Accreditation - an open question
This document is a summary of fundamental descriptions and definitions of a phenomenon which has been the focus of discussion in the context of international education - the accreditation of higher education.
The report is addressed to those working in higher education. It should be seen primarily as providing information and a point of departure for more penetrating discussions of what stance we should adopt in Sweden to one of the phenomena we are now encountering as our relationships with the educational systems of other countries are extended. At an idea seminar arranged by the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) in collaboration with the National Agency for Higher Education one of the issues to which significant attention was paid was the question of accreditation.
The concept was recognised but not particularly familiar. What did it stand for? What content could it be given in a Swedish setting? What concrete forms did it take in other countries? And the following question also arose.
Should the international development towards more globalised and transnational educational circumstances lead to a need - perhaps even a requirement - of new methods for the acknowledgement, evaluation and quality assurance of higher education in Sweden as well?
As a result of these discussions, the Association of Swedish Higher Education and the National Agency decided to appoint a special working group to study these questions and submit a brief presentation to those involved in establishing policies for higher education and its administration.
The representatives of the Association of Swedish Higher Education in the group were Lars Haikola, President of Blekinge Institute of Technology, and Anders Eriksson, Vice-President of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
The National Agency was represented by Torsten Kälvemark, Staffan Wahlén and Ulf Öhlund. In connection with the formal establishment of the group, representatives of the student organisations (SFS - the Swedish National Union of Students) were also asked to participate in its work. During an initial phase the student representative was Kristina Lutz, and this role was taken over by Jens Christian Berlin during the concluding phase of the project.