NVAO recently approved the Institutional Audit (in Dutch Instellingstoets Kwaliteitszorg). The decision was based on the positive assessment report by the audit committee that visited UNESCO-IHE in January 2015. The validity of this Institutional Audit is until 7 April 2020. Having successfully passed the audit now allows UNESCO-IHE to request for a three-year extension of the NVAO accreditation of its MSc programmes, until 31 December 2019.
NVAO audit committee findings
The Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) takes a positive view on the quality assurance system of UNESCO-IHE. In its decision on the institutional quality of UNESCO-IHE, NVAO has asked the Institute to comply with three conditions within one year regarding: the policy framework, the organization and decision making structure and output. In the opinion of the panel, UNESCO-IHE complies with the three conditions set by NVAO.
In general, the panel is impressed by the progress the institution has made in a relatively short period of time. UNESCO-IHE has taken the NAVO conditions and the recommendations of the previous panel very seriously. The panel has seen a significant effort to formalize the existing quality assurance system, resulting in a substantial amount of policy initiatives. Moreover, during the discussions with the various groups of stakeholders the panel has established that the improvement of the quality assurance system is a joint venture of all committees and boards involved.
UNESCO-IHE has taken a number of steps to develop a shared, institution-wide policy. The first step has been to explicate the Institute's educational concept. This concept in turn serves as the basis for the development of a number of individual policies. According to the panel, the educational concept of UNESCO-IHE forms a bridge between the vision on educational quality and the individual policies.
UNESCO-IHE has undertaken a number of actions to both clarify and simplify the organisation and decision making structure. Roles and responsibilities of the boards and committees have been clarified and sharpened, resulting in new Terms of Reference for these bodies. UNESCO-IHE has further formalized the role of these actors in the Quality Assurance Calendar and the PDCA-cycle.
The formalizing and extending of the UNESCO-IHE quality assurance system have positive outcomes as well for the third condition, concerning the output. The institute now has at its disposal an integrated system of quality instruments, consisting of the Terms of Reference, the Quality Assurance framework, the Quality Assurance calendar and the system of PDCA-cycles. The QA framework is based on the NVAO programme accreditation standards. For each standard, the corresponding quality norms of UNESCO-IHE have been described. According to the panel, UNESCO-IHE now has an integrated, institution-wide quality assurance system in place.