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National guidelines for academic accreditation announced
Bern (ots) - The Centre of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Swiss Universities (OAQ) has developed national "Guidelines for Academic Accreditation in Switzerland" at the request of the Swiss University Conference (CUS). This is the first time that a procedure has been available in Switzerland for ascertaining whether university institutions or the study programmes that they offer meet minimum quality standards.
Following a wide-ranging review process involving academic institutions and interested parties engaged in education, science, research and politics, the Guidelines were approved by the members of the CUS in December 2002. They are based on accepted international standards and best practices and will be valid initially until the end of 2003.
In developing these accreditation guidelines and the instruments required to implement them the OAQ has made a major contribution towards the realisation of the measures approved by the Swiss University Conference and the Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS), the aim of which is to implement the Bologna Declaration signed by Switzerland in 1999.
The objectives of the Bologna Declaration include the creation of a European educational area, greater promotion of mobility and the promotion of European collaboration on quality assurance matters. In response to the Declaration most European countries established accreditation and quality assurance bodies after 1990. Switzerland decided to follow suit, believing as it does that accreditation is an important foundation for the international recognition of university qualifications and titles. Furthermore, accreditation helps to improve and promote the quality of the services provided by universities.
The Centre of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Swiss Universities is a functionally independent institution set up in 2001 by the federal government and the university cantons; it is based in Bern. Its purpose is to safeguard and promote the quality of teaching and research at Switzerland's universities. The OAQ carries out quality evaluations of academic institutions and their study programmes at the request of the institutions and the federal authorities. It also provides the universities with support in their efforts to assure and improve quality and offers related services.
ots Originaltext: OAQ
Centre of Accreditation and Quality Assurance
of the Swiss Universities (OAQ)