Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions and Academic Programmes in Armenia is carried out by the National Center for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation (ANQA) – a full member of European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education(ENQA) and International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
Institutional accreditation is a regular mandatory process both for private and public HEIs operating on the territory of Armenia. Institutional accreditation is a prerequisite for Academic Programme Accreditation.
Academic Programme Accreditation is carried out on the initiative of the HEI, based on voluntary basis, except for medical academic programmes, the accreditation of which is compulsory.
Accreditation is granted for a certain period and guarantees that the institution or academic programme has the necessary capacity to provide education for a definite time span.
Both, institutional and academic programme accreditations are carried out in three consecutive phases:
1. Self-evaluation (a written report of the institution’s internal review) according to State Accreditation Criteria and Standards
2. External review through site visit carried out by an independent external expert panel
3. Decision making on accreditation status by ANQA’s Accreditation Commission
Institutional accreditation criteria and standards include:
1. Policies and practices in accordance with institutional mission, in line with the Armenian National Qualifications Framework (ANQF).
2. Effective governance, administrative structures and practices aligned with the institutional mission and supportive of the governance code of ethics.
3. Academic programmes aligned with the institution’s mission, promoting mobility and internationalization.
4. Relevant student support services.
5. Qualified teaching and supporting staff.
6. Implementation of research activity and the link of the research with teaching and learning.
7. Infrastructure and resources necessary to create learning environment.
8. Societal responsibility for the education and resources offered, as well as for the conducted research.
9. External relations and availability of practices promoting internationalization of the institution.
10. Internal quality assurance system.
Academic Programme Accreditation criteria and standards ensure that:
1. Academic programme design is in accordance with ANQF, national qualifications descriptors, and state academic standards as well as is in line with the institution’s mission.
2. Teaching staff has necessary professional qualifications to realize the goals of the academic programmes.
3. Teaching and learning practices used within the academic programme ensure the achievement of intended learning outcomes.
4. Academic programme provides assessment system that allows ensuring the students’ progress as well as the formation and achievement of intend learning outcomes.
5. Academic programme ensures links between learning and research and creative activities.
6. Academic programme promotes the quality educational provisions by creating an environment conducive to learning.
7. Academic programme has internal quality assurance system that promotes its maintenance and continuous improvement.
The detailed description of regulations, standards and evaluation criteria of both institutional and academic programme accreditation are available on the website of ANQA.
With a view to making accreditation results available to public and international organizations, State Accreditation Register is developed in concord with the accreditation policy. The register is sustained by ANQA and provides information about accredited institutions and academic programmes.
A HEI seeking accreditation status can apply to ANQA or other quality assurance agencies that are either registered on the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR henceforth) or are full members of ENQA. Institutions implementing academic programmes with non-EHEA countries or branches of foreign institutions can apply to recognized accreditation agencies, the list of which is approved by the RA Minister of Education and Science. Any institution that has applied to an international accreditation organization must notify ANQA of the start of the accreditation process within five calendar days.
Steps for institutional accreditation include:
1. Submission of application and self-evaluation for institutional accreditation
2. Examination of documentation compliance to the set requirements
3. Recognition of an educational institution as an accreditation seeker
4. Payment of the accreditation application examination fee
5. Creation of accreditation expert panel
6. Accreditation site visit and expert panel’s draft report
7. Decision on accreditation by the Board of Trustees
8. Publication of a substantiated decision of ANQA Accreditation Committee and accreditation report by ANQA
9. The decision with the accreditation certificate and supplement forms sent to the Ministry of Education and Science for approval
10. Inclusion of accredited institutions and programmes into the State Accreditation Register
The Board of Trustees can make one of the following decisions:
– Award institutional accreditation
– Award conditional institutional accreditation
– Reject institutional accreditation
The procedure for the approval or rejection process of applications is adopted according to the Statute on Accreditation.
To undergo the process of Academic Programme Accreditation a HEI must:
1. Submit application according to the respective form developed by ANQA and approved by the Board of Trustees
2. Have an authority to carry out educational activity – licensing
3. Fill in ANQA online questionnaire (web.survey.anqa.am)
4. Submit the certificate of institutional accreditation (state accreditation)
Terms of accreditation
Institutional Accreditation is awarded for 4 or 6 years. Conditional Institutional Accreditation is awarded for 2 years’ period, and the institution awarded with conditional accreditation cannot apply for the programme accreditation. In case of conditional institutional accreditation, the education institution cannot open a new specialty.
Academic Programme accreditation is awarded for 5 years and in case the shortcomings mentioned in the expert panel report Conditional Programme Accreditation can be granted for no more than 2 years. Upon being awarded with conditional program accreditation, a HEI submits a written report to ANQA once every 6 months on the elimination of the shortcomings. In case of not eliminating the shortcomings within the set period the supplement of state accreditation certificate is repealed.
Duration of the process
ANQA carries out the processes of institutional and programme accreditation within a year after accepting the application. Within one week after accepting the application a service contract is signed between the applicant and ANQA according to Armenian legislation. The date and the schedule of the process launch are clearly mentioned in the contract.
Renewal of accreditation
At least one year before the end of the deadline of the Institutional and Academic Programme accreditation a HEI should apply to ANQA for starting new Institutional and Programme Accreditation processes.
Source: © ANQA