The analysis of various approaches to the organization of the system of quality recognition of education has convinced us of the effectiveness of the experience of the international organization for ISO standardization that regulates the standards for the processes of assessing the conformity of management systems of enterprises and organizations, the requirements for the qualification of experts and the quality of training programs. The ISO system has gained popularity in the Russian and world market, incl. among educational organizations.
At the same time it should be considered that any accreditation makes sense if and only if it adds value of the educational service and the implementing organization as a whole. However, this is not so. Therefore, in the free competition in the market for accreditation services, the price factor is not the first and only one. Much more important for the consumer is what he bought in his own clients, having spent money and energy on this or that type of accreditation. Thus, the availability for the educational organization of the choice of a certifying authority that is recognized and respected by its consumer is a positive incentive for the development of the process of recognition of quality by society and the market.
Public accreditation and international quality standards
The basic model of public accreditation VET Union has chosen is the procedure of certification of organizations for compliance to international quality standards. The main standard for public accreditation of organizations engaged in educational activities is ISO 9001. But it is very important to take into account that additional factors, such as health protection and ensuring the safety of students and staff, and the socially responsible position of the organization in relations with all interested parties affect the recognition of quality management in educational organizations by consumers, professional communities and the public.
In Russia there is already a rich practice of certification of educational organizations for compliance with the standard ISO 9001: 2008.Only in the international network of IQNet certification bodies (go to the link for searching and verifying certificates) have been recognized by more than 250 Russian educational organizations of professional education (universities, organizations of SVE and VET).But the experience of certification of health protection systems and ensuring labor safety, and especially social responsibility is much more modest, despite the fact that educational organizations are doing a great job in these areas.
There is an interesting case in the Ural State Pedagogical University (USPU) — starting with the recognition of its quality system, entered an integrated management model that includes an additional health and safety management system and a social responsibility system. The development of public accreditation will certainly go towards the integration of these areas, since an integrated assessment has much greater value for stakeholders.
Simplified accreditation procedure for organizations certified to ISO 9001
Since the VET Union has chosen a model of public accreditation based on the system of international ISO standards, it becomes possible to apply a simplified procedure. In particular, for organizations that have the ISO 9001 certificate issued by a recognized certification body of the Council of System for Support of EQAVET in countries of the EU and the Eastern Europe by the certification body, it is sufficient to submit to the accrediting body a report on the latest external audit and quality system documents (selectively on request). Accordingly, the cost of accreditation in this case is calculated only for the costs document processing and roster management.
Today, by a decision of the Council of the System, a simplified accreditation procedure is applied to educational organizations that have the IQNet certificate.