Purpose of the Accreditation Council

The main purpose of the Stiftung zur Akkreditierung von Studiengängen in Deutschland (Foundation for the Accreditation of Study Programmes in Germany) is to contribute to the development in the quality of teaching and learning in Germany and, with this in mind, to cooperate in the realisation of the European Higher Education Area. 

To this end, on behalf of the German Federal States, the Foundation takes care that the agencies certified to carry out processes of accreditation of study programmes demonstrate that they do this to the highest degree of quality, comparability and transparency. Before any agency is given the authority to award the quality seal of the Foundation for study programmes that have successfully accomplished an accreditation process, it must itself be subject to an accreditation process. On application from the agency, the accreditation process is carried out by the Accreditation Council which, as the central decision-making body of the Foundation, decides on the accreditation or reaccreditation of agencies.

The accreditation of agencies is carried out on the basis of the Criteria for the Accreditation of Accreditation Agencies that have been developed by the Accreditation Council. In accordance with a total of twenty individual test areas for such criteria, the agencies are required, for example, to furnish proof of the legitimacy and function of its institutions, to formulate their understanding of quality based on an evaluation of Learning Outcomes, to explain their personnel structure and other resources or to prove the managerial independence of the agency or its accreditative Institutions. Furthermore, the agencies commit themselves to the deployment of the Criteria for the Accreditation of Study Programmes not just during the accreditation process but also on a contractual basis. This part of the criteria applies equally to agencies and Higher Education Institutions, in that it names the quality elements of the accreditation programme to be checked by the agency where documents have to be presented by the Higher Education establishments as part of the accreditation process.

With a view to the realisation of the European Higher Education Area, the recognition of the German Quality Seal, and thus also guaranteeing the recognition and study achievements and degrees awarded from German Higher Education Institutions and promoting their reputation outside Germany, also falls within the remit of the Foundation. By taking the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (the ENQA) wholly into account in their own relevant regulations, the Accreditation Council has made an important contribution to the development of the European Higher Education Area.

The tasks that have been taken on by the Foundation on behalf of the Federal States of Germany are set out in the Law for the establishment of the “Foundation for the Accreditation of Study Programmes in Germany" from 15th February 2005.