The accreditation of curricular programs in the Philippines, particularly for state universities and colleges, is the main function of the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), Inc. Organized in 1987, though officially registered and recognized under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on September 4, 1989, it is the youngest of the four (4) accrediting agencies in the country until late 2003. Under its charter, one of the functions, if not the main purpose of AACCUP, is "to develop a mechanism of, and conduct the evaluation of programs and institutions." AACCUP is now closely allied with the Association of Local Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation, Inc. (ALCUCOA), organized only in the later part of year 2003. The AACCUP is a member of the:
* National Network of Quality Assurance Agencies, Inc. (NNQAA), formed by AACCUP and the Association of Local Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation, Inc. (ALCUCOA). * Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN) with AACCUP as member of the Steering Group based in Hong Kong, China. * International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) based in The Hague, The Netherlands. THE PROGRAM OF ACCREDITATION
A. What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is viewed as a process by which an institution at the tertiary level evaluates its educational activities, in whole or in part, and seeks an independent judgment to confirm that it substantially achieves its objectives, and is generally equal in quality to comparable institutions. B. Program As the Unit of Assessment
Currently, accreditation in state colleges and universities is by program. A program is defined as a course or a group of related courses packaged in a curriculum and leading to a graduate or undergraduate degree. Examples of programs are elementary teacher education, civil engineering, agriculture, etc. AACCUP is now considering other models, like, accrediting by institution as alternatives to, or to complement program accreditation. C. Other Attributes
Aside from being program-focused, accreditation is:
1. based on standards of the accrediting agency, which are normally higher than those set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and other appropriate agencies, e.g. Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).; 2. voluntary on the part of the higher education institution that may want to be accredited; 3. an evaluation by peers, i. e. the external accreditors are mostly faculty members from other higher education institutions; and 4. non-governmental.
BENEFITS OF ACCREDITATION
A. Programs that have passed the standards, and are awarded accreditation status: 1. lend prestige to member institutions, justified by the possession of quality standards and unremitting efforts to maintain them at high level; 2. help parents to know which program they may send their children to for quality education; 3. make all those engaged in education aware of standards of excellence which they should strive to attain; 4. make possible for those proposing funding and those who are to fund, to know what to support and how much support is needed; and 5. make possible for an evaluated program to know its strength and weaknesses, and in what aspects it needs to develop. B. Accreditation has also been used as a criterion in administrative decision-making in a variety of ways: 6. applicants for teaching in the Department of Education (DepEd) who are graduates of accredited programs are granted credit points; 7. used as a criterion in the leveling of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs); 8. used as a criterion in the selection of schools for foreign students; 9. some agencies consult AACCUP about the accreditation status of colleges and universities attended by their employees for purposes of promotion;...