IREG-9 Conference 23-25th May, 2018 5 dec 2017
Ranking and Accreditation - two roads to the same goal?
Belgium / Hasselt University May 23-25th, 2018
Accreditation and ranking have been, until recently, perceived as two separate areas in the sphere of evaluation of higher education, each serving a different purpose. This perception, however, is changing. Though the two still are very different and function separately, there are signs that the borders between accreditation and ranking are getting blurred.
The importance of the idea of quality assurance and accreditation gained significance and have been evolving as a consequence of the phenomenon of massification of higher education. In a growing number of countries up to 50 per cent of high school graduates continue education on the higher level, consequently, it has become necessary to assure that education on the tertiary level meets a certain quality level. This can be achieved by introduction of a quality assurance system through the process of accreditation, that in a number of countries, especially in Europe, is mandatory for higher education institutions. It must be remembered, however, that accreditation, in fact, certifies and confirms that a given higher education institution meets the minimum required standards. In other words, accreditation defines a “bottom line” of the quality level in higher education.
The purpose of academic rankings has been, from the very beginning, to identify the best institution. To achieve this, it has been necessary for the rankers to identify what is it that represents “excellence” in higher education. Originally university rankings were to serve primarily for informational purposes, but over time, rankings have become an effective tool to stimulate better quality in higher education. Rankings provide a fuller picture of a university than accreditation since they take into account more factors and indicators and analyse them deeper. Besides, rankings are updated more often than accreditations, in most cases on an annual basis.
The aim of the IREG-9 Conference “Accreditation and rankings – Two roads to the same goal?” will be to analyze the relations between accreditation and rankings in the context of challenges facing higher education and its quality. These relations will be discussed both on the regional level (continent) and on the discipline level (such as engineering or medicine).
The IREG-9 Conference in Hasselt will be a pioneering event where the World of Accreditation will meet the World of Ranking. This, the organizers believe, will contribute to the World of Quality in higher education.
More information via ECOOM@uhasselt.be