WHAT IS LEGITIMITY BASED ON
INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION ORGANIZATIONS IN THE EDUCATIONAL SPHERE
The need to clarify this issue arose in connection with the emergence of information on the Internet, giving rise to doubts about the legality of international accreditation structures that are not included in the register of the US Department of Education or the International Council for Accreditation of Higher Education.
Let's start with the definition of the concept: "Accreditation is a procedure for the official confirmation of the compliance of an object with the established criteria and indicators (standard) in the field of various professional services." Accreditation is divided into three types: state, private and public accreditation.
Different countries have different approaches to accreditation. So in the European Union, each state has one accreditation body. There is also one state body in Russia - the Federal Accreditation Service. However, the USA, Canada, Japan and a number of other countries implement the principle of an unlimited number of accreditation bodies, and their number is regulated by the market and not by the state.
At the global level, there are two international accreditation systems: ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and IAF (International Accreditation Forum). At the regional level, in line with these systems, regional associations operate: EA (European Accreditation), APLAC (Asian-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation), IAAC (Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation), SADCA (Southern African Development Community in Accreditation).
Accreditation of universities in different countries also has its own characteristics. In most countries, including Russia, universities must receive state accreditation. In contrast, in the United States, university and college services are not accredited by the Federal Government. In the USA and Canada, accreditation is carried out by private non-profit associations. In addition, the universities themselves, in cooperation with professional organizations and employers' associations, create structures for public accreditation. Public accreditation in the United States is dominant. Thanks to this, the reputation of universities in the United States does not depend on the subjectivity of officials, but on the demand for graduates in the labor market.
It is important to know that American universities have absolute legal independence, and state interference in their activities is even prohibited by the US Constitution. As you know, the main thing in the USA is business in all spheres of activity. And as in any business, US universities are interested in going international. Therefore, with complete independence, they themselves create international university associations to accredit not their American, but foreign universities, including Russian ones, to promote their educational programs and standards. Therefore, such international associations have nothing to do with the US Department of Education, which deals with domestic issues.
In turn, accreditation associations interested in attracting talented students from other countries with the help of educational grants, unite to jointly reach the international level. For this purpose, the creation of ICHEA (International Council for Higher Education Accreditation) is connected. At this time, nineteen accreditation structures are its members. But this does not mean that only organizations that are in the ICHEA registry are legitimate. Moreover, if, from a legal standpoint, universities in the United States have absolute legal capacity, up to a constitutional prohibition on interference in their activities by the state, it is absurd to believe that interuniversity associations, including international ones, are illegitimate if they are not included in some state or near-state registries. They should not be included in such registers, because they operate not in the state, but in the international sphere.
Now, on the merits of international accreditation in the educational field. International accreditation is a procedure for assessing the compliance of curricula with international quality standards focused on educational standards.
It is also important to know that there is no single system of international accreditation at all. The main goal of international accreditation is to expand international recognition and promote the most complete integration of an educational institution into the global educational space. Therefore, international associations and agencies are created both to ensure recognition and to legitimize interaction between subjects of different countries on the basis of private international law. For this it is useful to have an understanding of private international law.
The definition of private international law (PIL): "PIL is a set of norms of domestic legislation, international treaties and customs that govern civil, labor and other private law relations complicated by a foreign element." At the same time, the norms of domestic legislation only form the basis for the removal of private law from state level to the international level.
Further: “The subjects of PIL are foreign legal entities and individuals, as well as states and international organizations. The subject of PIL includes private legal relations with the presence of a special unifying circumstance called a foreign element. A foreign element means an object (party) that is foreign in relation to another object (party) (located abroad). The regulation of relations between the parties in the event of legal facts is carried out either by the conflict method (it is determined which state law will be applied in a particular case), or by the substantive method, if the material side of the event takes place. "
In scientific and social interaction, the need to regulate relations does not arise, and if this interaction entails participation in any project, an agreement is concluded on such interaction. This mechanism of PIL in the form of an Agreement on scientific-public / organizational interaction is used by the IAME when formalizing cooperation with partners. On this legal basis, the International Program for Scientific and Public Interaction (MP NOV IAME) was developed, the participants of which can be both Russian and foreign organizations, each of which, in accordance with the MPE, is a foreign element in relation to any other located abroad.
Thus, the legality and legitimacy of international accreditation structures in the field of education cannot be questioned. They operate not in the state sphere on the basis of domestic legislation, but in the interstate sphere on an international convention basis. Educational institutions in the United States and a number of other countries are absolutely independent from the state, and the associations they create for accrediting foreign educational institutions in countries that have joined international conventions in the scientific and educational sphere are also independent. Russia joined them in the early 90s and must recognize the supremacy of international law in relation to national law.
However, not everyone understands this, or understands, but does not want to admit, submitting to the habit of relying on the state and fearing adverse consequences. Hence the information on the Internet, which gives rise to doubts, interfering with making decisions and moving forward.
In summary, we can say that only primary international accreditation is important. This is a kind of carte blanche that gives the initial right to carry out international scientific and public attestation. For IAME, such carte blanche was accreditation of the International University Accreditation Association (2002).
As for the ICfHE (International Commission for Higher Education, Huston, USA) - the International Commission for Higher Education, for the IAME it is more than accreditation. This is membership in this organization, testifying to the recognition of the correspondence of the IAME scientific certification system to the level of international higher education, recognized in a significant number of US universities and universities in other countries accredited by this organization.
It is especially important that on January 15, 2021, the IAME received the status of a department of the UNESCO Chair (IOC-IAME) on the basis of the Regulations (Charter).
Regular department in the structure of the International Chair of the UNESCO / IUEC Network ("TVET") and an Independent structural unit within the structure and on the territory of the NP "International Academy of Main Education" in St. Petersburg.
Documentary base for the creation of the Department:
Charter of the International Center for Learning Systems (ITSC);
Agreement between UNESCO and EOC dated November 12, 1993;
Regulations on the UNESCO / IOC International Chair-Network “Technical and Vocational Education and Training”, (TVET, No. 184 in UNESCO / UNITWIN Directory, 2006, p. 448 and p. 695) •, Decision of the IUEC Council on the establishment of the Department;
Official decision of the Presidium of the IAFO No. 4 dated December 15, 2020;
Agreement No. 1 on the entry of the IAFO into the MECC as an associate member dated January 12, 2021;
Agreement No. 2 dated January 12, 2021, to the formation of the Department of the International Chair-network of UNESCO / IECC on TVET within the structure of the IAME.
The main purpose of creating the Department is the formation and development of an advanced certification center for compliance with the principles of UNESCO in the field of education of scientific and teaching personnel of educational institutions, scientific and educational programs and methodologies in the field of technical and vocational education and the level of training in vocational education institutions, as well as voluntary public accreditation of educational programs and institutions.
The main tasks of the Department are analysis and certification in accordance with:
The UNESCO and ILO Recommendations for Technical and Vocational Education and the Convention on Technical and Vocational Education;
the general concept of “Continuing education for all ”, suggesting the important role of vocational education in the process of integrated sustainable development;
the availability of educational programs and methodologies for persons of all ages, considering that technical and vocational education and training, being an integral part of the activities of the UNESCO Education Sector, should not be limited to the function of training a specialist, but should play an increasing role in the comprehensive education of young people;
national educational standards that take into account international normative and regulatory documents, including the UNESCO and ILO Recommendations for Technical and Vocational Education and the Convention on Technical and Vocational Education;
accreditation of educational programs and educational institutions;
attestation and certification of teaching staff in accordance with UNESCO educational standards
concepts and optimal organizational and legal forms of the network system of national and international interaction of leading scientific, technological and educational centers.