Evaluating provider quality assurance

Becoming a QQI Award provider

As a regulatory body, QQI evaluates the quality assurance (QA) policies and procedures of its providers to ensure that they have the capacity, resources, and QA system necessary to deliver programmes leading to a QQI award and/or offer programmes to international learners.

Providers must ensure that their institutional capacity and quality assurance procedures meet QQI’s current QA guidelines and any other relevant criteria and standards (for example, validation criteria).

QQI evaluates providers at both institutional and programmatic level to ensure the quality and credibility of QQI awards. In both cases, QQI evaluates the provider’s documented approach and plans against guidelines and/or criteria. If a provider is approved at both institutional and programmatic level, then it can offer a QQI award to learners.

Some national providers – such as universities, the institutes of technology (IoTs) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) – make their own awards that are also included in the National Framework of Qualifications. QQI evaluates these providers at institutional level only.

Quality assurance (QA) approval requires providers to show evidence that the following non-exhaustive list of requirements are in place:

  • appropriate and robust governance arrangements;
  • a documented approach to quality assurance: easily accessible policies and procedures setting out how the provider will ensure the standards of its activities in accordance with QQI QA guidelines;
  • capacity to design, develop and deliver a programme(s) of education and training (where relevant);
  • availability of resources – such as teaching staff, additional supports and IT equipment – as appropriate to the provider context;
  • an appropriate, pedagogically informed approach to teaching, learning and assessment; and
  • an appropriate approach to assessment design and development.

QQI will consider a range of factors in determining whether a provider’s QA system is fit for purpose, including: 

  • the number, type and level of awards the provider intends to offer;
  • the mode of programme delivery (such as face-to-face or blended learning);
  • location of programme delivery (national or international);
  • the number and profile of expected learners; and 
  • intended collaborations and partnerships. 

A provider receives QA approval within defined parameters. These parameters specify what types of programme a provider may offer, how and where. This is known as a provider’s scope of provision.

When a provider has its QA procedures approved by QQI, it can then apply to QQI to have a programme validated within its approved scope of provision and/or apply for an International Education Mark.

If you wish to become a new QQI provider, you must apply to QQI for evaluation and approval of your corporate fitness, QA procedures, any proposed programme of education and training and/or compliance with the Code of Practice for Provision of Programmes of Education and Training to International Learners.

Under this process, you will be required to:

  • Develop application documentation with reference to relevant QQI published policies and guidelines
  • Check that your application meets QQI criteria via a self-evaluation form
  • Put your application through your own governance structures for approval before submission to QQI
  • Submit the required documentation to QQI using QHub, our online portal  

Once we have received these, we will then:

  • Check the application to ensure it is complete
  • Select a panel of experts to evaluate the application and produce a report of their findings, including a recommendation, to inform a decision by QQI
  • Share the panel report with the provider and invite a response.
  • Ask our governance committee to review the panel report and the provider’s response and make a decision to approve or refuse to approve the application
  • Publish the panel report and the provider’s response
  • Facilitate an appeal by the provider of a decision not to approve the application, if requested