UK : Higher Education Accreditation Bodies

Published On: 22 Jul 2009

 | Last Updated On: 26 Mar 2013

Education accreditation is the process of quality assurance for colleges and universities, the focus being the courses and infrastructure they offer. The evaluation is done by an external agent to determine and mandate an acceptably high standard of education.

The accreditation of a course and the institution that offers it is very important to determine the status of the qualification. Hence it is important for all students to look into the accreditation status of the institutes they intend joining and the courses they plan to apply for.

In the UK, it is mandatory for all qualifications to be approved by the Secretary of State under the Education Reform Act 1988.

A list of all recognized bodies, including those that impart a course leading to accreditation, is maintained by the Department of Education.

The following is the list of organizations involved in the accreditation for UK educational institutions:

Standards and Testing Agency (STA)

The STA was formed in 2011 to take over the functions of the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency. It is now responsible for developing and delivering all statutory assessments for school pupils in England. The Ofqual examinations regulate the STA.

Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC)

ACCAC, based in Cardiff, was an exempt charity and an Assembly Sponsored Public Body responsible for advising the National Assembly for Wales on matters relating to education and qualification. With the exception of NVQs, which QCA is responsible for; all external qualifications in Wales were regulated by ACCAC.

City and Guilds of London Institute

The City and Guilds of London Institute (City & Guilds) is a leading UK vocational education organization. It offers more than 500 qualifications, covering the whole range of industry sectors, through 8,500 colleges and training providers in 81 countries worldwide.

Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) is an examination board in Northern Ireland. Besides setting examinations, the CCEA advises the Government on what should be taught in Northern Ireland's schools and monitors the standard of qualifications and examinations in that country.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)

Established in 1997, the QAA protects public interest by checking whether universities and colleges maintain good academic standards. It also regulates the Access to Higher Education Diploma – a qualification that enables individuals without A-levels or its equivalent to enter higher education.

The Association of MBAs

Headquartered in London, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) was set up in the year 1967. AMBA is among the most commonly recognized accreditation for MBA courses offered by top B-schools in the UK and several other nations. At present the Association accredits MBA, MBM, and DBA programs at more than 145 business schools in over 60 nations.

The European Quality Improvement System

The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) is an important international accreditation body for business schools in the UK and several other countries in Europe. The primary objective of EQUIS is to elevate the standard of management education in European countries. Having an EQUIS accreditation is an indication of the quality of an institution’s staff, programs, research, and students.

If the UK is the most sought after destination for education today, the reason is without doubt the quality of education provided by its institutes of higher learning. With these accreditation bodies aiming to ensure high-quality education, a degree obtained from the UK is a sure shot to success.

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