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Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Italy

Due to changes in political and social characteristics in Europe , the topic of quality of education has received special attention in Italy.  The year 2001 marked the beginning of a new system of accreditation for university degree programs.

Objectives of Accreditation

Since then the objectives of the Italian system of accreditation can be briefly summarized as follows:…
  • reduce mindless, ritual respect for educational qualifications
  • create a system to verify the qualitative standards of individual courses
  • bring competitiveness within a university among diversified educational courses
  • promote a constant process for quality improvement within educational institutions

Approval of University Degree Programs

The procedure for the approval of university degree programs can be laid outis made in 4 stages as set forth below.

Stage 1 - University teaching regulations (Regolamenti Didattici di Ateneo (RDA)). These rules are at organizational level, which affect all degree programs offered by the university.

RDA determines:
  • the names and objectives of each degree program offered by the university
  • the framework of academic activities for each curriculum
  • the credits of each educational activity
  • the main characteristic of the final examinations
Stage 2 - Teaching regulations for specific degree programs (Regolamento Didattico di Corso di studio (RDC)). The teaching regulations for each degree program are decided by competent academic authority in compliance with the RDA.

RDC determines:
  • the list of curricular subjects for each course
  • specific educational objectives, credits, and academic activities associated with the course
  • curricula for students with rules to submit individual study plans
  • the methodology for teaching/learning and  ways to assess students’ performance
Stage 3 - Consultations and approvals

The proposal for setting up a new program / course is assessed based on the opinions from key advisory bodies including
  • the University Evaluation Unit, the
  • Regional Coordinating Committee (CRC),
  • employers,
  • National University Council (NUC) and Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
Stage 4 - Approval of RDAs
After the process of consultations, the Rectors of respective institutions approves the university teaching regulations.

Accrediting Agencies

There are a number of institutions and bodies who are entrusted with quality assurance and accreditation process. These are:
  • MIUR : Ministero dell' Istruzione, dell' Universita e della Ricerca (Ministry of Education, University and Research)
  • CNVSU : Comitato Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario ( The National Committee for the Evaluation of University System). This institution is in charge of general university evaluation criteria.
  • CRUI : Conferenza dei Rettori delle Universita Italiane (Italian University Rectors' Conference) This body, consist of Rectors of the universities in Italy. It represents the needs and initiatives of the universities to the governmental authorities.
  • CNSU: Consiglio Nazionale Studenti Universitari (National Council of University Students), a body of student representatives which acts as advisory unit.
  • CUN: Consiglio Universitario Nazionale (National University Council) is a body which promotes university autonomy and puts forward proposals of planning and administration.
The MIUR and CNVSU jointly work to establish quality evaluation and accreditation rules at national level.

Quality Assurance

The quality assurance system in Italy focuses on the quality of provision. Previously, quality assurance was considered as a quality control measure rather than as an improvement measure. Now, the Quality Evaluation program is considered as a cognitive activity that:
  • allows to make an informed judgment about the degree course
  • is carried out according to clear, explicit procedures
  • is intended to have an impact on the degree course program after the evaluation
The quality and accreditation procedures are developed over time and are still evolving. The stakeholders of education in Italy keep interacting with each other and make necessary changes to suit the demands of the era.
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