In 2017, QQI commissioned a report on Professional Body Accreditation in Higher Education Institutions in Ireland. The report which can be viewed here, aimed to establish a clearer picture of the professional accreditation landscape in Ireland to determine who does what and with whom across the entire higher education system. The report was produced by the Professional Association Research Network (PARN) in collaboration with all Irish universities, institutes of technology and those private independent providers availing of accreditation for programmes from professional bodies. The report is the first of its kind to be produced in Europe and opens up many new possibilities for research and projects which could benefit the professional bodies and HEIs involved.
Some of the findings of the report include:
- The scale of professional accreditation in Irish HEIs is large: around 170 professional bodies are involved with all public colleges and the larger private/independent colleges
- The professional body landscape is complicated and difficult for institutions to navigate at times
- It involves significant staff time and resources to engage in the accreditation activities. The scale of activity is significant in terms of staff time and effort required to maintain/renew Professional Body Accreditation and to apply for any new accreditation from bodies overseeing new and emerging professions
- There are significant challenges for all HEIs to manage accreditation together with the complimentary processes associated with quality assurance in general
- There is a cost associated with all of these activities and the report provides some initial evidence of this