EFMD Introduces New EQUIS Re-Accreditation Procedure for ‘3 times 5 years’ Schools

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equis2013As part of its annual EQUIS document revisions, EFMD has introduced a new re-accreditation procedure (called ‘Special Re-Accreditation’). It is only available for Schools, which have previously been accredited for three consecutive periods of 5 years (see EQUIS Process Manual Annexes, Annex 18). Special Re-Accreditation (SR) represents an optional path towards re-accreditation as long as the last re-accreditation cycle involved a regular review. This alternative path will be pilot-tested during 2013 and 2014. After this period, it will be either improved and maintained or simply discontinued, based on the learning from and the opinions of those who opt for it.

The introduction of SR is a consequence of three circumstances:

  • EFMD’s desire to ensure that the value-added of EQUIS to its members and the effort sustained by them is reasonably balanced, not only in the initial cycle but also in all subsequent re-accreditation cycles.

  • The view of a group of Deans of leading schools in Europe, most of them EQUIS “Pioneer” schools, that schools that have proven three consecutive times to have the highest quality according to EQUIS, should be entitled to a less “exhaustive” and time-consuming process.

  • EFMD’s view that EQUIS should not be any less demanding on the quality of or grant unjustified privileges to any school, while remaining able to add value to schools in different circumstances.
However, as we presented the “draft” of this new process in different forums, we often heard that a strong contribution by EQUIS through its regular re-accreditation process was to testify that a school continued to show a very high level of quality after five years. Advocates of this view argued that, in five years, the quality of a very good school could deteriorate because, for example, key environmental features could change significantly, a new Dean could have been appointed, or the school could have suffered some unforeseen internal problems. We, in EQUIS, after 14 years’ experience, have witnessed that while most very good schools improve continuously, a few deteriorate significantly.

The role of EQUIS is to assess quality and as a consequence enhance reputation, rather than to simply assume that reputation is always based on high quality. As a consequence, regular re-accreditation is still considered by some as desirable under all circumstances and thus SR is presented as an option. In fact, we believe that schools that, for example, have undergone a major restructuring or have recently appointed a new Dean, will benefit more from the regular re-accreditation process. While SR incorporates differences in focus and process, it should be noted that it is not a new category or “rating”.

In sum, SR pursues the following objectives:
  • Continue to evaluate the essential quality aspects.
  • Analyse progress in development objectives and degree of improvement in quality.
  • Make the process more focused and less onerous but continue to add value.
  • Continue to provide challenges for continued quality improvement.
  • Contribute learning to the community by analysing good practices of those EQUIS-accredited schools that show a longer track record of satisfaction of standards.
This is achieved by means of:
  • A process that is shorter and less demanding in terms of the quantity of information required and the length of the visit to the School.
  • A process that requires more structured and concise information about the essential aspects of the School, its progress and its future development.
  • A Peer Review Team involving only two experienced Peer Reviewers.
  • A process that is less costly for schools from many perspectives.
If you have any questions on the SR or require further details on EQUIS please contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.