Academic Accreditation

I’ve recently been involved with some work on programme accreditation at a local university. While the exercises were extremely useful in the sense that I learned something about the accreditation processes, I have also learned that there are some problems with it.

Personally, I think that the biggest problem with the accreditation process is that there is too much focus on the processes involved and not enough focus on the content. I think that it would do better if we actually focused more on the content rather than the process.

The reason is that if the content is not good, even with the best delivery mechanism in place, the result would still not be good – garbage-in-garbage-out. We need both a good delivery mechanism as well as good content.

However, I do realise that trying to accredit the content would probably be 10x more expensive than just looking at the processes involved but maybe it would be worth it to spend that extra effort to thoroughly accredit a programme and then give them a longer-term accreditation instead.

Unfortunately, I also realise that this is Malaysia and that it is easier to blindly follow processes and procedures to get things done than to do things correctly. But we should not let something like this make us lose sight of the ultimate aim – to deliver quality education both in terms of content and process.

We need to simplify the accreditation mechanism to answer a simple question – whether our graduates are able to contribute to society. It doesn’t matter if they come from a 5* university with full accreditation if they are unable to do the work.

Therefore, content is king, not process.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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