In the United States, accreditation came into existence for several different reasons. There was a growing concern for safety, health, and issues that were geared towards serving the public’s best interest. In the 1800’s, the nation was expanding at an incredible rate. Organizations designed to meet the needs of the public were placed under tight scrutiny. New and tougher standards needed to be set in the education and health care fields. By the time the 1800’s rolled around people was beginning to take higher education much more seriously. Without proper standards to go by, it was very difficult to decide which educational institution was the best. Accreditation became the process of identifying quality institutions.
Higher Standards Were Needed
In the 1880’s the first series of accrediting organizations were created. The evolution began to unfold as state and federal legislation began to set higher standards. The British Accreditation Council (BAC) for Independent Further and Higher Education was established in 1984 to provide a comprehensive quality assurance scheme for independent further and higher education in the UK. In addition, more and more students wanted to transfer their credits to American and British institutions. This caused an immediate requirement for national standards to properly accommodate the growing need and the ability to map credits across programmes leading to the development of the Accredited Prior Learning (APL) system. What began as regional standards grew into national standards of accreditation for the entire countries such as the Northampton MBA accreditation.
The ACICS is Born in the US
The ACICS or Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools was established in 1912. It originally began as the National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools. Today, it is still a highly admired and respected organization accrediting over 800 institutions around the world. Just 6 years later in 1918, the ACE or American Council on Education was established. The immediate concern was to ensure the accrediting process was effective. Around 80% of students today are enrolled in institutions from this organization. Through the 1930’s these organizations oversaw all accrediting efforts. By 1945, there were changes in the air.
The BAC's ever expanding role in the UK
The BAC is working to to have public assurance in the private sector and has been doing so for the last 30 years. The BAC works as a not for profit institution, functioning on the fees it earns through the accreditation process of the private institutions, and consultancies. The UK and overseas governments seek the BAC's advice base don its experience and unrivaled knowledge of this sector, including the Home office for UK Visas and Immigration.
As a distance learning student you need to carefully understand the different accreditation bodies and the varying circumstances that influence the requirement of an accreditation locally.
What does this mean to us in the Middle East: In Dubai, In Abu Dhabi, In Riyadh, In Jeddah and In Manama?
Almost all private organizations that collaborate with UK Universities to provide distance education in UAE, KSA and Bahrain do not require your certificates to be accredited by the local government authorities, they are usually satisfied with the understanding that your qualification is internationally recognized and accredited and has been issued by a valid higher education institution from that country. However, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the qualification you are applying for will be accepted in your country or by the presiding government.
However, it is always recommended to get some assurance of the same, which can be achieved through an attestation process for the degrees of the internationally accredited online Universities in UAE. Attestation is different from accreditation, in that attestation is done via the British Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country of residence and the corresponding embassy in the UK or US.