Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya

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10.4.2014

AQU Catalunya opens the door to the self-validation (accreditation) of degree programmes by faculties

The AQU Board of Management endorsed the Guidelines for the certification of the internal quality assurance system and the effects on VSMA framework procedures, the objective of which is twofold:

  • To form the basis for certification of internal quality assurance systems (IQAS) set up and implemented in university faculties in Catalonia as a result of the AUDIT programme, and
  • To open the door to a new scenario of greater autonomy for the universities and mutual trust between the different agents in the university system in Catalonia, particularly with regard to quality assurance in the validation, modification and monitoring of programmes and awards.

IQAS certification will form part of the programme accreditation, which will be undertaken at faculty level, the aim being to ensure the correct design, approval, delivery, monitoring, improvement and enhancement, modification and, where applicable, termination of degree programmes. In other words, the purpose of certification is to verify that all of the objectives and aspects of the AUDIT programme are correctly developed and dealt with efficiently with the focus on their continuous improvement and enhancement.

There will be no change in the administrative procedure of programme validation and modification, although the evaluation process is to be simplified considerably in the case of faculties with certified IQAS.

AQU Catalunya will apply these guidelines in order for faculties to get certified. On a temporary and exceptional basis, a partial form of certification is to be established, provided that certain minimum requirements are complied with as regards the design, monitoring, modification and termination of programmes of study.

This is the first step towards what are known as self-accredited faculties, envisaged in the Guide to the accreditation of recognised first and second cycle degree programmes as being the most appropriate scenario for the future for quality assurance in higher education, and it will bring Catalonia in line with countries that have the most advanced practices in this field. In no way does this imply a slackening of compliance with the regulations or control, in fact it is quite the opposite, i.e. it ensures that a faculty has implemented compliance mechanisms and it verifies that degrees have been designed and run correctly. In short, it aims at strengthening the internal quality assurance of teaching.