British Accreditation Council (BAC)
The review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent the British Accreditation Council (BAC) fulfills the criteria for ENQA membership and thus the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. The evaluation is scheduled to finish January 2020.
Background and context
British Accreditation Council (BAC) is an independent organisation, established to be the national accrediting body for independent post-16 education in the UK. BAC is a not-for-profit charitable organisation and is self-financing through accreditation fees. It receives no public funding. BAC is a non-regulatory body and higher education institutions applying for accreditation approach BAC voluntarily. BAC accreditation is recognised by the UK government in connection with the granting of Student Visitor visas.
BAC accredits institutions. Institutions applying for accreditation vary greatly in size and in the character of provision. Many are specialist institutions offering only a small number of study programmes. To reflect the diversity of the sector, BAC operates different accreditation schemes to cover all types of providers. There are two schemes for international providers – Independent Higher Education and International Centre. Accreditation is available to public and private providers.
BAC’s mission is to provide respected and rigorous inspection-based accreditation to enhance the standards and quality of independent further and higher education and training providers. It also offers a bespoke consultancy service.
There are now hundreds of BAC-accredited colleges in the UK, providing a wealth of academic programmes, including vocational and professional qualifications, foundation courses for university entry, and externally validated degree courses.
As well as providing clear guidance to prospective students, we want to encourage continuing improvement in the general standard and quality of independent education in the UK.
While the BAC is not a membership organisation, and indeed must maintain an objective distance from institutions to preserve the value of our accreditation, we are nevertheless dedicated to helping colleges in their efforts for continual improvement.
Our vision is to be an established, diverse and leading education charity for the independent further and higher education and training sectors. It is focused on expanding its accreditation and consultancy activities in the UK and international markets. Linked to this, BAC aims to be recognised by UK and overseas governments as an influential voice on standards and quality for the independent education sector.
BAC’s objects are to advance education for the benefit of the public by:
- providing a system of accreditation for educational and training institutions in order to promote public confidence in such institutions and their programmes of study; and
- assisting in the improvement and maintenance of the standards of accredited institutions through the offer of advisory and consultancy services principally in the field of further and higher education.
(Note: further education is defined by BAC as any educational or training activity, which is not part of a national compulsory school education system.)
BAC has been an ENQA member since March 2015 and is applying for renewal of ENQA membership.
BAC has been registered on EQAR since June 2015 and is applying for renewal of EQAR registration.
This review will evaluate the way in which and to what extent BAC fulfils the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). Consequently, the review will provide information to the ENQA Board to aid its consideration of whether membership of BAC should be reconfirmed and to EQAR to support BAC application to the register.
The review panel is not expected, however, to make any judgements as regards granting membership.
The panel is composed of the following members:
- Aurelija Valeikienė, Deputy Director, Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education (quality assurance agency), Lithuania – Chair, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
- David Cairns, Director, Quality Assurance Research for Higher Education Ltd; Director, Academic Audit Associates Ltd., United Kingdom – Secretary, quality assurance professional (ENQA nominee)
- Ellen Hazelkorn, Professor Emeritus and Director, Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU), Technological University Dublin, Ireland – Panel member, academic (EUA nominee)
- Samin Sedghi Zadeh, Student, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Turin, Italy – Panel member, student (ESU nominee)
This review is being coordinated by Goran Dakovic.