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) which is based in Shanghai, China.
- International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) based in Barcelona, Spain
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.
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.
Aside from being program-focused, accreditation is:
- 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).;
- voluntary on the part of the higher education institution that may want to be accredited;
- an evaluation by peers, i. e. the external accreditors are mostly faculty members from other higher education institutions; and
- To us in AACCUP, the current strongest factor to harmonize QA practices, and the best means to promote a level playing field, is the CHED-initiated Outcomes-Based Quality Assurance System (CMO 46).
- Upon the invitation of CHED, and as accepted by the AACCUP Board of Trustees, a one-year CHED-AACCUP contract was crafted in 2014, with CHED providing funding assistance amounting to P2 Million for AACCUP to revise its instruments of program and institutional accreditation “in line with outcomes-based quality assurance…” (AACCUP completed the one-year contract on time on September 30, 2015.
The long-range vision of AACCUP is to develop among SUCs a “culture of quality” such that quality assurance is then rested inside the school system, that SUCs shall maintain a certified roster of quality programs and processes.