- European Higher Education Area - EHEA
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Governmental membershipNetherlands has been a Governmental Member of EQAR since February 2008.
Read more: all Governmental Members of EQAR
General information on higher education
The overall responsibility for the higher education system lies with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science and the State Secretary (junior minister) for Education, Culture and Science. Further responsibilities lie with the Inspectorate of Education overseeing the legal compliance of institutions and the supervision on the functioning of the accreditation system.
Highed education in The Netherlands is offered by:
• universities and institutions for higher professional education (HBO) funded by the government,
• private-sector institutions that do not receive government funding.
National external quality assurance requirements
The Accreditation Organisation for the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) is tasked to assess and ensure the quality of new and existing programmes and institutions of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders.
Limited (initial) accreditation
Same as for full (initial) accreditation except that the focus of the assessment is limited to four standards: intended learning outcomes, the curriculum, the assessment system and the achieved learning outcomes (when available for new programmes).
Full (initial) accreditation
mandatory for all new and existing programmes in higher education. A conditionally positive decision in the initial accreditation procedure entitles the programme to award valid degrees and diplomas and has two years to meet the conditions set in the assessment. The duration of positive accreditation is for six years. Programmes are assessed in clusters within the same domain.
are optional. A positive result entitles institutions to use the limited frameworks for (initial) accreditation.
In 2017, Netherlands started its second round of institutional audits that will focus more on the realisation of the educational vision and the development of a quality culture.
Cross-border quality assurance
In Netherlands higher education institutions may choose a suitable EQAR-registered agency under certain conditions.
for programme accreditation only (with the exception of initial accreditation).
Eligibility requirements for foreign agencies: the QA agency must agree its Terms of Reference with the Accreditation Organisation for the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) and the panel secretary must be trained by NVAO.
Conditions for the agencies’ work (e.g. criteria to be used): own criteria
Recognition of reviews carried out by foreign agencies: NVAO will take the final decision of based on the result of the assessment / accreditation procedure.
European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes
In Netherlands the European Approach is available to higher education institutions.
The recognition procedure for joint degrees is further integrated with the process of assessment for (initial) accreditation