What is a validation?

A validation is a process by which a university recognises the academic level of a programme of study offered by a Higher Education institution and gives its official university qualification to students who complete the course successfully.  A programme of study can be validated by a diploma, degree or master depending on the academic level and the duration of the programme.  The academic qualification obtained by the students studying at the validated institution has the same academic value as the one obtained by students studying at the validating institution.

Validating a programme of study is a complex process which entails alterations in the academic and administrative areas as well as in the teaching and pedagogic strategies.   Nevertheless, the advantage of an academic validation is that although the university supervises the quality of the course, the programme of study remains the property of the validated institution.

Which university is the right one?

When an institution decides to validate a programme of study the most difficult question that arises is which university to choose.  There are two important factors to consider, first the professionalism of the university and the level of experience in dealing with projects of this kind, and second the associated costs.  Blue Egg can advise schools interested in validating a programme of study on the university most adequate for a project of this kind.

Steps in the validation process

These vary from university to university but usually the first step in the validation process is to submit an initial report containing basic information on the college and the programme of study.  If the university considers that the institution and the programme of study has the potential to meet the academic and administrative standards required as well as the requirements in terms of infrastructure, the university will visit it in order to meet the management team.  If the result of this initial visit is positive, the college must submit a second report containing detailed information on the programme of study and the institution.  After careful consideration a university panel will visit the college for a second time before reaching a final decision.

This process can take between one year and three years.  This will depend on how well prepared the college is in order to meet the requirements of the university, particularly as regards the presentation of documents.  With the assistance of Blue Egg this process usually takes no more than one year.

University costs

These vary depending on the university.

 Pre-validation stage:

Some universities do charge a fee during the pre-validation stage and some do not.  In any case the institution must meet the expenses incurred by the university panel members during their visits to the school (usually two in total). 

Post-validation stage:

Usually universities charge a fee per student which is applied either per year of study or at the start of the programme.  This fee also varies from university to university and depends on the award (e.g degree or master).  As an indication this could approximately be around 400 Euros (520 US Dolars) per student per year for a degree programme.  Therefore for an undergraduate programme of studies which has a duration of 4 years, each student would be expected to pay 1600 Euros (2080 US Dolars) to the university in order to obtain the university award.

Differences between a validation and a franchise/joint programme

There are a number of differences but the most relevant is that usually franchises and joint programmes entail a high degree of academic and administrative interaction between the two institutions involved.  Validations, on the contrary, are based on a high degree of academic and administrative freedom.

Blue Egg specialises in assisting institutions during validation processes.  This usually includes coordinating the project, preparing all relevant documentation, organising training seminars for members of staff and assistance on all university visits.  Schools may also choose to contract Blue Egg only for its consultancy work to advise and guide on the process but with minimum involvement.  The cost will largely depend on the level of involvement chosen. 

If you are seriously considering embarking on a validation project, Blue Egg will visit your school in order to discuss the process in detail, advise you on the chances of your school to succeed and give you a detailed costing.  It is also possible to have an informal chat over the telephone in order to address any questions which you may have. 

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance which institutions undertake with an accrediting agency or organisation.  The accreditation process not only examines the whole institution to determine how well it meets the needs of the students but also drives it through a process of continuous improvement of its educational processes.  In essence it is similar to a validation process except that it is not undertaken with a university and therefore students do not obtain a university award once the college is accredited.  As with a validation, obtaining accreditation is a significant achievement and a remarkably enriching process for institutions as it requires critical self-evaluation.  The self-assessment is conducted against a set of quality standards which are reviewed externally.  The process of obtaining accreditation as well as maintaining it over time helps institutions to move towards educational excellence.

Steps in the accreditation process

These may vary from one accrediting agency to another but in general are similar to the ones described for a validation process.  As part of the self-assessment institutions need to produce extensive documentation and accrediting panels will visit the institution as part of the external review process.  

Blue Egg Global Education can provide institutions with support while undergoing accreditation.  Our extensive experience working with quality assurance and enhancement of institutions undergoing processes of this kind gives us a very good insight into the changes institutions need to make in order to succeed.  Depending on the needs of the institution we can advise and guide you through the process with minimal involvement or else to fully assist you with the self-evaluation and the process of change as well as preparation of documentation.