of education is also ensured by external supervision.’ But what I think is difficult: You do not reject institutional accreditation. ”
According to the former vocational college administrator, the accreditation system is not optimally organized. “The system is now very bureaucratic; and an institutional visit and all degree programs to be accredited. It places a huge workload on higher education. Especially if you want to maintain the assessments at the educational level, as they say. ”
It was beautiful on paper
Therefore, Pijlman wondered why institutional accreditation should still be necessary. “In the past, efforts have been made to simplify the system, but if you ask people from the field, they say: ‘it was fine on paper’. You also keep saving a little on it. So do one thing or another, it does not give me much to hold on to now. ”
The chairman of the Education Council stated in his reply that it is in fact possible that institutions as a whole will no longer be accredited in the future. “We provide clear considerations and points of attention. You formulate your own mindset that could result from this. Pilots are currently underway. We provide starting points and points of attention so that you as a member of the Senate and others can make a decision and make a choice. ”