To whom it may concern,
The Accreditation Agency Curacao (AAC) is an independent and professional Accreditation Agency that offers a diligent Program Accreditation to all local and international institutions of Higher Education which have taken the decision to accredit their study courses.
The AAC appraises to assess the quality of the courses and the institutions of Higher Education on the basis of the documentation provided by the latter and the results of an onsite visit. The goal is then, together with colleagues from the team of experts, to come to a final recommendation through an official report regarding the accreditation from the Accreditation Commission. The ACC conducts this process with all transparency and professionalism to assure a level playing field for all institutions of Higher Education that thrives to offer quality courses and studies local and internationally.
A program accreditation has many benefits. For instances for the general public, through industry, benefits by receiving high quality service from graduates of accredited programs. But also employers benefit by having the assurance that graduates from an accredited program have the competencies demanded by industry to meet current and future requirements. Higher Education institutions benefit by receiving assurance from industry that their programs are high-quality and produce competent graduates, and by continually improving their programs to meet accreditation standards. Their faculty members also benefit by receiving ongoing professional development necessary to ensure their programs are current with industry requirements. And last but not least the graduates from accredited programs benefit by having assurance that their education has met industry standards, thereby adequately preparing them for employment in industry.
The following pages will give a thorough insight into our procedure for the program accreditation.
The Program Accreditation
The Program Accreditation focuses particularly on innovative, entrepreneurial and internationally oriented Higher Education Institutions (HEI). The procedure contains a comprehensive evaluation of the institutional strategy, program quality assurance system and program recourses. The relevant areas of the Higher Education Institution in this procedure are:
- Inserting the course into the university/college
- Qualification profile
- Student-centred learning, teaching and assessment
- Student admission, progression, recognition and certification
- Modularization and/or composite concept:
- Course title, content of the curriculum and degree upon completion
- Didactic concept for the course of studies
- Study feasibility
- Professional qualification / skills
- Personnel Resources
- Learning resources and student support
- On-going monitoring and periodic review of programmes
- Strategy for Quality Assurance
- The module descriptions
The accreditation procedure for program accreditation takes between 8 to 12 months.
The procedure gives AAC and the Higher Education Institution in question a detailed evaluation of the program strengths and weaknesses and shows the essential future opportunities and hazards. This enables the HEI to identify and take efficient measures to achieve the self-imposed goals.
- application with basic information about the institution and the Program, strategy, and quality assurance
- introductory discussion about the procedure and conclusion of contract
- draft of a program self-evaluation report according to the AAC Assessment Guide
- appointment of the expert panel (5 experts – three members from Higher Education Institutions including one local expert of the institution’s country, one student member and one member from the professional field)
- compilation of a self-evaluation report according to the AAC Assessment Guide
- site visit of 1 ½ – 2 days at the HEI
- compilation of the assessment report by the expert panel
- statement on the report by the HEI
- final accreditation decision of the AAC Commission for Program Procedures
- option for a complaint against the procedure via an email to AAC or an appeal regarding the commission’s decision
- publication of the accreditation report
- the accreditation is valid for 6 years and must be updated afterwards
To provide guidance during a procedure, AAC provides guidelines for preparing an application for program accreditation or for institutional accreditation. The agency also provides continuous feedback during all steps of a procedure. Our experts can give you recommendations on the further development of your application and self-report.
The quality assurance process offered not by one but by two well-known agencies (AQAS & AAC) will thus give universities the chance for continuous improvement and many advantages:
- Students get an attractive qualification which is usually accepted in the home country as well as in Europe
- Quality enhancement of the programs
- Creativity and new approaches concerning study and learning
- Certificate of external QA gives a higher reputation and attracts more students
- Public visibility of programs
- Door opener for internationalization in general at HEI
- Double Accreditation is cheaper and less effort than two accreditations
Dear Sir and/or Madam,
A key goal of the AAC Guidelines for Quality Assurance is to contribute to the common understanding of
quality assurance for learning and teaching across borders and among all stakeholders. This Guidelines
should be considered in a broader context that also includes qualifications frameworks, ECTS or other
Credit System´s and diploma supplement/transcript of records that also contribute to promoting the
transparency and mutual trust in higher education.
The present guideline is aimed at higher education institutions, which have taken the decision to allow
one or more study courses to be reviewed for the first time or re-examined. This guideline should provide
some assistance with regard to the structuring and content of the application. The guideline is based on
the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG, version May 2015), the observance of which is verified
during the assessment. In addition to the ESG, various other national and international standards have
also been incorporated into the formulations and questions.
The task of the AAC appraisers is to assess the quality of the courses and the institution of higher learning
in question on the basis of the documentation provided by the latter and the results of an onsite visit. The
goal is then, together with colleagues from the team of experts, to come to a final recommendation
through an official report with regard to the accreditation.
For this reason, the application for accreditation should be self-explanatory. On the basis of the
application, the appraisers must be able to distinguish the structure of the course of studies, with its
essential organizational elements and any other specific features. It is also important for the auditors to
be aware of recent developments in the course of studies and/or institutions, without having to go into
specifics (e.g. old documents etc.)
Appeals against AAC Decisions
Applicants may appeal against decisions of the Accreditation Commission on procedural grounds or in the case of perversity of judgment. The Academic Board (Appeals Committee) has the responsibility to consider appeals.
Grounds of Appeal
The possible grounds of appeal are limited to procedural errors and/or perversity of judgment. Mere disagreement with the Accreditation Commission judgment does not constitute a valid ground of appeal.
An appeal on procedural grounds may be lodged if AAC procedures, other regulations, any applicable legislation, or generally accepted principles of fair and equal process were dishonored. Perversity of judgment may be claimed if a decision is clearly unreasonable or disproportionate in the light of the available evidence.
If the Academic Board accepts the appeal, the Accreditation Commission decision is voided and the case referred back to the Accreditation Commission. The Accreditation Commission will take due account of the grounds of appeal and the reasoning of the Academic Board in taking a new decision. An appeal is rejected if it is either unsubstantiated or not based on valid grounds.
Appeals need to be submitted to Academic Board in writing within 90 days of being notified of the rejection of an application. The appeal has to clearly specify on which grounds it is lodged. The Academic Board will decide on the appeal within 120 days.
Before taking a decision, the Academic Board might request further clarification or comments on the grounds of appeal from the Accreditation Commission, the review coordinator, the review panel, or the applicant.