National Agency for Academic Assessment and Accreditation (NAAAA) is the regulatory agency for evaluation and accreditation of higher education in Timor-Leste, NAAAA’s role is to regulate and implement Institutional Accreditation and Programmatic Accreditation of courses provided in Higher Education Institution (HEI) that has been accredited.
Institutional Accreditation is the first step towards ensuring quality of higher education institutions. In the process of Institutional Accreditation, NAAAA will assess the general aspect however it quite pertinent that an institution must meet as a minimum requirement.
After an Institution obtained Institutional Accreditation can only be eligible for next step as Programmatic Accreditation for its program study which provided. Every year, HEI that accredited must provide the progress report in order to comply standards and requirements from NAAAA.
Institutional Accreditation as a requirement by the government through NAAAA for conducting assessment and accreditation for Higher Education Institutions in Timor-Leste. Whether in HEI that managed by international institutions also should exercise according to standards or requirements from NAAAA.
The History of Accreditation in Timor-Leste
The history of accreditation in Timor-Leste, started in 2007/2008 which was an initiative of the Ministry of Education & Culture (IV Constitutional Government) which was also supported by the World Bank through the project ESSP (Educational Sector Support Project). At that time, the Ministry of Education & Culture started to stablish a competent body within the Ministry of Education and Culture in order to regulate the quality of academic for higher education. This competent body so called “National commission for Academic Assessment and Accreditation (NCAAA)” which was established in January 2010. However, due to legal reasons, in December 2010, NCAAA changed the name to ANAAA or National Agency for Academic Assessment & Accreditation (NAAAA) with its Decree Law No. 21/2010, December 1.
The first accreditation or the first circle of institutional accreditation in 2008/2009 is also known with term “Initial Accreditation” because it has started for the first time in Timor-Leste and all the HEI is required to comply with the process aforementioned as stated in the applicable law.
HEI existed until 2007 had 34 or more, but those HEI that followed the initial accreditation process in 2008 were only 24. In 2008, 24 from HEI that followed the initial accreditation assessment process, only 7 were passed (UNTL, DIT, IOB, ICR, ISC, ICFP, and ETICA) and 4 were in probatory stage (UNPAZ, IPDC, UNDIL and UNITAL). In 2009 there was re-assessment for HEI at the probatory stage, so UNPAZ and IPDC were accredited but UNDIL and UNITAL still in probatory stage. In 2013, NAAAA were established, start implemented the first re-assessment accreditation for UNDIL and UNITAL of the third round, and resulted UNDIL and UNITAL obtained initial accreditation with a good value; 92, 88%.
Procedure of Accreditation in Timor-Leste
In 2015, NAAAA evaluated second cycle of institutional accreditation for 8 HEIA. A cycle is valid for 5 years. The second cycle assessment is only undertaken for those HEIA accredited in 2008/2009 such as; (UNTL, IOB, DIT, ICR, ISC, ICFP, UNPAZ, and IPDC), exceptional of ETICAecause ETICA has been upgraded to East Timor Coffee Institute (ETCI) in 2013/2014.
In 2019, NAAA carried out an assessment for second cycle accreditation of HEIA 3, namely ETCI, UNDIL, and UNITAL. In the same year, NAAAA also conducted first cycle institutional accreditation assessment for new HEI for 3 person, such as ISFIT, IFFS, and ICS. This assessment resulted ICS remain in probatory stage for one year, and will follow the re-assessment process in 2020.
- Institutional Accreditation
What is the Institutional Accreditation?
- The accreditation process focuses on the quality of institutions as a general entity;
- The criteria to be met include; Mission & Vision of institution, governance structure, & Administrative management, Academic Programs, Curriculum, teaching staff, Learning Resources ( library, laboratory and Education Technology), Financial Property and Resources;
- Assessment is always carried out by external quality assurance entity such as NAAAA;
- a cycle of 5 years is valid. Over the next 5 years, an institution must submit an annual progress report. If the report is not submitted for 2 years following each other, it will be subject to sanctions for its status accreditation.
The criteria for an institutional accreditation assessment are as follows:
- Vision & Mission of Institutional
- Governance & Administrative Management Structure
- Academic program
- Teaching Personnel
- Learning Resources ( Library & Laboratory)
Standard of Institutional Accreditation
- Standard 1: Objectives, Plan, and effectiveness
- Standard 2: Educational Program
- Standard 3: Educational and Students Support Services
- Standard 4: Administrative Process
As we noticed from Timor-Leste context as a small land and recently initiated the accreditation process at higher education level, at that time, the expert thought it would be better to start earlier institutional accreditation as an initial process because of the small land and the few number of HEI, it is easy to manage and other reasons that those institutions have been established with study program which implemented with a large number of students. After the accreditation process at the institutional level fully established then it will be necessary to conduct programmatic accreditation to focus more on studies programs.