Accreditation is a mechanism for external evaluation of educational programme compliance with standards, and its aim is to determine compliance of an educational programme of an educational institution with accreditation standards, to establish a systematic self-evaluation of an educational institution, and to promote development of quality assurance mechanisms. An accreditation evaluation is carried out by a group of accreditation experts and is based on the analysis of an institution's self-evaluation and the information obtained through an accreditation visit.
Accreditation can be conducted both for individual higher educational programmes as well as higher educational programmes grouped in a cluster.
As a result of much endeavour by the NCEQE, in order to continuously develop and improve the external quality assurance, the cluster accreditation system is being implemented in the higher education system of Georgia since 2022. The introduction of the cluster accreditation system of higher educational institutions’ educational programme was determined through the analysis of areas for improvement identified in the accreditation process and international practice of programme accreditation.
In accordance with amendments introduced in the Law of Georgia "On Education Quality Enhancement", the concept of cluster accreditation was defined and accreditation became mandatory for all types and levels of higher educational programmes.
An accreditation application submitted to the NCEQE may include 8 (eight) higher educational programmes only.
Defining a Cluster
A cluster of higher education programmes is a unity of educational programmes classified according to the "National Qualifications Framework" and "Classifier of Fields of Study", grouped in accordance with the content (programme content, programme objectives and learning outcomes) in order to be assessed and evaluated for the purpose of accreditation. The rules and conditions for grouping educational programmes into a cluster are determined in accordance with the Accreditation Charter (Order of the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia No. 65/N, May 4, 2011, Annex No. 5). For the purpose of accreditation, the joint higher education programme, Medical Doctor (MD) one-cycle programme and a Georgian language education training programme are not grouped in the cluster.
Deadlines for Re-accreditation of Cluster Accreditation of Educational Programmes
In order to start a cluster accreditation process, it became necessary to redefine a re-accreditation timeline for educational programmes provided in a detailed field of study of the Classifier of Fields of Study. Accordingly, in the process of implementation of cluster accreditation, specific dates of re-accreditation have been defined with consistency for various detailed fields of study.
The Law of Georgia ‘On Education Quality Enhancement’, and Order №739908 of the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia dated June the 30th, 2022, defined “Re-accreditation stages during 2022-2028 for Educational programmes being accredited by June the 1st, 2022 in accordance with the fields of study defined by “The Classified of Fields of Study” approved by Order №69/n of the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia dated April the 10th, 2019.
Along with the stages of cluster accreditation of educational programmes, a list of accredited higher educational programmes was determined which provides specific dates for accreditation (“The List of Higher Educational Programmes and Georgian Language Preparatory Educational Programme Accredited by June the 1st, 2022 to Be Used for Re-Accreditation Process during 2022-2028” approved by Order №739910 of the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia dated June the 30th, 2022.)
Re-accreditation deadlines did not apply to those educational programmes which were granted conditional accreditation as of June the 1st, 2022, or were granted accreditation by a foreign quality assurance agencies recognised by the NCEQE.
Duration of Accreditation for Educational Programmes
The duration of accreditation of the educational programme is 7 years. An educational programme submitted to the NCEQE for accreditation during the calendar year which has not been defined as a cluster accreditation year for the field of study which the presented educational programme belongs to, accreditation is granted till the date which is defined as an accreditation date for the cluster which this educational programme belongs to (the period which remains until the accreditation of the cluster of the field of this particular educational programme).
Conditional accreditation is granted to an educational programme for no more than 4 years. An educational programme submitted to the NCEQE for accreditation during the calendar year which has not been defined as a cluster accreditation year for the field of study which the presented educational programme belongs toconditional accreditation is granted till the date which is defined as an accreditation date for the cluster which this educational programme belongs to, but not more than 4 years.
The process of accreditation of higher educational programmes is regulated by the Accreditation Provision (approved byOrder No. 65/N of the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia dated May 4, 2011 “On Approval of the Statute and Fees for the Accreditation of Educational Programmes of the Higher Education Institutions").