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Frequent questions:

"Does it matter if an institution is public, national, regional or private?"

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"Are private accreditation agencies legitimate?"

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"Is there a difference between 'recognized' and 'accredited?'"

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"Are institutions in a particular country obliged by law to recognize my degree?"

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About UnivCheck: the authoritative list / database of accreditd and unaccredited universities

The idea of authoritative databases goes back to the early days of the internet, when the .int domain extension was given to such resources called "international databases".

In the early 2000s, in order to confront the challenges presented by the globalization of higher education as well as increasing mobility, several international initiatives were launch, under the auspices of UNESCO, the OECD, the World Trade Organization, etc. However, no comprehensive and authoritative database of institutions of higher education institutions was ever produced. Such a database would have to be directly controlled and updated by the proper public agency in each country, taking into account the great disparity of high education systems and levels of internet use. Ideally, such a database would also enable the universities themselves to control their own information. Finally, through proper crowd-sourcing and global cooperation, a truly useful and authoritative database would enable the proper administration of a responsible 'black-list' of entities identified for sub-standard or fraudulent activities, which is no always the same as unaccredited activities. This would in turn require the administration of another 'black-list' dealing with sub-standard accreditation and quality insurance entities.

Since the 1990s, partial aspects of such a system had been development, often through individual and subnational efforts. This proved to be a difficult and controversial task because the information was not managed by the proper national agencies but rather by higher education policy makers based in sensitive markets such as the United States.

In 2012, a consultation among National Commissions for UNESCO and various governmental and intergovernmental stakeholders resulted in the following key points of assessement:

- that the UNESCO Portal on Recognized Higher Education Institutions in its currently will not result in such a global database being produced

- that the National Commissions for UNESCO should ex-officio be the focal point of validation for all information pertaining to institutions within their territory

- that the ERIC NARIC network and portal can serve as a model and authoritative source for data validation and agreggation

- that existing blacklists are often obsolete and unreliable, requiring international coordination and proper crowd-source management

- that several National Commissions in Africa and Asia were not satisfied with the non-inclusion of African and Asia in the ERIC NARIC framework and the unsatisfactory level of participation and engagement in the UNESCO Portal on Recognized Higher Education Institutions and World Higher Education Database.

As result of these consultations, terms of reference were approved that would ensure a central role for the National Commissions for UNESCO in achieving this objective by the end of 2014. The UnivCheck is managed as a public-private partnership until the terms of reference enter into force to complete the scheduled transition to intergovernmental database status.

Mr. Eric Nana Agyeman-Badu is the Managing Director of UNIVCHECK.

Mr. Agyeman-Badu is a native of Ghana, and resides in Accra, where the heaquarters of the Association of African Universities (AAU) is located.

He is Chartered Accountant and Lecturer at the Regent University College of Science and Technology

He brings a great deal of experience from a non-OECD perspective, including regarding the status and accreditation of private institutions.


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